Social Worker Career in Tennessee - TN

Professionals in the field of social work connect individuals to the resources and aid necessary to help them contend with the challenges that they face.  Individuals who want to learn how to become a social worker in Tennessee should understand that their career trajectory will begin in the classroom where they will learn the fundamentals of the field.  Students will engage in rigorous coursework that emphasizes how best to meet the diverse needs of the groups that they will serve, and they will then need to apply for Tennessee licensure so that they may work as practitioners in the state.

The Board of Social Worker Licensure within the Tennessee Department of Health awards four types of licenses to qualified candidates:

  • Licensed Baccalaureate of Social Work (LBSW): Applicants must submit college transcripts from a Council on Social Work Education accredited institution as well as scores from the Association of Social Work Boards examination.
  • Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW): Applicants must submit transcripts from a Master’s degree program in social work from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and scores from the Association of Social Work Boards examination.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): Applicants must submit proof of at least 3,000 clinical contact hours over at least two years after having received either their Master’s or doctoral degrees.  This experience must include one hour of supervised practice for every 30 clinical contact hours for a total of 100 hours supervised by an individual who has been a licensed clinical social worker for at least three consecutive years.  At least 60 of the 100 hours must be one-to-one supervision with no more than 40 hours of a supervisor overseeing more than four supervisees in a group setting.
  • Licensed Advanced Practice Social Worker (LAPSW): Applicants must submit proof of graduation from either 1) any institution with either a Master’s or a doctoral degree in social work before 1980 or 2) a Council on Social Work Education accredited graduate program since 1980.  They must also submit a work history of at least three consecutive years working in the capacity of an advanced practice social worker and a professional reference from either a current employer or colleague.  If this reference is not available, then applicants must submit proof of either current Academy of Certified Social Workers or Diplomate in Clinical Social Work credentials from the National Association of Social Workers.

In addition, all persons who seek initial licensure in the state must submit to a criminal background check conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Identification and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  They must also complete a mandatory practitioner profile questionnaire.

Disclaimer: Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.

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