Social Work License Requirements in Florida
Social workers in Florida have numerous opportunities to contribute to their local communities. They not only have the option to provide program and policy support in office or agency settings, but they can also offer in-person services to populations in need. Students can become a social worker in Florida through two different licensing paths. In order to obtain permission to practice social work in Florida, professionals who already hold a social work license in another state can apply for a social work license endorsement. Whether social workers become licensed in Florida, or obtain an endorsement to work there, it is important to understand the renewal process and be mindful of the continuing education requirements. Florida social work is overseen by the Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling.
Social Work Licensure Requirements in Florida
Those wishing to pursue a career in Florida social work, have two options. They may either become a certified master social worker (CMSW), or a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). While most CMSW’s work in policy and programs, LCSW’s typically have one-on-one interactions with clients who need services. Both of these social work licenses require a master’s degree from an accredited social work program. Admissions requirements vary for each program, including the area of study for a bachelor’s degree.
Masters programs often require students to take courses in subjects like human behavior, research, and statistics, in addition to practical fieldwork. Elective courses allow students to focus more on specific subjects related to their desired focus areas, such as mental health, or trauma and intervention. Aspiring social workers can also choose a program that fits their scheduling needs and learning style, with both part- and full-time coursework available, as well as universities offering online classes.
Certified Master Social Worker
Applicants need to meet four criteria to become a certified master social worker in Florida. First, applicants need a CSWE accredited master’s degree in social work. Transcripts must be sent directly from the university. Graduate coursework must include three semester hours in the following areas: agency administration and supervision, program planning and evaluation, staff development, research, community organization, community services, social planning, and human services advocacy. In addition to meeting the education requirements, applicants must also have three years of experience in the field, two of which must be supervised by a CMSW or LCSW, and take place after earning a master’s. Finally, applicants must pass the national advanced generalist level exam from the ASWB. Once these requirements are met, an application can be submitted, along with associated fees.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
In order to practice social work in a clinical setting in Florida, graduates must become licensed clinical social workers. This social work license requires a master’s degree in social work, including 24 semester hours in clinically oriented services. Course requirements include theory of human behavior and practice methods, with a minimum of one course in psychopathology. Students must also complete a supervised field placement as part of their master’s program, during which time clinical services must be provided directly to clients. After completing the master’s degree, graduates must gain two years of experience working under a licensed clinical social worker. In addition to 1,500 hours of face-to-face psychotherapy with clients, 100 hours of supervision are required, with a minimum of one hour of supervision every two weeks. To apply for a license, applicants also need to pass the ASWB’s national clinical level exam, as well as complete approved coursework on Florida laws and rules, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence.
Social Work License Reciprocity in Florida
To transfer a social work license from another state, professionals can apply for a license by endorsement. Applicants must verify their current license and provide the accompanying documentation of the requirements for either the CMSW or LCSW license. This includes submitting the relevant exam score and school transcripts. When applying for the LCSW license, applicants also need to complete the board-certified courses on Florida laws and rules, HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. The domestic violence course, however, may be completed within six months after receiving a license.
The fees vary when applying for a license for Florida social work. Once the materials are submitted, the applicant will receive a license and be permitted to practice social work in Florida.
Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information
In addition to obtaining a license to practice social work in Florida, professionals must also renew their license each odd year, prior to the end of March. In order to renew their licenses, social workers must complete 30 hours of continuing education, including courses in medical errors, ethics and boundaries, laws and rules, and domestic violence. Additionally, LCSW licensees must complete coursework in qualified supervisor training.