To meet the experience requirement for licensure as an LCSW, you must have completed at least 36 months (three years) of supervised experience in diagnosis, psychotherapy and assessment-based treatment planning, as defined in Section 7704 of the Education Law after receipt of the Master of Social Work Degree.
While an applicant for licensure as an LCSW may provide a range of services that are defined in the Education Law, the only acceptable experience is in diagnosis, psychotherapy and assessment-based treatment planning. The applicant may submit a Plan for Supervised Experience (Form 6) to the State Board for approval prior to starting the supervised experience for licensure in New York.
Experience obtained in New York must be obtained as a licensed master social worker (LMSW) or limited permit holder, except the Department may, in limited circumstances, accept other experience where an applicant demonstrates that such experience was obtained in an authorized setting under the supervision of a qualified supervisor.
Experience obtained in another jurisdiction must be obtained after the applicant completes the master’s degree program in social work required for licensure in licensed clinical social work, as prescribed in Section 74.1 (c) of the Commissioner’s Regulations, and such experience must be obtained in a setting authorized in such jurisdiction to provide such services and be under the supervision of a qualified supervisor acceptable to the Department.
All experience that is completed in New York State must be in a setting that is legally authorized to provide psychotherapy and clinical social work services.
An acceptable setting is:
- A professional corporation, professional limited liability partnership or professional limited liability corporation that is authorized to provide services that include psychotherapy;
- A professional service corporation, registered limited liability partnership, or professional service limited liability company authorized to provide services that are within the scope of practice of licensed clinical social work;
- A sole proprietorship owned by a licensee who provides services that are within the scope of his or her profession and services that are within the scope of licensed clinical social work;
- A professional partnership owned by licensees who provide services that are within the scope of practice of licensed clinical social work;
- A program or service operated, regulated, funded, or approved by the Department of Mental Hygiene, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the State Office for the Aging and the Department of Health or a local governmental unit as that term is defined in section 41.03 of the Mental Hygiene Law or a social services district as defined in section 61 of the Social Services Law to provide services that are within the scope of practice of licensed clinical social work;
- An entity holding a waiver issued by the Department pursuant to section 6503-a or 6503-b of the Education Law to provide services that are within the scope of practice of licensed clinical social work;
- A program or facility authorized under federal law to provide services that are within the scope of practice of licensed clinical social work;
- A public elementary, middle or high school authorized by the Education Department to provide school social work services as defined in Part 80-2.3 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, including clinical social work;
- An entity authorized under New York Law or the laws of the jurisdiction in which the entity is located to provide services that are within the scope of practice of licensed clinical social work, including psychotherapy.
The supervisor who submits Form 4B to verify experience is responsible for including the certificate of incorporation for the professional entity, the operating certificate or other authorization for an authorized program or service, a waiver issued by the Department, or other documentation, acceptable to the Department, to demonstrate the setting’s authority to provide professional social work services in New York. For experience completed outside New York, the applicant and supervisor must provide appropriate documentation for the setting in that jurisdiction.
In New York State, a general business corporation or not-for-profit corporation may not provide professional services or employ licensed professionals unless authorized under law. The certificate of incorporation should clarify the purpose of the entity and whether licensed professionals may be employed to provide services that are restricted under Title VIII of the Education Law.
It is your responsibility to practice only under a qualified supervisor and in an authorized setting. You should review the supervisor qualifications and acceptable experience with an employer before you accept a position practicing clinical social work.
*Note: The exemption is defined in Section 8 of Part Y of Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2018.
A LMSW or other qualified individual seeking to meet the experience requirements for licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker must be under the supervision of a qualified supervisor, as defined in the Education Law and regulations. Supervision of the clinical social work services provided by an LMSW or qualified individual seeking licensure must meet the following conditions:
Supervision of the clinical social work services provided by the applicant shall consist of contact between the applicant and supervisor during which:
- the applicant apprises the supervisor of the diagnosis and treatment of each client;
- the applicant’s cases are discussed;
- the supervisor provides the applicant with oversight and guidance in diagnosing and treating clients;
- the supervisor regularly reviews and evaluates the professional work of the applicant; and
- the supervisor provides at least 100 hours of in-person individual or group clinical supervision, distributed appropriately over the period of the supervised experience.
The supervisor is responsible for maintaining records of the supervised experience, including client contact hours and supervision hours, and then submitting verification of the applicant’s experience to the Department on Form 4B.
The Education Law requires three years of full-time experience or the part-time equivalent over a continuous period not to exceed six years; this may not be reduced, even if the applicant provides more than 2,000 client contact hours in less time.
All client contact hours in diagnosis, psychotherapy and assessment-based treatment planning may be counted toward licensure, if appropriately supervised. The supervisor in each setting should record the client contact hours and supervision hours and submit verification on Form 4B.
It is the responsibility of the supervisor/employer to ensure that patients are informed the licensed master social worker (LMSW) is only authorized to practice clinical social work under supervision. The client should understand that the supervisor is responsible for the diagnosis and practice of the LMSW. The LMSW shares with a qualified supervisor information about the diagnosis and treatment of each client and the supervisor is professionally responsible for the services provided by the LMSW. The client should be provided with the supervisor's contact information so the client can share any concerns or questions about the LMSW's practice with the supervisor.
Requirements for Supervisors:
Prior to supervising the applicant, the supervisor must meet the requirements in Education Law, or the equivalent as determined by the Department.
Supervision of applicants for the LCSW must be provided by a:
- LCSW licensed in New York State or, for supervision completed in another jurisdiction, the equivalent qualifications as determined by the Department; or
- Psychologist who, at the time of supervision of the applicant, was licensed as a psychologist in the state where supervision occurred, was qualified in psychotherapy as determined by the Department based upon the Department's review of the psychologist's education and training, including but not limited to education and training in psychotherapy obtained through completion of a program in psychotherapy registered pursuant to Part 52 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education or a program in psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association; or
- Physician who, at the time of supervision of the applicant, was a diplomate in psychiatry of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. or had the equivalent training and experience as determined by the Department.
A supervisor may not have a familial relationship with the applicant, as such dual relationships may constitute a charge of unprofessional conduct under the Education Law and Regents Rules.
An applicant who completed supervised experience in another jurisdiction must have the Supervisor's qualifications reviewed by the Department. You must have the supervisor submit an Approval of Qualifications to Supervise Psychotherapy (Form 4Q) with the verification of the applicant’s experience to allow the Department to determine whether the supervisor is qualified in diagnosis, psychotherapy and assessment-based treatment planning.
The supervisor is legally and professionally responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of each client and must have access to all relevant information. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide appropriate supervision as an LMSW may only practice clinical social work under supervision. Any arrangements for third-party supervision must include a written agreement between the employer, third-party supervisor and the LMSW to specify the supervisor's access to clients and client records to ensure appropriate supervision of the LMSW. The supervisor must be employed by the employer, not the LMSW. The client must be informed of how confidential information is handled in the case of third-party supervision and how to raise questions with the employer and/or third-party supervisor.
Note: If, at the time of the application, a supervisor is deceased, the experience may be attested to by a licensed colleague who meets the definition of a qualified supervisor. The licensed colleague must provide the qualifications of the supervisor and attest to direct knowledge of the supervised experience. Filing a false statement may result in a charge of unprofessional conduct against the applicant and licensed colleague.
The applicant for licensure as a licensed clinical social worker may submit to the State Board for Social Work a plan for supervised experience for review and approval. The plan shall be documented on Form 6 submitted with the $10 fee and include:
- a copy of documentation establishing that the agency or setting is an acceptable setting as defined in Part 74.6(a) of the Commissioner’s Regulations;
- a copy of the license of the qualified supervisor, who must be licensed and registered to practice in New York as an LCSW, a licensed psychologist, or a psychiatrist;
- a plan for supervision of the qualified individual accompanied by an attestation from the supervisor(s) that he/she is responsible for any services provided by the individual;
- if a third-party is supervising the qualified individual, an affirmation from a designated representative of the setting that the setting is authorized to provide clinical social work services and that the setting will ensure appropriate supervision of the qualified individual when the individual is performing such services.
While the plan may be approved, the applicant’s supervised experience must be documented by the supervisor named in the plan on Form 4B. An applicant who does not file a plan for practice under a qualified supervisor in an acceptable setting must be individually evaluated and clarification may be required, delaying the review of the supervised experience.
If you submit an additional Form 6, an additional fee is not required.
Definition of Terms
Licensed Clinical Social Worker: The practice of licensed clinical social work encompasses the scope of practice of licensed master social work and, in addition, includes the diagnosis of mental, emotional, behavioral, addictive and developmental disorders and disabilities and of the psychosocial aspects of illness, injury, disability and impairment undertaken within a psychosocial framework; administration and interpretation of tests and measures of psychosocial functioning; development and implementation of appropriate assessment-based treatment plans; and the provision of crisis oriented psychotherapy and brief, short-term and long-term psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic treatment to individuals, couples, families and groups, habilitation, psychoanalysis and behavior therapy; all undertaken for the purpose of preventing, assessing, treating, ameliorating and resolving psychosocial dysfunction with the goal of maintaining and enhancing the mental, emotional, behavioral and social functioning and well-being of individuals, couples, families, small groups, organizations, communities and society.
Diagnosis: Diagnosis in the context of licensed clinical social work practice is the process of distinguishing, beyond general social work assessment, between similar mental, emotional, behavioral, developmental and addictive disorders, impairments and disabilities within a psychosocial framework on the basis of their similar and unique characteristics consistent with accepted classification systems.
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy in the context of licensed clinical social work practice is the use of verbal methods in interpersonal relationships with the intent of assisting a person or persons to modify attitudes and behavior which are intellectually, socially, or emotionally maladaptive.
Assessment-based treatment plans: Development of assessment-based treatment plans in the context of licensed clinical social work practice refers to the development of an integrated plan of prioritized interventions, that is based on the diagnosis and psychosocial assessment of the client, to address mental, emotional, behavioral, developmental and addictive disorders, impairments and disabilities, reactions to illnesses, injuries, disabilities and impairments, and social problems.