Online Social Work Programs in Vermont
With a population of roughly 626,000 individuals, Vermont ranks as the second least-populous state in the U.S. Additionally, as of June 2019, its unemployment rate ranked the lowest in the nation, and social work employment in Vermont reflects the state's positive labor outlook. Social work jobs in Vermont account for nearly 30% of the state's total community and social service employment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vermont ranks first in the U.S. in terms of the location quotient (a measure of job concentration) of mental health and substance abuse social workers. The state is also among the top three for child, family, and school social workers. Aspiring social workers in Vermont can look forward to joining a strong network of their peers.
Education and Licensure Requirements for Social Workers in Vermont
Vermont social workers can obtain their license through the state's Office of Professional Regulation. General entry-level social work in the state does not require state licensure. However, to apply for advanced generalist or clinical social work employment in Vermont, a social worker must become licensed.
Vermont issues two types of social work licenses: licensed master's social worker (LMSW) and licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) credentials.
To apply for either the LMSW or LICSW license, an individual must earn a master of social work or a doctorate of social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
The LMSW license does not require work experience hours. This license allows social workers to undertake advanced generalist social work in a nonclinical setting.
Aspiring LICSW social workers must obtain an LMSW license and then register with the Office of Professional Regulation as a non-licensed psychotherapist. Once registered, LICSW candidates can begin to accrue their necessary field hours: 3,000 hours of clinical work, with at least 2,000 hours spent providing direct psychotherapy services.
Exam Application Process and Requirements
Vermont recognizes three routes to social work licensure: examination, endorsement, and the five-year rule. Endorsement and the five-year rule apply to licensed social workers from other states who move to Vermont.
Licensure by examination requires social work candidates to pass an exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). For the LMSW credential, individuals must take the master's-level exam, while LICSW candidates must take the clinical-level exam. All Vermont social work license applicants must also complete the Vermont jurisprudence examination.
To register for an ASWB exam, social work candidates must first meet the educational and experience requirements for licensure and gain eligibility approval from the Office of Professional Regulation. This application fee costs $100.
The master's-level exam costs $230, and the clinical-level exam costs $260. Each exam includes 170 questions, 150 of which will count toward the tester taker's final score. ASWB distributes 20 pre-test (practice) questions throughout the exam. Each candidate can take up to four hours to complete their exam.
ASWB administers the test by appointment at Pearson Professional Centers worldwide. Once ready, registered candidates can visit the Pearson VUE website and schedule a time to take the exam. Vermont maintains one Pearson test center in South Burlington.
Continuing Education and Licensure Renewal
Social work jobs in Vermont require each professional to renew their LMSW or LICSW license biennially. It costs $150 to renew a license with the Office of Professional Regulation.
LICSW licensees must also document and complete 20 credit hours of continuing education during the two years preceding the date of renewal. No continuing education credits completed outside this two-year window will count toward the 20 hours. LMSW license holders must complete at least 10 continuing education credits in a formal setting.
A licensee can document their hours by keeping a Continuing Education Record, which logs the title and content of the continuing education program, sponsoring organization, hours awarded, and corresponding dates.
Why Choose an Online Social Work Program?
Vermont social workers can meet the educational requirements for LMSW and LICSW licensure by graduating from a CSWE-accredited program in any state.
Schools in Vermont do not currently offer online social work programs locally. However, through the New England Board of Higher Education's Tuition Break program, New England residents can enroll in online courses in neighboring states at a discounted rate.
Six states participate in the tuition program: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The program features 82 approved public colleges and universities and over 800 programs of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The benefits of online learning also include affordability, convenience, a more flexible schedule, and more program options to choose from. Also, while online programs vary, most allow students to complete their clinical or practicum training at an approved local site.