If you’re a social work student, licensure candidate, or LCSW supervisor based in California, it’s important to know that changes are coming to the LCSW licensure and supervision process. The following changes will impact ASWs and LCSWs practicing in California. Most of these changes will come into effect at the beginning of next year, on January 1, 2019.

ASW and LCSW Licensure Changes

Good news for ASWs; the licensure hours required before taking the exam are getting reduced from 3,200 to 3,000! The maximum number of non-clinical hours you can count toward your license are similarly being reduced from 1,200 to 1,000.

New social work graduates soon will also no longer need to wait to officially get awarded their ASW to start collecting clinical supervision hours. In order to qualify, you’ll need to submit your ASW registration and ensure it’s received by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) within 90 days of graduating with your MSW. You’ll also need to get these initial hours in a setting other than private practice.

Some changes will come into effect regarding the specifics of your clinical supervision. The minimum 13 weeks of supervision required by an LCSW can now be provided in either a triadic (two supervisees and one supervisor) or individual format. If you’re getting your hours in a private practice setting, your clinical supervisor will need to be employed within the practice. You will no longer be able to use an outside supervisor.

Finally, the BBS is adding an additional course to the LCSW requirements beginning in 2021. If you apply for LCSW licensure after January 1, 2021, you’ll need to show that you completed 6 hours of suicide prevention training through your MSW program, clinical supervision, or a CE class.

LCSW Supervisor Changes

The BBS is creating more stringent criteria to ensure ASW supervisors are qualified to serve in the role. Beginning in 2019, you must keep records for up to 7 years after completing ASW supervision for each supervisee that proves you were qualified to supervise during that time. These is a possibility you could get audited to prove your qualifications.

Prior to becoming a clinical supervisor, the supervisor must hold a relevant clinical license (such as LCSW or LMFT) for at least two of the previous five years. They must have practiced clinically or supervised LCSW candidates doing clinical work for the same time period.

In addition to individual and group supervision, supervisors may also supervise in a triadic (two supervisees, one supervisor) setting. Required individual supervision hours can now take place in the triadic format as well. After supervisees complete their hours, you’ll need to continue supervising them for an hour every week they do clinical work until they achieve their license.

The new rules also clarify that the clinical supervisor cannot act as a therapist or have any business relationship with supervisees. However, they encourage supervisors to support their supervisees in seeking affordable therapy from another qualified source as part of their training.

LCSW License Renewal Changes

A few changes are coming to licensed LCSWs in 2020 and 2021. By January 1, 2021, LCSWs must obtain proof that they’ve completed the newly mandatory six hours of suicide prevention training. If you completed this training previously in school or clinical supervision, you can get proof from your school or former supervisor. Otherwise, you’ll need to complete a CE course by that date.

It will become easier to renew your license in 2020 if you’ve had a criminal conviction. Commencing on July 1, 2020, the BBS can only deny license renewals under a few specific grounds where the crime relates to the supervisor’s professional duties. This new rule doesn’t apply to serious felonies.

To read the full summary of every proposed change, head to the NASW California’s website and read the following link: https://naswcanews.org/2019-law-changes-california-licensing-process-changes-for-lcsws/. If you’d like further help understanding how the changes will impact your path to licensure or supervision in California, please feel free to reach out to us.