New Hampshire’s Office of Professional Licensure and Certification, Board of Mental Health Practice (BMHP) issues the state’s sole credential for practitioners in the social work field: the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).
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LICSW Scope of Practice
As a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) you can engage in mental health and psychotherapy practice. This is defined as being the application of psychological principles applied to human behavior to observe, evaluate, interpret, modify, and diagnose it. The goal of doing this is to enhance behavioral and mental health, and eliminate symptomatic or undesirable behaviors. In addition to diagnosing, you can also provide treatment for mental and emotional disorders, and engage in consultative or psycho-educational techniques.
LICSW Application Process
- Earn a master’s degree in Social Work from a school that’s accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Request two certified copies of your transcripts from your school to be sent to you in two signed sealed envelopes.
- Find a supervisor. Before you can become licensed, you need to complete two years of post-master’s social work experience, including at least 3,000 hours of post-master’s supervised clinical social work experience. Your supervisor needs to be an actively-licensed LICSW who’s been licensed for at least two years, has completed a clinical supervision course or certification program, and has earned 12 continuing education units in clinical supervision. You can find a list of all actively-licensed LICSWs here under the profession of Mental Health.
- To initiate your supervised experience you’ll submit a Candidate for Licensure Supervision Agreement with the Board of Mental Health Practice (BMHP). There are parts you must complete and parts your supervisor must complete. Include your official school transcripts in a signed sealed envelope from your graduate school, and a $25 fee with this. The BMHP will notify you when it approves your supervision agreement, at which point you can begin practicing under supervision.
- Once you’ve completed your supervised experience, apply with the BMHP to receive clearance to take the Clinical exam sponsored by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). You do this by submitting a Request to Sit for ASWB Clinical Exam to the BMHP. Once the BMHP approves your request it will notify the ASWB that you’re cleared to test, and send you instructions on how to register with the ASWB.
- Register with the ASWB for its Clinical exam. Request the ASWB to send your passing scores to the BMHP.
- At this point you can submit an application packet for LICSW licensure with the BMHP. Include a $150 application fee, and you’ll also need to pay a $135 licensure fee once your application for licensure is approved. There are forms contained in your application packet that your supervisor needs to fill out to confirm you’ve completed the period of supervised experience, and additionally you need to include: 1.) Official transcripts from your bachelor’s and master’s programs in signed sealed envelopes. 2.) Three professional references, including one that’s from your supervisor; these forms are included in the application packet and they should be returned to you in signed sealed envelopes. 3.) A criminal offender record report from New Hampshire and every state where you’ve lived in the past five years
- Once the BMHP approves your application packet it will issue your LICSW license.
Renewing the LICSW
The LICSW license expires every two years. To renew it you’ll need to send a completed renewal application to the BMHP before it expires. The renewal fee is $270. To be eligible for renewal you must attest to completing:
40 hours of continuing education where you do things like attend workshops, present a seminar or workshop, complete graduate-level coursework, and publish books or articles
40 hours of collaboration where you do things like have small group meetings, attend conferences, engage in research, and engage in group study
How Long Does it Take to Become an LICSW in New Hampshire?
Becoming an LICSW is a process that involves several steps that each take years of investment along the way, totaling at least eight years beyond high school. At minimum these are:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree – four years
- Earn an MSW degree – two years
- Complete two years of supervised experience – two years
Social Work Degrees in New Hampshire
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredits programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Right now New Hampshire is home to three such programs, including one that is offered online. You can also choose to earn a doctoral degree in Social Work. Although it won’t qualify you for licensure, it is a way of demonstrating your commitment to excellence in this field.
Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work (BSW)
A BSW degree is the first natural step towards earning an MSW. There are many supplemental overlaps between both levels of education, especially when both levels have CSWE accreditation. Currently there are two CSWE-accredited BSW programs in New Hampshire, and thanks to this accreditation they’re both guaranteed to include a field education segment that’s at least 400 hours.
Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW)
If you want to become a social worker in New Hampshire –become a licensed LICSW– then you must earn an MSW degree from a CSWE-acredited program. There is one such program located in New Hampshire, and it offers an option for online and on-campus study. By virtue of being CSWE-accredited, it also includes a field education experience that’s at least 900 hours.
Doctoral Degree in Social Work
Doctoral degrees in this field are offered as PhD programs and Doctor of Social Work (DSW) programs. PhD programs can be more research-intensive and take longer to complete than DSW programs, which can focus on clinical aspects of social work. Both types of programs typically offer opportunities for specialization within the field of social work, and earning either will maximize the options for your career’s growth potential.
You can apply for a license via reciprocity if you’re a licensed clinical social worker in another state and the requirements you met for becoming licensed are similar to New Hampshire’s. If you’ve been a licensed LCSW in good standing in another state for at least five years you can be exempt from the requirement for post-master’s social work experience. Follow the application process detailed above to apply. Additionally:
- Request your out-of-state board of social work to complete the License Verification Form contained within the application packet for licensure and return it to you in a signed sealed envelope that you should include with your license application.
- Include a criminal offender record report from every state you’ve lived and practiced in for the past five years with your application for licensure.
Social Work Salaries in New Hampshire
In 2020 the US Department of Labor reports the following average annual salaries for several classifications of social work careers, specifically for New Hampshire:
- Social and Community Service Manager – $70,070
- Healthcare Social Worker – $64,680
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker – $58,750
- Child, Family, and School Social Worker – $54,340
- Social Worker, All Other – $74,160
Social Work Resources in New Hampshire
New Hampshire Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers – This local chapter of the nation’s largest social work organization serves several important behind-the-scenes roles: it maintains quality relationships between local and state organizations, it mobilizes support for important local and state policy initiatives, and it links members’ interests with special interest groups that can deliver. This chapter also plays an important and visible leadership role in advocating for its members.
New Hampshire School Social Workers Association – The local chapter of a national organization, every year this parent organization sponsors a national conference. Membership benefits include networking opportunities with supportive professionals, discounted webinars, bi-monthly newsletters, and the option to participate in national research projects.
Career Opportunities in New Hampshire
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services – This state-level agency is the first line of response for providing vital services to many of New Hampshire’s most vulnerable populations. Social workers are familiar with many of the programs and partnerships that involve the DHHS. It has entire sections devoted to addressing important issues, including its Division of Long Term Supports and Services, Bureau of Family Assistance, Division for Children, Youth, and Families, and its Division for Behavioral Health, among others.
New Hampshire Division of Behavioral Health – Of all the DHHS divisions that social workers come into regular contact with, this one may be the most popular. Branches within this division include the Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health, Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services, and Bureau of Mental Health Services.
New Hampshire Community Behavioral Health Association – This organization is a conglomeration of 10 community mental health centers from throughout the state. It seeks to develop systems and relationships that make high quality behavioral healthcare sustainable. In addition to programs operated individually by each member agency, joint programs include emergency services, a child impact program, and mental health first aid.
Manchester School District – The largest and oldest school system in the state, this district is responsible for the education of nearly 14,000 students, an achievable effort thanks to MSD’s 1,900 dedicated faculty and staff.
The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester – In addition to providing training and continuing education opportunities for social workers and other mental health practitioners, this organization also provides services for children, adolescents, and adults. It has five centers throughout the greater Manchester area.
Granite Recovery Centers – Dedicated to helping their clients overcome drug and alcohol addictions, this organization manages 12 rehabilitation centers throughout the state. While it accepts insurance from New Hampshire residents, its reputation is so good that it sees clients flying in from throughout the country. It offers inpatient, outpatient, and sober living options for adults of all ages.
Nashua School District – Home to 12 elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, and one academy, the teachers and staff in this district recognize the responsibility they have for providing foundational education to the more-than 11,000 students who walk through the doors of their classrooms every day.