How to Get a Job as a Clinical Social Worker

By May 22, 2019Blog

By Manuel Stoilov

Social work is an honorable and eclectic field. In addition to the numerous years of formal education, social workers are trained to be lifelong learners, staying abreast of new advancements in the field and continuously educating themselves on how they can best serve their clients effectively. In their careers, social workers may take a multitude of different paths. One is the clinical path, which I’ve outlined in the article below.

What does a clinical social worker do?

Clinical social work does not refer to one particular job title, instead, clinical social work is an umbrella term for a social worker who engages in clinical work. Clinical work refers to working with individuals, groups, couples, or families and emphasizing assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various mental and behavioral illnesses and disturbances.

An individual who graduates with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in social work can call themselves a social worker. To become a social worker, who engages in a clinical practice, one must obtain at the minimum a Master of Social Work degree. Following a master’s degree program, a social worker pursuing clinical work may register to become a registered clinical social work intern. As a registered clinical social work intern, the social worker may practice clinical work under the auspices of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

How to become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)

A LCSW is a social worker who has been licensed by the state in which they provide clinical services to their clients. To gain this title, multiple steps are needed. First, a Master of Social Work degree must be obtained. In addition to this, an exam covering numerous social work concepts must be passed. Furthermore, the social worker must have obtained some years of clinical experience while engaging in regular supervision from an LCSW.

Clinical Social Worker Job Description

Clinical social workers are employed in many different environments and in many different roles. Examples of settings include child and family services, elder care facilities, hospitals, hospices, rehabilitation centers, Veteran Affairs, among others. In these settings, clinical social workers may provide a multitude of different services including individual therapy, couples therapy, family therapy, group therapy, crisis management, discharge planning, and so on.

Licensed clinical social worker job description

A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) may work in the same agencies and roles as a clinical social worker. The difference, however, is that the LCSW does not require consistent supervision. Despite this, many LCSW’s continue to consult with peers and other social workers throughout their careers. In addition to this, LCSW’s may also go into private practice, whereby they work with clients through their own business. LCSW’s may also supervise social workers and have the ability to diagnose clients using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition.

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