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Licensed Clinical Social Worker


Social work is a profession that helps individuals, families, and groups change behaviors, emotions, attitudes, relationships, and social conditions to restore and enhance their capacity to meet their personal and social needs.

Social workers are trained to provide a variety of services, ranging from psychotherapy to the administration of health and welfare programs. They work with human development and behavior, including the social, economic, and cultural systems in which people function.

The Licensed Clinical Social Worker may provide all social work services, including clinical services such as the diagnosis of mental, emotional, behavioral, developmental, and addictive disorders, the development of treatment plans, and the provision of psychotherapy.

Licensure Requirements:

The practice of licensed clinical social work and the use of the title "Licensed Clinical Social Worker" and the designation of "LCSW" or derivatives thereof in New York State requires licensure as a licensed clinical social worker, unless otherwise exempt under the law.

To be licensed as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New York State you must:

  • be of good moral character;
  • be at least 21 years of age;
  • have an education that includes a masters degree in social work (M.S.W.) with at least 12 semester hours of clinical coursework acceptable to the Department;
  • have at least 3 years of post M.S.W. supervised experience in diagnosis, psychotherapy and assessment-based treatment planning acceptable to the Department;
  • meet clinical examination requirements; and
  • complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse offered by a New York State approved provider.

Note: In most cases you must be licensed and currently registered to practice as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in New York to complete the supervised experience for licensure as an LCSW. Effective September 1, 2004, the practice of licensed clinical social work is restricted to those licensed or authorized under New York law.

The specific requirements for licensure are contained in Title 8, Article 154, Section 7704 of New York State Education Law and Part 74 and Section 52.30 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The Law and Regulations are available on our Web site at

Recertification Requirements:

Beginning January 1, 2015, each Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) must complete 36 hours of approved continuing education courses for each triennial registration period. No more than 12 hours of continuing education activities in any 36 month period, or one-third of the total hours in periods of other length, may consist of self-study educational activities from New York State Education Department approved providers.

Education Requirements:

To meet the professional education requirement for licensure as an LCSW, you must present satisfactory evidence of having received a masters degree in social work, or its equivalent, through completion of a satisfactory graduate program in social work which includes two years of full-time study (at least 60 semester hours, or the equivalent). No more than half of the total hours for the program may be advanced standing credit granted for social work study at the baccalaureate level.

The clinical coursework must be offered by an acceptable two-year graduate social work program, such as one registered by the Department as licensure-qualifying for the LCSW. Coursework may be completed either as part of the M.S.W. degree program or after completion of the program to remedy deficiencies in clinical content. Continuing education is not acceptable for the graduate social work education.

In addition to the professional education requirement, every applicant for LCSW licensure or a limited permit must complete coursework or training in the identification and reporting of child abuse in accordance with Section 6507(3)(a) of the Education Law.

Experience Requirement

To meet the experience requirement for licensure as an LCSW, you must have completed 2000 client contact hours over a continuous period of at least 36 months (three years) and not to exceed 6 calendar 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.

Examination Requirements:

Licensure as an LCSW requires successful completion of the "Clinical" examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) or an examination determined by the Department to be comparable in content.

Fees (as of November 2, 2016)

The fee for licensure and first registration is $294.
The fee for a limited permit is $70
The continuing education fee of $45 is paid by the licensee with the triennial registration fee (effective 1/1/2015).

Licenses Issued and Active:

In 2014, there were 1,277 licenses issued for this occupation.
In 2015, there were 1,150 licenses issued for this occupation.

As of July 1, 2016, there were 28,032 registered licenses for this occupation.

Licensing Authority:

New York State Education Department
Office of the Professions
Division of Professional Licensing Services
Social Work Unit
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234
Phone: (518) 474-3817 Ext. 592
Fax: (518) 402-2323

Standard Occupational Classification:

21-1023 - Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).

Additional Information:

Association of Social Worker Boards
400 Southridge Parkway, Suite B
Culpeper, VA 22701
Phone: (800) 225-6880
Fax: (540) 829-0562


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 11/28/16.

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