Questions and Answers

What’s the difference between MSW, LMSW, and LCSW?

First, MSW stands for Masters in Social Work. This degree is acquired upon successful completion of a social work graduate program. It is an advanced degree that allows social workers to hone their skills and practice in a wide variety of settings. Upon completion of the MSW, social workers may apply for a license called an LMSW, or Licensed Masters in Social Work. Requirements for this license include completion of a master’s degree in social work, as well as the submission of academic transcripts, reference forms, completed LMSW license application, and paid fee to the state board of licensing. Once approved by the board, the applicant takes the licensure exam. If passed, the social worker has gained the LMSW license. Lastly, the LCSW license stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. This license is the most advanced license attainable at the master’s level of social work. You do not need to have your LMSW to begin working towards the LCSW license, but it is generally suggested to have the LMSW first. The LCSW license is acquired through having 3 years of post-master’s experience under supervision from a qualified LCSW. It requires 120 hours of documented supervision over this 3 year period. Of these hours, 50% may consist of group supervision, and 50% must be on an individual basis (however, 2 social workers receiving joint supervision counts as “individual.”). The LCSW license opens many more doors for you as a social worker, and they are in high demand in Georgia!

Why get your LMSW?

Although gaining licensure as an LMSW is not a pre-requisite for taking the LCSW exam 3 years after the master’s degree is earned, it is highly recommended that social workers interested in clinical licensure (LCSW) first take the LMSW exam after graduation. Licensure shows clients and potential employers that you have reached a level of clinical proficiency by passing a state-certified licensing exam. It is also more ethical to gain licensure if you are going to provide clinical social work after earning a Master’s degree.

How do I study for the licensing exam?

We have provided test prep resources for the LMSW exam here.

Who can supervise me?

A clinical supervisor must have already met the requirements through the state. Clinical supervisors provide training and guidance to new social workers in their clinical interaction with clients. The purpose of supervision is to promote the development of clinical skills, and sometimes includes case presentations, audiotapes, videotapes, and direct observation.  GSCSW provides a list of low-cost supervisors who are approved to supervise those seeking their LCSW license.

Why get involved with GSCSW?

If you are a new social worker interested in clinical licensure, the GSCSW provides the education, networking, support and guidance to those making that difficult and sometimes overwhelming transition from graduate education to beginning social work practice. There is no other organization in Georgia dedicated to the advancement of clinical social work practice.

For more information, contact the LMSW Committee at lmsw@gscsw.org:


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