How To Find Your Calling of Social Work in Florida
Social workers are professionals who strive to help individuals and groups in their community. They promote better mental health, teach important skills to help people thrive, and act as advocates for them in times of need.
You may have this strong desire to help others. You may have struggled yourself but were able to receive the help of a social worker and now feel a burning need to pay it forward with the experience you have gained. Perhaps you have a passion for fighting social injustice. As a natural helper, there are a variety of reasons that lead you on the path of assisting others in the career of social work.
It takes a special person to take on this challenging but rewarding career. Once you know you are that individual, the next step is figuring out the process you need to go through to becoming licensed in the profession. Requirements vary from state to state, so it is important to know what moves you need to make to become a social worker in Florida.
Whatever your particular interest, most social workers are inspired by the idea of making a difference in people’s lives (the kind that really has an impact) and making the world a better place. If you know that is you, keep on reading for your roadmap to being a social worker in Florida.
Your path to Florida social work licensure
I have a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW)
If you have a bachelor’s degree in social work, you can easily become a Licensed Social Worker (LCSW) by going on to complete your master's degree in social work. Some of the coursework you have completed in your undergraduate degree may meet requirements needed for licensure during your graduate degree. If you have received a degree with a program that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, you can begin work in entry-level social work positions. These generalist positions can be done full-time or part-time while obtaining your higher level degree.
I have a bachelor’s degree but not in social work
If you have a bachelor’s degree that isn’t social work specific, you can still continue on the path to becoming a social worker. It may just take longer than your BSW peers as you fulfill requirements they may have already completed in the undergraduate studies. You will need to apply for a graduate program where you will complete coursework in social work and also obtain fieldwork experience.
I am a licensed social worker but do not currently live in Florida
Although there is no reciprocity available now in Florida, you can still receive your licensure for social work in Florida by either applying by exam or by endorsement depending on how long you have been practicing.
Types of Florida social work licensure & the step-by-step process
Provisional social work license in Florida education requirements
To become a provisional social worker in Florida, you need to have your master’s degree.
- Completed two years of post-master’s supervised work(this may have been in another state, but with your provisional license, you can work under supervision while you meet the needed additional requirements set in Florida).
- You must have pass the national clinical level examination.
Clinical Social Work License (LCSW) in Florida
To become a licensed clinical social worker, you must have a master's degree in social work from a school with the right accreditation (as approved by the Council on Social Work Education).
Application process There are two methods of application. You can either apply by exam or apply by endorsement. - Applying by exam: Who are you? You have completed the post-master’s supervised experience and are not licensed as a social worker or are a licensed social worker from another state but for less than 3 years. - Applying by endorsement: You have been a practicing social worker in another state for at least three of the last five years.
Requirements If applying by exam, you will need to apply and must be approved to apply for provisional license. You do so by contacting the board for that application. You must submit your graduate school transcripts and a practicum letter proving you have provided “clinical services directly to clients." If you did not take needed courses at graduate school because you completed them in your undergraduate coursework, you will need proof of this in the form of an advanced standing letter issued by the social work school. You must also request a Supervised Experience Attestation Form from your supervisor showing that you have completed the 2 years and 1,500 hours needed. If you are already a licensed social worker but in another state for less than three years, you will need to request a license verification form.
If you are applying by endorsement, you will also need to send an official transcript from your graduate program, advanced standing letter, and license verification.
For both applicants, whether applying by exam or endorsement, you will need to provide your certificate of completion of the 8 hour laws and rules course, 3 hour HIV/AIDS course, and 2 hour domestic violence course. All need to be taken and approved by a board approved provider.
In terms of fees, you will need to pay the $100 non-refundable application fee and initial licensure fee, which is an additional $105. Examination
You will need to have passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) national clinical level examination.
Registered Clinical Social Work Intern in Florida
You will need a social work master’s degree with 24 hours of required coursework.
Application process To become a registered clinical social work intern in Florida, you must - Submit your official graduate school transcripts - Provide a practicum letter from your social work school proving you have given provided “Clinical services directly to clients.” - Clarification material for courses (such as syllabi if the courses on your transcript don’t clearly indicate they cover the required material needed for social work). - Advanced standing letter if you completed coursework in your undergraduate degree instead of during your masters - Your qualified supervisors name - Documentation from that supervisor saying they agree to provide you with the needed supervision.
Requirements In addition to having obtained your master’s and the appropriate coursework, you will need to have a supervisor set to begin practicing.
You will need to complete the supervised field placement test in your master’s program.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Florida
You will need a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or another closely related field with extensive background and coursework completed specifically focused on marriage and family.
Application process You must apply for the licensure either by exam or endorsement.
- Applying by Exam: If you have completed the two year post-master’s experience under a supervisor or are already a licensed social worker(min. three years in another state). After you apply, you will need to contact and be approved for your provisional license by the board, submit your graduate program’s official transcript, practicum letter proving your 180 hours of marriage and family direct client experience, Supervised Experience Attestation Form filled out by your supervisor, and your official score report with a passing grade. If you have any other licenses in other states, you will need to submit those too. You will need to pass the national exam through the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards.
- Applying by Endorsement: If you are currently practicing marriage and family therapy in another state (for a minimum of at least three of the past five years). After you apply, you will need to submit your transcripts and license verification.
Requirements For both types of applicants, whether you are applying by exam or endorsement, you will also need to submit the following: - certificate of completion proving your 8 hour laws and rules course - 3 hour HIV/AIDS course - 2 hour domestic violence course from board approved providers
Registered Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Florida
You will need to have your master’s degree in marriage and family counseling or other program closely related with a strong background in marriage and family coursework and experience.
Application process After applying, you will need to submit your graduate school’s official transcript, practicum letter proving your 180 hour experience working directly with clients in the field of marriage and family therapy, the name of your qualified supervisor, and written documentation from them stating their agreement to work with you as a supervisor.
Requirements You will need to have completed at least three hours of approved content and a supervisor in place to work under.
You will need to send off a request for exam approval.
Florida Licensed Mental Health Counselor
To become a licensed mental health counselor in Florida, you will need a master’s degree in mental health counseling directly or a master’s degree in a similar program as approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
Application process There are two methods of application. You can either apply by exam or apply by endorsement. - Applying by exam: If you have completed the post-master’s supervised experience and are not licensed as a social worker or are a licensed social worker from another state but for less than 3 years. After applying and paying the fee, you will need to submit official transcripts, practicum letter stating your hours completed, course titles, any related experience acquired in the program from your graduate school, and your National Clinical Mental Health Counseling exam official scores. You will also need to have requested a Supervised Experience Attestation Form. If you are licensed in another state, you will need to provide adequate verification. - Applying by endorsement: If you are a practicing social worker in another state (for a minimum of at least three of the last five years). You will need to apply and pay the fee. Then you will need to submit your official transcripts, license verification, and your National Clinical Mental Health Counseling exam official scores.
Requirements For both types of applicants, whether you are applying by exam or endorsement, you will also need to submit the following: - certificate of completion proving your 8 hour laws and rules course - Three hour HIV/AIDS course - Two hour domestic violence course from board approved providers
You will need to pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam.
Florida Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern
To become a registered mental health counselor intern in Florida, you will need to have completed your master’s in mental health counseling or a similarly related field as approved by CACREP or regionally accredited.
Application process After applying, you will need to submit your graduate school official transcript, practicum letter stating you have met the required hours, the name of your supervisor, and a letter from them stating their agreement to work with you.
Requirements You will need to have competed a three semester course in approved content and completed your practicum.
You will need to send off a request for exam approval.
Dual Licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Florida
To become a dual licensure as a marriage and family therapist in Florida, you will need to have a master's degree in social work.
Application process You will need to pass the national exam.
Requirements You will need to have been and currently licensed as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Psychologist, Advanced Registered Nurse PRactitioner, or Mental Health Practitioner for at least three years.
You will need to pass the national examination from the Examination Advisory Committee of the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) and Professional Examination Services.
Florida Limited licensure
To become a limited licensure, you will need your master’s degree in the related field. You will also need to be retiring or retired from the practice of social work, marriage and family therapy, or mental health counseling.
Application process After applying, you must attest that you have practiced in your chosen social work field for at least ten years, that you are retired or are planning to retire soon, and that you will receive no monetary goods for your service.
Requirements You will need to be retired or intending to retire, submit your Affidavit for Limited License Applicant, and Limited License Fee Waiver Form.
No additional exam is required.
Florida Certified Master Social Worker
To become a certified master social worker in florida, you will need your master's degree in social work with the primary focus being administration or clinical practice.
Application process With this being an administrative role instead of clinical practitioner, you will need to contact the board staff for application information.
Requirements You will need to have completed three hours of coursework of the approved content, you will also need to have 3 years of social work with 2 years served under post-master’s supervision by someone trained and met the requirements to become a certified master social worker. You also need to complete the 8 hour laws and rules course and the 3 hour HIV/AIDS course from board approved provider.
You will need to pass the national Advanced Generalist level examination.
Florida Qualified Supervisor
You will need at least a master’s degree to become a qualified supervisor.
Application process Submit appropriate forms to [email protected] or by fax. These forms include the Qualified Supervisor Affirmation Statement and education verification. You will hear back from the Board office sometime after to let you know if you have met the requirements or not.
Requirements There are several different paths you can take in becoming a qualified supervisor for clinical social work. If you already a LCSW, you need to have taken graduate level academic courses in supervision or continuing education courses in supervisory training or have an AAMFT approved supervisor or to have taken a post-graduate training course for field instruction clinical social work. In addition to one of the previously mentioned four paths, you will need to have four years experience in clinical social work. Two of the four can be earned in the post-masters clinical internship.
If you are not a LCSW, you need your transcripts of master level graduate level coursework totalling in nine semester or twelve quarter hours.If you are a licensed psychologist in Florida who has at least three years of psychotherapy experience, you too can apply to become a qualified supervisor.
Which states share social work licensure reciprocity with Florida?
Florida does not offer reciprocity to other states at this time. However, if you are a licensed social worker from another state, there are steps you can take to become a licensed social worker in Florida. You can either apply by examination or apply by endorsement depending on how long you have been a practicing LCSW.
Florida Board of Social Work
To become a licensed clinical social worker, you will need to register for the ASWB National Social Work Exam by phone. It is by appointment at an appropriate testing site.
For clinical social work and marriage and family therapy, you will need to request approval for examination. This will be granted after all required practicum has coursework has been completed.
For marriage and family therapy, you will need to application using your Florida Approval Code where you can submit examination and the testing fee. Six weeks before the testing period opens up, you will receive an email saying if you are qualified and how to set up the date and location for you to take your exam.
The jobs are out there. Once you decide being a social worker in Florida is the job for you, going though the process is really worth it in the long haul!
Sources: Florida Board of Clinical Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapistsand Mental Health Counselors. (n.d.). Qualified Supervisor. Retrieved March 04, 2018, from http://floridasmentalhealthprofessions.gov/licensing/qualified-supervisor/
(n.d.). Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling- Licensing, Renewals & Information. Florida Board ofClinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling » Licensed Clinical Social Worker- Licensing, Renewals & Information.Retrieved March 4, 2018, from http://floridasmentalhealthprofessions.gov/licensing/licensed-clinical-social-worker/