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You can increase your earning potential by becoming a licensed master’s social worker (LMSW). While you’ll still work in a non-clinical setting, you can take on a vital role in helping your community and clients. Many people with these licenses go on to work in policy analyses or provide case management services. These are just two of your potential options after you get your license.
It takes a bit more time to get this when compared to a baccalaureate social worker license, but your earning potential and job opportunities will make it worth the extra work. Let’s begin by looking at the degree you’ll need to become an LMSW.
If you want to become an LMSW, you’ll need to begin by earning a master’s degree in social work. However, you cannot earn your degree from any institution when trying to get licensed. Instead, the state limits your choices to programs that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Montana currently has two CSWE-accredited master’s degrees in social work programs. You can earn your master’s at Carroll College or the University of Montana. Since both offer in-person and online learning options, you can work while getting your degree. Additionally, you can go to school part-time or full-time when working toward your master’s degree.
Here you can learn more about the schools offering social work degree programs in Montana.
The board also has an option for skipping the education requirement if you don’t have a degree. If you do this, you’ll need at least 72 quarter or 48-semester credits. Plus, the state requires a minimum of five years of post-degree experience. This is along with the 2,000 hours of supervised work experience.
You will need to find a qualified supervisor so you can complete your experience requirements upon graduation. The board requires 2,000 hours of post-graduate experience over at least 18 months. The Board of Behavioral Health has outlined the supervised work experience requirements. Follow them to the letter so you can submit proof of the work and get your license.
Then you will need to complete the Training and Supervision Plan form to submit with your application. This must be signed by your supervisor as well.
You must pass the master’s exam through the Association of Social Work Boards before getting licensed. The registration fee is $230 and is due at the time you sign up. After scheduling your exam, you can order practice materials or take a paid practice test online to prepare. While this isn’t a requirement, it can help you prepare for the test. You’ll find that the practice materials put you in the position to get a high score.
You must provide your fingerprints and undergo a background check through the Montana Department of Justice – Criminal Records and Identification Services Section. There’s a $30 fee that’s due when undergoing the check. You’ll also need to choose the type of background check you want. In this instance, you’ll need a background check with fingerprints.
You can access the Montana Department of Labor and Industry’s online portal to apply for your license. You’ll need to pay the $200 application fee when applying. Additionally, you must upload supporting documentation, including your Supervision Plan and proof of education.