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Have you always dreamed of becoming a social worker so you can work directly with patients? If so, you’ll want to pursue a career as a licensed clinical social worker. After getting your license, you can work directly with patients. Your scope of practice can include diagnosing and treating mental illness and conducting individual and group therapy sessions. It’s an important role in the state’s system, so you’ll have to meet some additional requirements.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the accrediting body for social work programs in the state. You must earn a master’s degree from an accredited program.
While the state has two accredited master’s degree programs, the University of Montana only offers a degree as an advanced generalist. Thus, you’ll need to go through the program at Carroll College to earn a degree in clinical or direct practice. The school offers the program to full and part-time students, and you can take it at the Helena location or online.
Here you can find all schools offering social work degree programs in Montana.
The board wants to ensure that all LCSWs have the necessary experience to work in a clinical setting. Thus, you must complete 3,000 hours of supervised post-graduate work after completing your master’s degree program. The work must take place over at least 24 months, although it can take longer if needed. You must complete all the hours within five years, though. For more information, review the Licensed Clinical Social Worker Requirements.
After completing this requirement, you’ll need to fill out the Evaluation of Supervised Experience form to submit with your application for licensure.
The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) is in charge of the licensing exam. You can register for the clinical exam and pay the $260 fee online. The ASWB also has exam resources for sale, and you can pay for an online practice exam if you wish. The online practice exam isn’t the same as the real test, but it will give you a good idea of what to expect. You do have to pay for it, but it’s worth the cost if you feel unprepared. You’ll feel much more confident sitting for the exam after you have some practice under your belt.
You have to complete a background check through the Montana Department of Justice – Criminal Records and Identification Services Section. Since it’s a federal background check, you’ll need to provide fingerprints and pay the $30 fee.
Once you’ve met all the requirements, you can move forward by submitting the supporting documentation and your application online through the Montana Department of Labor and Industry’s online portal. The $200 licensing fee is due with the application.
Regardless of the license you obtain, you can expect a rewarding career as a social worker. Thus, keep this guide on hand as you take the steps necessary to start your career. By having the guidelines in step-by-step form, you can cross them off your list as you get closer to the finish line. Each time you cross off one requirement, you’ll be that much closer to reaching your goal of becoming a social worker in Montana.