Social Work License Requirements in Vermont

Social workers in the state of Vermont provide critical social services to a variety of communities in need. Unlike their peers in many other states, generalist Vermont social workers do not need a license to practice. Social workers will find themselves working in schools, hospitals, community centers, municipal buildings, and private homes. There are two levels of licensure that applicants can pursue in the state of Vermont: Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).

Social Work Licensure Requirements in Vermont

To obtain a social work license in Vermont, candidates must complete a Master of Social Work degree that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). This is required for both the LMSW and LICSW levels of licensure. The LMSW license allows candidates to pursue advanced social work jobs, such as treatment planning, case management, and research and advocacy. The LICSW credential allows clinical social work services, such as psychotherapy, to be practiced without supervision.

Since generalist social workers do not need a license to practice in Vermont, students can choose to pursue an Associate of Social Work or Bachelor of Social Work degree instead. This will allow them to provide a limited set of social services to their community. Students who already completed a Bachelor of Social Work degree may be eligible for an advanced standing degree with the completion of a few additional credits.

Licensed Master of Social Work

After completing an MSW from a CSWE-accredited institution, a prospective social worker can apply to take the Vermont Jurisprudence Examination. If the candidate passes the exam, he or she can then submit a licensure application to the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation (OPR). This application requires the applicant to pay a $100 fee, verify education credentials, and provide a copy of his or her exam scores.

Candidates should then register to take the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Masters Exam. Applicants must register for this exam online and take it in person at an approved testing center within five years of completing licensure requirements. The application and exam scores will be reviewed by the OPR. If a social work license is granted, the candidate will receive a copy of this notice by mail.

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker

To receive an LICSW license in Vermont, candidates must first complete a Master of Social Work or Doctorate of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited program. They must then pass the Vermont Jurisprudence Examination, as the licensure application will later require a copy of these test results. Candidates must also register online as a non-licensed and non-certified psychotherapist with the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation. This will allow them to start accruing the required hours of clinical experience.

Candidates who have an LMSW need to complete 2,000 hours of clinical experience in psychotherapy. Unlicensed candidates need 3,000 total hours, with at least 2,000 hours in psychotherapy. All 3,000 hours need to be completed in no less than two years and no more than five years, under the guidance of an OPR-registered supervisor. Once the required supervised hours are completed, prospective Vermont social worker can submit a licensure application to the OPR. Once their application is approved, candidates can register for the ASWB clinical exam online. This test must be taken in person at an approved testing center and its result determines whether or not an LICSW license is granted.

Social Work License Reciprocity in Vermont

Vermont offers formal reciprocity for out-of-state social workers who want to obtain a social work license in Vermont. To qualify, candidates must possess credentials from a state that has social work requirements similar to Vermont's. There are two types of licensure by reciprocity in the state: Licensure by Endorsement and Licensure by the Five-Year Rule.

For Licensure by Endorsement, candidates apply for an LMSW or LICSW through the standard Vermont process. However, instead of providing test scores and education, they must provide proof of previous licensure. Licensure by the Five-Year Rule allows candidates to apply for licensure even if the state in which they were previously licensed has substantially different requirements. To qualify, candidates cannot have any disciplinary action(s) filed against them in a state where they were previously licensed. They must also pass the Vermont jurisprudence exam and have practiced for at least 1,200 hours every year, for a minimum of five years. The Director of OPR will then decide if the candidate's experience is enough to cover any lesser licensing requirements from the other state.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Social work licenses in the state of Vermont must be renewed every two years. All licenses expire on January 31 of even-numbered years. Vermont social workers who are issued a license within 90 days of an upcoming renewal date are not required to pay for the renewal fee. Those who hold an LICSW credential are required to complete 20 hours of continuing education. Fifteen of those hours need to be in-person training, and at least 1.5 hours must be in social work ethics. No more than five hours can be self-directed study. Those holding an LMSW license are required to complete 10 hours of continuing education, and all hours must be completed in person.