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New Jersey Social Work Licensing Information

Higher Education Articles August 16, 2013

Are you interested in making a difference in the lives of others? You don’t have to be a politician or a world traveler to get started. However, finding a career in a socially important position is an excellent way to make a difference and that is what a social worker does. A social worker helps the underprivileged population. In New Jersey, there is a great opportunity for psychology graduates to get involved in a relevant and rewarding field. The Licensed Social Worker is a graduate who has completed an MSW (Master of Social Work) program and went on to complete the application.

Qualification for New Graduates

Of course, qualifying for licensure is an involved process. First, you must have a minimum of a master’s degree in the field. After the completion of this training, there is coursework to submit, an examination and supervised work assignments. The reason being, for certain difficult cases, a higher degree and level of supervision may be required. You must first acquire an application (available from the Association of Social Worker Boards) and then submit a fee, which will be accompanied by your MSW transcripts. Before taking the test, you will get an authorization number through the letter that will serve as your appointment. After paying all applicable fees and once payment is processed, you will be ready for your license, but there is still going to be a two month wait. You must wait for the license to be received before you can start practicing.

The three categories of distinction in New Jersey are a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Social Worker, and Certified Social Worker. Ever since the early 1990s, the state has required all social workers to be licensed in order to ensure fair treatment and avoid costly errors from unqualified workers. The Board of Social Work Examiners is the primary authority, and all members are appointed by the governor of New Jersey. All social workers must be licensed in most cases with only a handful of exceptions; for example, students being supervised, nonprofit, non-clinical workers taking part in community activities, and school social workers. Civil service employees working for the government are also exempt.

What if You Are Moving to New Jersey?

If you have served as a social worker out of state and are merely moving to New Jersey, there is still a process. However, if you have already passed the exam in the former state, you can immediately apply for a New Jersey license, provided you are still working according to your documented level of expertise. If you have not passed an exam in the former state, you must do so in New Jersey. One technicality to be aware of is that not all states will exceed the competency level of New Jersey, and in which case, you will have to take the exam and fulfill any other requirements. What’s good to know, however, is that you can get help with the exam in advance (both the LSW and LCSW exam) from the NASW-NJ Chapter practice course.

It’s easy to see that New Jersey is one of the more generous states when it comes to licensing for this fine work. Social working is a rewarding career field – financially, and a delightful way to spend your professional life helping others!

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