The Path from LCSWA to LCSW

The Path from LCSWA to LCSW

The path to full clinical licensure can be difficult to navigate. There are many requirements to ensure ethical and informed clinical practice. These steps will help you find your way from your associate license to LCSW! 

**The following includes requirements from the NC Social Work licensing board. If you practice in another state, please also consult your state’s licensing board.

Getting Started

  1. Apply for licensure.  Application includes the LCSWA application form signed by a notary, application fee, 3 professional references in sealed envelopes, and transcripts in sealed envelopes.
  2. Find a clinical supervisor (NC clinical supervisors approved by the board can be found here).
  3. Find a clinical position.  Some practices or agencies may be willing to wait for your associate license to be granted, and some will want you to have the associate license before moving forward.
  4. Complete and send employment verification to the board.
  5. Obtain your NPI (National Provider Identifier) number and register with CAQH. These free accounts are necessary when working with an agency that bills insurance. You can obtain your NPI here and register with CAQH here.
  6. Get liability/malpractice insuranceSome practices will cover you, but in some cases you will need to obtain your own insurance. Two common options are CPH and HPSO.
  7. Complete the specific insurance credentialing needed for your organization. 

During Your Associate Stage

  • Keep track of your clinical hours and supervision hours, needed for your six month reviews. A total of 25 hours of group supervision is allowed within the 100 required hours of clinical supervision.
  • Every 6 months, complete and submit the Six Month Review form with your supervisor. The case narrative should be prepared in case of board request.
  • Begin continuing education and keep track of your certificates and hours. 40 hours of CE is needed within the two years allotted for the associate license, with 20 hours allotted for distance learning opportunities and 4 hours required for ethics focused training. If a 1-year license renewal is needed, an additional 20 contact hours of continuing education with at least 2 hours of ethics focused training is required. If a 6-month license renewal is needed, an additional 10 contact hours of continuing education with a least 1 hour of ethics focused training is required.
  • Begin studying for the licensure exam. Here are some tips on studying for the exam.

Preparing for Your Full License

Register and pass the clinical exam. 

  • You must complete the Clinical Exam Request and submit this to the board, following the completion of two years of clinical practice. 
  • The board will then forward instructions to register for the exam.
  • If you don’t pass the first time, there is a 90-day wait period before you can re-apply. A new request will have to be submitted to the board. Take your time, study, and try again when you are ready.

It is very common not to complete the requirements for the LCSW license within the initial two years of your license. If this happens, apply for a renewal with the Renewal Affidavit, including the fee, documentation of CE activity, and current Six-Month Review report. 

After 3000 hours of supervised clinical practice (within no less than two years or no more than six years), completion of 40 hours of CE, 100 hours of supervision, and a passed exam, submit the LCSW Short Form application with the fee and final Six Month Review form. 

Celebrate! You’ve worked hard and now you’re ready for a new phase in your professional journey!

This information was provided by Imani Crawford, LCSWA.