Becoming a Social Worker in New Hampshire
New Hampshire licenses social workers at just one level: clinical. This level of practice requires a graduate degree. However, you can pursue a social worker education in New Hampshire at a lower level. Either a graduate or undergraduate degree can lead to plenty of career options.
Here is a guide to help you get started.
If You Are in High School
Get a solid academic foundation in high school. You do not have to take any courses that are not part of the standard college prep track. However, you can opt for courses in child development, psychology or other behavioral sciences.
Select a school with a social work program. Although New Hampshire does not license baccalaureate social workers, there can be advantages to selecting a school with a CSWE-accredited program.
Begin general studies courses. Meanwhile, seek out pre-social work advising. Your school may require volunteer hours. You will not apply to the school of social work until after you have completed some college-level coursework.
Give consideration to program options. You generally don't specialize until the graduate level, but you will find New Hampshire social work programs that focus on health, behavioral health, or special populations; your selection may determine where you do your field placements. Additionally, some social work schools offer financial incentives to exceptional students who will be pursuing child welfare work.
Fulfill degree requirements. You will do about 450 hours of field experience. There may be advanced steps you need to carry out (like having a criminal background check).
Consider post-degree options. You may work as an entry-level social worker, seek advanced standing in a Master of Social Work program -- or do both.
Although you do not have a licensing agency at this stage, you do have plenty of professional resources to guide. You may opt to become a member of the National Association of Social Work-New Hampshire as a BSW.
If you were to pursue a position in another state (for example, Maine) you might need to seek licensure.
If You Are a College Graduate
Research the field. You may decide you want to spend time volunteering or otherwise acquiring experience before you apply. This is not necessarily a requirement, but may increase your options. Be prepared to solicit several academic and professional references and write about how your experiences have prepared you for a career as a social worker.
Apply to a graduate program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). If you are pursuing licensure as a clinical social worker, your program must include a clinical internship as well as clinical coursework in areas mandated by the New Hampshire Board.
Capella University is now offering an online Master of Social Work that is in CSWE candidacy status. The MSW program helps prepare students to enter the general or clinical practice role (in most states). Capella also offers an online Doctor of Social Work. Click Here to contact Capella University about their Master of Social Work program or Doctor of Social Work program.
Complete MSW requirements. You may opt to do your academic work online or in a traditional academic setting, but will spend at least 900 hours doing practicums or internships. In most cases, this is done at a worksite where you have no prior experience, but social service/ social work employees are sometimes allowed to take on a new role or broaden their experience at their current worksite.
Seek a position. If you are pursuing clinical licensure, you will need a supervision agreement. You must work under supervision for at least two years.
Take the clinical examination; it is administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), but you will need permission from the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice to register. When you have met all requirements, you will become a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).