New Jersey Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Guide - 2023
AKA: New Jersey LCSW License
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If you want to play a direct role in client care, you can become a licensed clinical social worker. You can also supervise others in clinical settings once getting your license. LCSWs have the largest scope of practice of all the social workers in the state, so you’ll have to meet additional requirements to obtain the license.
A master’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is required before becoming an LCSW. New Jersey has eight CSWE-accredited master’s programs in social work, but you’ll need to choose one of a four that focuses on clinical or direct practice. All four of your options offer in-person learning, and two also allow students to take classes online. If you’re already working as a social worker, online classes can help you balance your education and your career.
Here you can find all schools offering social work degree programs in New Jersey.
The board requires that applicants complete two years of full-time clinical social work experience before getting their licenses. While you can complete this in two years, you have up to four years to accumulate 3,000 hours of supervised experience.
You’ll need to spread out the hours to meet the requirement. First, the board states that applicants must complete 1,920 hours of face-to-face contact with clients. At least half of those hours need to consist of psychotherapeutic counseling. That leaves 1,080 hours remaining. You can spend those with your direct supervisor or by engaging in other social work services.
After completing your work experience, your supervisor needs to fill out the Documentation of Supervised Clinical Experience for Licensed Clinical Social Worker Candidates form. You will upload this when applying for your license.
You will need to pass the exam through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) before receiving your license. However, you must initiate the process by applying for your license. Previously, the exam and licensing applications were separate. But now, New Jersey has consolidated the forms, so you won’t be able to sit for the exam until you submit your application for licensure.
After the board approves you, you’ll go to the ASWB’s website to register and pay for the clinical exam. The exam fee is $260 and is due during registration.
As with most states, New Jersey requires that applicants consent to and pass a background check before receiving their licenses to practice. You’ll need to begin the process by submitting the Certification and Authorization Form for a Criminal History Background Check with your application. Then the board will review your information, and if everything is complete, it will send instructions for you to go through the background check. Then, the board will receive your background check results and can issue your license as long as there aren’t issues.
First, your school needs to email your transcripts to DCA_Social_Work_No_Reply@dca.lps.stsate.nj.us. Then create an account on the MyLicense online licensing portal. Once created, you can use the portal to apply for your license and upload the supporting documentation, including your work experience form. You’ll also need to pay the $75 fee.
It can take up to eight weeks to review and approve your license. The board will contact you via email to let you know if you’re approved or if you need to submit additional information.
With three licensing options, New Jersey offers some exciting career paths for those interested in social work. Many people start by becoming certified or licensed social workers. If you do that, you can stop there or use it as a stepping stone to becoming a licensed clinical social worker. Each step you move up the ladder will give you access to more job opportunities and higher pay, so it’s well worth the time and effort.