Social Work Licensure Requirements in New York

two social workers

New York’s licensed social workers have master’s degrees. Licensing level and practices privileges are largely determined by post-master experience. Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) have some limitations on their practice. They may practice nonclinical social work without supervision, but can only practice clinical social work under supervision by a clinical social worker, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) have completed post-master supervised practice in diagnosis, psychotherapy, and treatment planning and can independently practice either clinical or nonclinical social work. An experienced clinical social worker may earn “R” privilege – this means that in many instances, their psychotherapy services must, by law, be reimbursed by insurance companies.

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work offers a CSWE-accredited online Master's in Social Work. This program is top-ranked by US News and World Report. The GRE is not required to apply to the [email protected] program. A Bachelor's degree is required Learn more about this program.

The Simmons College School of Social Work ([email protected]) is the nation’s oldest school of social work and is offering an innovative Online Master of Social Work program. You can complete this CSWE-accredited Master's in Social Work program in as little as 15 months. There is no GRE required for acceptance to this program. Request information.

[email protected] is the online Master of Social Work program from the top-20–ranked University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW). The program is for students who earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than social work. GRE scores are not required. Request information.

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.

You may also want to read the article "Master’s Degree in Social Work: Developing Skills and Competencies" if you have any questions about Master's of Social Work programs.

Becoming an LMSW in New York

A social work student should enroll in a program that is CSWE-accredited and/or has been deemed license qualifying by the New York Board. Equivalent education may be accepted. Prospective social workers will also need to make sure that they have training in child abuse identification and reporting. The Board will require additional documentation if the program was not registered in New York.

Graduates must take the master’s level licensing exam through the ASWB. In order to receive permission to register, a candidate must have an application for licensure on file with the New York Board. The combined application/ initial registration fee is $294 – it is partially refundable under some circumstances. Click here to download the application.

An LMSW who has not yet fulfilled the examination requirement may practice under a limited permit for up to a year. A limited permit is only good for a particular workplace and does not transfer. There is an additional $70 fee.

New York LCSW Requirements

An individual who intends to practice clinical social work should make sure their graduate social work program includes 12 semester hours of clinical courses that will prepare them for the LCSW role. If the required clinical courses were not included in their CSWE-accredited master’s program, they will need to make them up later.

One will need to practice for at least three years under conditions acceptable to the Board. The practice site must be an acceptable setting as defined by New York law. One's supervisor may be a clinical social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist. If there is not a qualified supervisor at the LMSW’s workplace, the employer may contract with a third-party supervisor. However, the LMSW themselves may not employ a supervisor.

The master social worker will need to accrue 2,000 qualifying client contact hours. Only those hours spent in diagnosis, assessment based treatment planning, and psychotherapy may be counted. Client contact and supervision hours should be recorded in a psychotherapy log. The necessary paperwork can be found on the LCSW section of the Board website. Find the appropriate forms here. The required examination at this level is the ASWB clinical examination. Applications should be accompanied by a $294 application/ licensing fee.

R Privilege Requirements

In order to qualify for R Privilege, a clinical social worker must practice, at minimum, an additional three years under supervision specified by the New York Board. The LCSW can go into private practice. R privilege, though, requires a lengthy period of work under consultation. If the LCSW’s supervisor is a social worker, he or she must have R privilege.

Before beginning, the social worker must submit an application packet and a $100 fee. The privilege is dependent on the social worker accruing at least 2,400 additional client contact hours in psychotherapy. At least 400 client contact hours must be earned annually.

Registration Renewals

Registration should be renewed every three years.

Professional Organization(s)

If you are still in High School, hold a High School Diploma/GED, or hold a bachelor's degree, check out suggested steps to take along the path to become a Social Worker in New York.

NASW – New York

New York State Society for Clinical Social Work

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