This week Seattle University’s Master of Social Work Program welcomed the Executive Director for Health Professions from Washington’s Department of Health (DOH) for an information session all about licensure. This info session was highly anticipated by MSW students because many people in the program are looking forward to getting licensed after graduation. So, what if you missed the info session? Well, there will be another one next spring for MSW students AND I am here to give you a recap! Let’s talk about all of the most important parts of this information session.
This was the most informative aspect of the presentation— if you ask me. Supervision is an important part of your post graduate experience leading up to licensure. You will need to have an approved supervisor spend 1 hour each week with you to engage in supervision and sign off on your log of post graduate hours. This person needs to be approved which means a supervisor that has all of the qualifications that the Department of Health requires. Sadly, there have been times where people have completed their 3 years of post-graduate experience only to realize that their supervisor did not meet these requirements.
Which license do I need to get? There are many different licenses, and it can get pretty confusing when trying to remember what is what. Well, this information session made it very clear that if you plan to become a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), you should apply for the Licensed Social Worker Associate-Independent Clinical (LSWAIC). This license will allow you to practice as a licensed social worker to the fullest extent, but with supervision.
There was a lot of information on how complaints against clinicians are processed, but it seemed like the most important information was about following professional guidelines. As a clinician you can be reported for unprofessional conduct by your coworkers, your clients, or their family. In addition to this, you can self-report if you would like to show that you are responsible and accountable for your actions. Being reported does not mean you will immediately face consequences, but that the situation(s) will be investigated by the appropriate team within the DOH.
While you complete your post-graduate supervised hours, you should be tracking these hours. One recommendation during this info session was to track your hours by the month. This would mean getting your hours signed off on by your supervisor each month, turning a copy in to the DOH, and keeping a copy for yourself. This can be a helpful strategy in tracking your hours because you won’t be presenting a years’ worth or multiple months’ worth of hours to your supervisor (who might not remember or agree with these hours).