Social Work License Requirements in Montana

Montana social work can involve both clinical and policy work, and a state-issued social work license allows applicants to practice in either field. There is only one kind of social work license available in Montana and it is an LCSW licensure. In order to qualify for this license, an applicant must have earned, at a minimum, a Master of Social Work (MSW) from a graduate school program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Social workers moving to Montana can also transfer an existing license from another state, as long as they complete the application and send in the required materials.

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Montana

Graduate students enrolled in an MSW program might begin their studies with a foundation year, which offers a generalist social work perspective. The second year might be focused on specialization. While students are not required to choose a concentration, they are required to undertake more in-depth studies in the following areas: research, policy, practices, program evaluation and clinical practice.

Students can also choose either a micro-practice emphasis or a macro-practice emphasis. A micro-practice gives students more experience in a clinical setting, while a macro-practice emphasis focuses more on community, organizational and political practice. Both tracks allow students to explore the implications of practice in Montana’s rural communities. Working with an advisor, students develop a curriculum that helps prepare them for Montana social work.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

To pursue a career in Montana social work, applicants must obtain LCSW licensure. Either an MSW or a Ph.D. from a graduate school program accredited by the CSWE is required. Before applying for a social work license, applicants must complete 3,000 hours of supervised, post-graduate work in psychotherapy. Of those 3,000 hours, 1,500 must involve direct client contact and 50 must be under the direct supervision of an LCSW. It may take at least two years to fulfill this requirement. Montana accepts both the Advanced and Clinical exams from the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); applicants are required to pass one of these exams before a license will be issued. The Montana LCSW application can be downloaded to fill out and return to the Board of Behavioral Health. The application fee is $200. Applicants are required to submit fingerprints as part of the background check. This process takes four to eight weeks to complete, so aspiring social workers should plan accordingly. In addition to sending fingerprints, applicants must also pay a $27.25 fee to the Montana Department of Justice.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Montana

While Montana does not offer specific reciprocity agreements with any other state, licensees may apply for a Montana social work license via endorsement. To do this, social workers must use the LCSW licensure application and answer all questions relevant to the applicant’s background in social work. This includes listing all professional or occupational licenses and the state in which they are active. Applicants must also provide the state’s licensing verification so that Montana can confirm this professional activity. Finally, the application requires a list of education history and the submission of reference forms from three licensed social workers, psychologists or psychiatrists.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Montana social work requires LCSW licensure renewal every calendar year. The cost of renewal is $175 for active licensure. The annual renewal period begins on November 1 and ends December 31. Those who hold active LCSW licensure are required to take 20 hours of continuing education every year. If more than 20 continuing education hours are accrued, social workers are able to carry over up to 20 hours to the next year.