Social Work License Requirements in Connecticut
Social Workers in Connecticut can find themselves working in a variety of fields such as substance abuse, healthcare, mental health, and geriatric health. Choosing to work in this industry can allow graduates to work with individuals, couples, families, and communities from all backgrounds. The overall responsibility of a social worker is to help those in need, as well as those who desire to improve. Social workers in Connecticut can help people through counseling, case management, interventions and group discussions. Students who are looking for a career that provides opportunities to help in all aspects of the community should consider social work.
Social Work Licensure Requirements in Connecticut
Connecticut social work is regulated by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. This state agency oversees licensure requirements as well as the practice of social work throughout the state. Unlike many other states, Connecticut does not require a license to practice nonclinical social work, but graduates must hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a school that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Nonclinical social work careers typically incorporate therapy, case management, and administration. These jobs often involve working with individuals who are looking to enter rehabilitation programs or who need assistance in finding work.
To pursue a social work career in a clinical setting that includes psychotherapy, counseling or therapy, an advanced degree and licensure are required in Connecticut. The Connecticut Department of Public Health issues two social work licenses: the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Both licensure options require that students pass an examination from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and complete a specific number of clinical hours, with many of those hours requiring direct supervision.
Licensed Master of Social Work
A master’s degree is the minimum education level required for anyone pursuing a career as a licensed social worker in Connecticut. After completing a bachelor’s degree, it takes about two years to earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited program. While graduates can enter the master’s program with any bachelor’s degree, having a BSW can significantly cut down on the amount of coursework required to complete a master’s program. Coursework will often include classes in human behavior, social work research methods, substance abuse, child maltreatment, family therapy, and case management. Additionally, MSW programs will also require students to complete fieldwork in a clinical setting throughout their studies.
Upon earning an MSW, candidates can take the ASWB Masters Exam, which can be retaken until a sufficient score is received. Upon passing the exam, candidates can apply for licensure by sending an application to the Connecticut Department of Health for review. Applicants will receive licensure if they are approved by department officials.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
An LCSW credential is available to those who are interested in practicing social work privately. This licensure level allows social workers to provide psychodiagnostic assessment and treatment to their patients. To qualify, candidates must hold an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program or a doctoral degree in social work. It is also required that candidates complete 3,000 hours of supervised, post-graduate clinical work. If the hours are completed in Connecticut, candidates must first obtain LMSW licensure. The post-graduate clinical hours must be supervised by an LCSW, and a minimum of 100 of those hours must be spent meeting face-to-face with them.
After their supervised hours are completed, candidates must then pass the ASWB Clinical Exam. At this time, an application can also be submitted to the Connecticut Department of Health accompanied by proof of employment with regard to the supervised clinical hours. Once an applicant has passed the exam, test scores are sent directly to the Connecticut Department of Health, where state health officials will review the application. Social workers can begin private practice upon receiving their state license number.
Social Work License Reciprocity in Connecticut
The Connecticut Department of Health offers an endorsement for those who hold a social work license earned in another state. As long as the candidate is in good standing and the license was earned by meeting standards equal to those in Connecticut, they can expect to receive license reciprocity. A student that is interested in applying for an LCSW credential that did not complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work is able to use three years of independent social work experience to fulfill this requirement.
To receive social work license reciprocity, out-of-state social workers must send an application to the Connecticut Department of Health for approval. Along with the application, social workers will be asked to provide documentation that includes proof of current licensure and ASWB exam scores.
Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information
Connecticut requires social workers to renew their license every year. This can be done by submitting an application to the Connecticut Department of Health 60 days prior to the license expiration date. Additionally, Connecticut social workers must complete 15 hours in continuing education each year and must send in copies of their certificates of completion along with their application. Of the 15 required hours, only six can be completed online and two must be focused on mental health issues related to veterans and their families. The board accepts hours spent in continuing education courses, workshops and training conferences toward this requirement.