How to Obtain Social Work Licensure in Georgia
Mar 7, 2015 | 9:00 am
The first step in obtaining Georgia social work licensure is to understand the differences among the Masters in Social Work (MSW) degree, the Licensed Masters in Social Work (LMSW) license, and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) license.
Masters in Social Work
Georgia requires anyone seeking licensure as a social worker to obtain a Masters in Social Work Degree from an accredited social work graduate program. This advanced degree acclimate the student to social work and prepares them to seek licensure.
If a local MSW program is not available, there are a limited number of universities that offer Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited online programs. The University of Southern California School – Social Work provides a CSWE accredited MSW program.
Licensed Masters in Social Work
The Licensed Masters in Social Work (LMSW) is the first license most people obtain when seeking Georgia social work licensure. Individuals wishing to apply for the LMSW license must have completed a MSW degree. Individuals then need to submit official transcripts, reference forms, and the LMSW license application, along with the required fee to the Georgia Board of Licensing. The board will then decide whether or not to allow the applicant to take the exam. If the application is approved and the applicant passes the LMSW exam they will obtain the LMSW license.
While the LMSW is not strictly required, the individual could choose to apply directly for the LCSW license, this practice is generally discouraged. The primary reason for this is that the LCSW license cannot be applied for until three years after graduation from a MSW program, while an individual can apply to obtain the LMSW license immediately upon completion of the MSW degree. There are also ethical issues associated with providing clinical social work while working on LCSW licensing without first obtaining the LMSW license.
Individuals can begin the application process for the LCSW license online at the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work’s website.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker License
The LCSW license is the most advanced license that can be obtained by an individual seeking Georgia social work licensure. The LCSW license is obtained by undergoing three years of supervised post-master’s degree experience. An individual is required to obtain a minimum of one hundred twenty hours of supervision in this three year period. The Georgia State Board of Licensing allows for sixty of these hours to come through group supervision, but a minimum of sixty hours must come through individual supervision.
All hours submitted in association with the LCSW license must be properly documented. The person supervising must be approved by The Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work, and paid for by the individual seeking the LCSW license. A list of low-cost, approved supervisors is available from the GSCSW website.
The LCSW license does not require passing an exam, and does not require an individual to obtain the LMSW license before applying to obtain the LCSW license. Though as noted above, it is generally encouraged that individuals obtain the LMSW license before applying for the LCSW license.