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Connecticut Social Work Licensing Requirements

Founded as one of the original colonies in 1636, Connecticut is rich in history and is home to just under 3.6 million people.1 For newly-minted social workers with advanced degrees or for more experienced social workers wishing to relocate, Connecticut is a good place to start a career in helping others and making a difference. The Connecticut Department of Public Health oversees the licensure and practice of social workers in the state. Continue reading to learn more about Connecticut social work educational paths, license requirements, and salaries.

How to Become a Social Worker in Connecticut

In Connecticut, you do not need a license to practice non-clinical social work as long as you hold at least a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). To provide any clinical social work services, however, you must obtain a Connecticut social work license by applying to the Department. The Department issues two social work licenses: the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Below is more information about the educational requirements for these two licenses and how to apply for them.

Educational Paths

While non-clinical practice in the state only requires a CSWE-accredited BSW, individuals who wish to practice clinical social work must hold at least a master’s degree in social work (MSW) and receive a Connecticut social work license. Some social workers go on to earn a doctoral degree in social work (DSW or PhD), which can also be used to become an LMSW or LCSW in Connecticut.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Anyone who wishes to be licensed as a social worker in Connecticut must obtain at least a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from a program accredited by the CSWE. Obtaining an MSW usually takes about two years after you have completed a bachelor’s degree. Although you can enter an MSW program with a bachelor’s degree in any subject, having a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) may give you advanced standing status in an MSW program, thus shortening the length of the program. In Connecticut, there are four MSW programs accredited by the CSWE: Quinnipiac University, Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of St. Joseph. As of January 2019, Sacred Heart University is in the process of applying for CSWE accreditation.

Coursework in different MSW programs varies but may include classes in human behavior, social work research methods, gerontology, substance abuse, child maltreatment, family therapy, and many other options. Fieldwork is also integral in an MSW program, and in some programs, fieldwork may be undertaken in other countries during study abroad opportunities. The purpose of fieldwork is for the student to receive practical real-world experience.

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

Some students may go on to pursue a doctorate in social work (or DSW). Although the minimum degree needed to practice social work in Connecticut is a master’s degree, students who are interested in teaching at the university level may decide to pursue a DSW. Doctoral programs offer a more in-depth look at the field of social work, take around two to three years to complete, and tend to focus on advanced clinical practice, leadership, and theory.

Steps for Becoming a Licensed Social Worker in Connecticut

The two social work licenses offered by the Department are the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Keep reading for more information about the services social workers can provide with each of these licenses and how to apply for licensure.

Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)

In Connecticut, the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) license allows a social worker to practice clinical social work under the supervision of an LCSW or another qualified licensed practitioner (such as a psychologist, physician, or marriage and family therapist). To become an LMSW, you must have an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program. After this educational requirement has been met, the following steps must be completed to become an LMSW.

1. Submit your application to the Department.

The first step to becoming an LMSW in Connecticut is to submit an online application. For this application, you will need to provide a picture of yourself and pay an application fee of $220 (as of January 2019). In addition to completing the online application, you must also contact your graduate program and have them send your transcript to the Department to verify your education. During this step, you can also request a temporary permit that will allow you to practice as an LMSW for up to 120 days after you complete your degree while you are in the process of studying for and completing the required licensure exam. As of January 2019, the temporary permit fee is an additional $50.

2. Pass the ASWB Master’s examination.

The next step in the process is to sign up for the ASWB Master’s exam. As of January 2019, the exam costs $230. You will not be able to register until the Department reviews your LMSW application and determines you are eligible to take the test. After you take the exam, the ASWB will automatically send your scores to the Department.

3. Receive your LMSW license from the Department.

After the above steps have been completed, you will receive your LMSW license from the Department. At this point, you can begin practicing clinical social work under the regular supervision of an independently licensed provider such as an LCSW, psychologist, or physician.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

If you are interested in independently practicing clinical social work, you must obtain the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) credential from the Department. To be eligible, you must hold an MSW from a CSWE-accredited program or a doctoral degree in social work and must also complete 3,000 hours of post-degree supervised experience. Once you hold a qualifying degree, you can follow the steps below to earn an LCSW license in Connecticut.

1. Accumulate the required experience.

Before you can submit an LCSW application, you will first need to acquire 3,000 hours of supervised, post-degree experience in clinical social work. If you complete these hours in Connecticut, you must first obtain an LMSW license. During the time that you are accruing this experience, you must be supervised by an LCSW and at least 100 of your total required hours must be spent in face-to-face supervision.

2. Complete the application.

After you have completed 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work experience, the next step is to submit the online application. You will need to mail supplemental documentation to the Department, including the Verification of Employment and Verification of Supervision forms. As of January 2019, the fee for the LCSW application is $315.

3. Pass the ASWB Clinical examination.

All LCSW candidates must pass the ASWB Clinical exam to become licensed. The exam costs $260 as of January 2019, and you will have to wait to register until you have been given permission by the Department. Once you have completed the exam, scores will automatically be transferred to the Department.

4. Receive your LCSW license from the Department.

After you have successfully completed the ASWB Clinical exam, the Department will issue your LCSW license. You must wait until you have been given a license number before beginning to practice clinical social work independently.

Social Work Licensure by Endorsement in Connecticut

The Department offers social work licensure by endorsement for individuals who hold a social work license in good standing in another state. To be eligible, you must hold a license that was earned by meeting equivalent standards to those required in Connecticut. If you are applying for an LCSW license but did not complete 3,000 hours of supervised clinical social work experience, you may be able to substitute three years of independent clinical social work experience in lieu of this requirement. To apply for licensure by endorsement, complete an online application and provide any supplemental documentation required, including verification of your current license and your past ASWB exam scores.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Connecticut social work licenses are renewed annually. As of January 2019, the renewal fee for LCSW and LMSW licenses is $195. All Connecticut social workers are required to complete at least 15 hours of continuing education each year. At least two hours must be in topics related to the mental health treatment of veterans and one hour must be in cultural topics.

Connecticut Social Work Jobs and Salary Information

The outlook is favorable for social work jobs in Connecticut. 10,360 social workers are employed in the state according to May 2017 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.2 The majority of these individuals (5,530) are employed in the field of child, family, and school social work; the highest-earning subfield in Connecticut is healthcare social work, with an average yearly salary of $69,840.2 It is projected that between 2016 and 2026, the number of total social work jobs in Connecticut will grow by 10.4%.3 The most growth is expected in social work jobs in the “all other” category, which are projected to increase by 19.8% during those years.3

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers5,530$67,780
Healthcare Social Workers2,170$69,840
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers1,910$62,800
Social Workers, All Other750$66,350

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.2

Social Work Associations in Connecticut

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: May individuals who received their social work degrees in other countries obtain a social work license in Connecticut?

Answer: Yes, under some circumstances. If an individual has obtained a social work education outside the United States that is deemed equivalent to a master’s program within the United States by the Council on Social Work Education, then that education will be accepted by Connecticut. However, the individual also must pass the master’s examination administered by the ASWB.

Question: May individuals with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution become licensed as social workers in Connecticut?

Answer: No, they may not. They may be able to find employment in Connecticut, but only individuals with a master’s degree or higher may become licensed social workers in Connecticut.

Question: May individuals with an LMSW license engage in clinical social work without supervision in Connecticut?

Answer: No. A person with an LMSW may only perform clinical social work under professional supervision in Connecticut. Professional supervision refers to supervision by a licensed physician, an advanced practice registered nurse, a licensed psychologist, a licensed marital and family therapist, a licensed professional counselor, or a licensed clinical social worker.

References:
1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, Connecticut: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/ct
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Connecticut: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ct.htm
3. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm