There are only two weeks left to the semester across many social work schools in the country, and despite the emotional disruption of interrupting work with clients, not being able to have a traditional semester, nor even mark their achievements with the transitional ritual of commencement, many students have been tapping into their resilience to help calm the anxieties of what’s ahead as much as is even possible.
One of the ways to empower yourself during this time is to “control the controllables”— one of them being getting licensed as soon as possible after graduating. One, because it strengthens your job prospects in an uncertain time, and two, because it sets you on a path to be able to not just help the people whom need your support now, but also create more opportunities for leadership in the future and help shape your career into what you want it to be to help who you’re most suited to help.
In some cases, you may even be hired at your internship right after graduation, and might be able to preserve the continuity of your work with clients and the organization.
Many states have a similar licensure route (an important note for those in New Jersey: you can apply starting your last semester of school). They will generally ask you to submit information about yourself and your education before approving you to take the ASWB Exam (For the LMSW license, it will be the ASWB Masters Exam—the ASWB Clinical Exam superpowers come later). In New York, you will want to use the forms on the Office of Professions:
- Complete the two-hour mandated reporter training.
- Complete out Form 1 with the listed application fee. Form 1 will be a general demographics form documenting your personal information (name, age, general educational background, and your Disney+ password—thanks).
- Forward Form 2 to your school. This form has to be completed by your program (section II onward) to certify that you completed all academic requirements. Make sure to ask your MSW program the specific office it needs to be sent to (usually the registrar), since simply mailing it to your school won’t be enough.
- Form 3 through 5 aren’t necessary unless you have special circumstances like holding another professional license, needing a limited permit, or are proposing a supervisor to complete your clinical hours under.
- Once the state receives all of your documentation, you will receive a letter granting you permission to take the ASWB exam with instructions to access the website and test dates.
You will want to take the exam as soon as you can, even if you don’t plan on working right away. The license will be an asset to most entry-level jobs (if not a minimum requirement). It will benefit you to still have your schoolwork fresh in your mind (unlike the stale DiGiorno’s quarantine pizza I had the other night), the support of your peers, the momentum of having graduated, and having the resource of your newly earned degree to leverage.
If you plan on getting your LCSW, getting your LMSW starts the clock on your 2,000 required hours (over 36 months) to get there.
New York State Mandated Reporter Resource Center: