Completing the LCSW is an intensive process taking three-plus years that can pay off with excellent job prospects for altruistic advocates of mental health. Earning the Licensed Clinical Social Worker title after one’s name involves graduating from an accredited MSW program either on-site or online. According to the CSWE directory, there are currently 128 colleges in the United States and Puerto Rico that offer clinical master’s concentrations. Although the Association of Social Work Boards warns that LCSW requirements vary by state, most will require at least 3,200 hours or 24 months of full-time work experience under supervision. Then comes the 150-question LCSW exam where the pass rate for the 16,045 takers in 2017 was only 78.4 percent. Successfully becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is a noble achievement that can line up some of this human services field’s best jobs.
Types of Jobs Available for LCSWs
Clinical social work is a multi-faceted profession where licensed practitioners can invoke positive life changes in several specialties outlined by the National Association of Social Workers. Many LCSWs focus on mental illness to address chronic problems that could be life-threatening, such as opioid addiction and bipolar disorder. Trauma LCSWs specifically treat patients with histories of domestic, communal, and systemic violence. Aging baby boomers rely on LCSWs in gerontology to enhance their late adulthood well-being. Child and family LCSWs have expertise in pediatric therapy for interventions at school or home. Licensed Clinical Social Workers can also find jobs in corrections, refugee resettlement, biomedical research, fertility counseling, hospice care, and more globally. Some LCSWs even become academics to teach college courses at the bachelor’s level.
Organizations Hiring LCSW Graduates
Passing the $260 ASWB Clinical exam opens doors to practice in any healthcare setting across all 50 states. Licensed Clinical Social Workers are often drawn to hospitals, including Honor Roll members like the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, New York-Presbyterian, Massachusetts General, and Cedars-Sinai. LCSWs treat mentally ill patients in psychiatric centers, outpatient clinics, residential rehabs, halfway houses, and even equine therapy stables. Recovery.org picked Silver Sands, Ambrosia Treatment, Sunspire Health, and Covenant Hills among America’s best places for addictions help. LCSWs could work for government agencies, such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Military bases from California’s Fort Irwin to Georgia’s Fort Benning hire clinical staff. School districts, child welfare departments, prisons, and nursing homes are other employment options.
Best Places to Search for LCSW Openings
Licensed Clinical Social Workers looking to join their 682,100 colleagues nationwide may need some relocation flexibility to find the best jobs. ValuePenguin analyzed 300+ cities to assert that Carson City, Waterbury, Cumberland, Taunton, and New Haven were the best for LCSWs. The highest numbers of LCSWs are found in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Ohio at over 5,000 apiece according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top-paying metropolitans for clinical social work are Macon at $93,730, San Luis Obispo at $79,780, Jefferson City at $72,630, and Trenton at $70,380. However, there’s a shortage of LCSWs in rural communities where access to mental health specialists is direly low. Licensed Clinical Social Workers have the authority to open private practices anywhere to serve anyone in need.
Job Locating Tips for Newly Licensed LCSWs
The Department of Labor brags that the economy will stimulate much faster-than-average job growth of 20 percent for 35,400 new LCSW positions by 2026, but the job search can still be difficult for new graduates. Finding the best jobs for LCSWs will necessitate plenty of networking by joining NASW Chapters, making LinkedIn profiles, and attending gatherings like the Annual Linda Gammage Social Workers Conference. Build connections and experience by volunteering at local clinics or nonprofits. Adding internships with global organizations, such as Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee, could stand out. Pursue extra training opportunities, including the SAMSHA Minority Fellowship Program with $6,500 stipends. LCSWs might also get their feet wet with per diem work via staffing agencies like Social Work p.r.n.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, LCSWs have America’s 63rd best job with average upward mobility and low unemployment of 2.1 percent. The Licensed Clinical Social Worker credential proves to wide-ranging healthcare employers that candidates have the diagnostic expertise needed for treating psychosocial dysfunctions. LCSWs can fill diverse, strength-based direct practice roles helping patients cope with clinical conditions and cultivate brighter futures. From aiding the elderly to protecting child welfare and counseling transgender teens, there’s virtually no limit to the great job opportunities rewarded when you complete the LCSW license.