LICSW – Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker Guide
Should I Obtain an LICSW License?
Path to Becoming a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)
1. Obtain an Accredited Master of Social Work Degree
2. Fulfill Clinical Training Requirements
3. Complete Training Under the Supervision of an LICSW
4. Pass Your State’s Examination
Careers Opportunity for LICSWs
Salary Expectations for LICSWs
Licensure Fee and Renewal
An LICSW is a licensed independent clinical social worker. To obtain this license, you must meet the minimum education level, which is a master’s degree in social work. You’ll also have to meet state-specific requirements which include clinical training experience under the direct supervision of an LICSW, and an exam. Not all states offer this license.
LICSWs work with patients to assess, treat, and diagnose a range of mental health issues to help them lead healthier, more productive lives.
How long it takes to become an LICSW depends on the pathway you choose to pursue. Becoming an LICSW requires the minimum degree level of an MSW, and the length of time it takes to complete the degree varies according to your educational background and personal circumstances.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in social work, you may be eligible for advanced standing programs, which take less time to complete than traditional programs. Whether you choose to study full-time or part-time will also play a role in determining how long becoming an LICSW takes.
Once you complete your master’s degree, you must then complete your state-specific supervised clinical experience requirements. Though requirements vary, they typically range between two to three years of experience. It’s also important to factor in the time it’ll take to pass your state’s certification exam.
An LICSW is a licensed independent clinical social worker, while an LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker. There are many similarities between the roles, as both are certified to practice social work in both clinical and non-clinical capacities. Both require you to complete your MSW, have clinical training experience, and pass a state-issued examination.
The primary difference between the two is that LICSWs are certified to practice independently. Another key difference is that while only a few states offer LICSW certifications, most states offer LCSW certifications.
Although an LICSW may practice social work in a clinical setting, treating and diagnosing medical issues such as mental health disorders, they are not allowed to prescribe medication. In general, only mental health professionals who have completed medical training such as psychiatrists are allowed to prescribe medications. In cases where patients may benefit from medication, LICSWs may work with or refer patients to medical professionals who are certified to prescribe it.