What Does LCSW Stand For?

An LCSW, or licensed clinical social worker, is a professional who provides counseling and psychosocial services to clients in clinical settings. Read on to learn about the education required to become a LCSW and the nature of the occupation. Schools offering Clinical Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Job Description

As a licensed clinical social worker, or LCSW, you will help people deal with various personal, social and mental health issues, such as depression, unemployment, domestic abuse and illness. You may be involved with diagnosing mental health disabilities and providing support to patients and their families. You may also develop psychotherapy and behavioral therapy treatment plans for patients suffering from an array of mental health ailments, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2019) $56,724*
Key Skills Interpersonal skills, Listening skills, Organizational skills, Problem-solving skills, Compassion
Similar Occupations Rehabilitation Counselors, Psychologists, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists
Work Environment Clinical, hospital and treatment facilities

Source: *PayScale.com

Education Requirements

To become an LCSW, you'll be required to graduate from a master's degree program in social work. These degree programs focus on theory and research in the profession and may offer coursework in social work specializations. Courses tend to include psychopathology, human behavior, social welfare policy and health care counseling. These programs also incorporate field training, which should provide you with supervised, practical social work experience in clinics.

Licensure Requirements

After earning a degree, you may qualify to seek licensure to become an LCSW. Licensing requirements vary between states, so you may benefit from consulting your state's social work board. You're generally required to acquire two years of clinical social work experience under the direction of a qualified social worker and pass a licensure exam. States may also require LCSWs to stay current on professional developments through continuing education.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, social worker employment was projected to grow 16% from 2016-2026 (www.bls.gov). This expected growth will be due in part to an increased number of elderly people in the U.S., as well as a rising trend to send people who abuse substances to treatment centers, rather than jail. That said, licensed clinical social workers who specialize in substance abuse and gerontology may benefit from the greatest job opportunities.

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