Human Services Guide

Licensed Clinical Social Worker | LCSW


The Licensed Clinical Social Worker or LCSW, is a sub-sector within the field of Social Work. LCSW's work with clients in order to help deal with issues involving mental and emotional health. There are a wide variety of specializations the Licensed Clinical Social Worker can focus on. These include specialties such as: working with mental health issues, substance abuse, public health, school social work, medical social work, marriage counseling or children and family therapy. Some may choose to work purely in a research, policy making or administrative capacity. The possible career paths as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker are many and varied.

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  • Find Social Work Licensing Requirements In Your State Here
  • Due to the diversity of this sub-sector the individual responsibilities vary considerably. However, here are some potential job duties one might have as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker:

    • Providing emotional and mental health counseling to groups or individuals
    • The administration of certain social programs such as Child Welfare
    • Building strong rapport with clients and making accurate assessments of their problems whether mental/emotional or physical in the case of substance abuse
    • Keeping detailed and concise records of each patient during the course of their treatment
    • Consultation with physicians, medical professionals and therapists when appropriate
    • Performing research tasks within a clinical setting
    • Acting as an administrator within a Social Services organization

    How a LCSW is a Service to Society

    The LCSW services human beings in a wide variety of ways. The most common career path is one of mental health counseling. With the help of the LCSW, the client can gain tremendous insight into their emotional make up and find healing around past traumas. A marriage and family counseling specialist might aid a family in working through their issues, facilitating dialogues and ensuring that everyone’s needs are met. This can result in marriages being strengthened that might otherwise end in divorce. The school counseling variation of the LCSW can help students to be properly assessed so their unique needs are met, which in turn allows them to flourish within an academic setting. There are myriad ways in which a Licensed Clinical Social Worker can service their fellow human beings and impact people on a societal, individual and family level.

    Impact on Society

    The Licensed Clinical Social Worker can impact society powerfully and in many different ways. Here are just a few examples of the impact a Licensed Clinical Social Worker can have on their community.

    • Increase in student graduation rate
    • Decrease in juvenile crime rate
    • Decrease in domestic violence rates
    • Increased emotional wellbeing of teachers and students
    • Increased efficiency of Social Service agencies they manage
    • Large positive impacts on community due to public policy studies

    Impact on the Family

    The Licensed Clinical Social Worker can help families in many different ways. They can help families to create child safety plans to keep children within the household. A School Social Worker might provide the missing insight so that a child might finally blossom at school relieving stress in the family. A Marriage and Family Counselor can help a couple resolve their grievances and find a second chance for their marriage. These are just a handful of the ways a Licensed Clinical Social worker can have an immense impact on the quality of life for families.

    Impact on the Individual

    In the context of mental health counseling, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker can have a huge impact on the individual. During the course of their treatment a client can begin to understand, resolve and heal from incredible traumas they have experienced during their lives. As a school counselor, the Licensed Clinical Social Worker can help be an advocate for a child who has severe behavioral problems in school. With the help of the LCSW, the child can begin to express their needs in a healthy way and receive the attention they need to succeed academically. The impact on the individual can be profound when they work with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

    Education Requirements to Join the Workforce

    You will first need to earn a Bachelor’s degree in a closely related field such as Psychology, Child Development, Social Work or Sociology. If you are planning your undergraduate degree you may want to consider a Bachelor of Social Work program as this will provide the foundation for principles you will learn in depth during your graduate studies. Once you have your Bachelor’s degree you can work towards earning your Master of Social Work.

    Range of Salaries for this Job

    The annual mean salary for a Licensed Clinical Social Worker on a nationwide basis ranges - depending on employer - between: $40,740 and $70,660.

    What’s Next to Pursue a Career as a LCSW

    The first step on one’s journey to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science in a closely related field. This could include Child Development, Psychology, Sociology or Social Work degree. The next step is to earn your Master of Social Work degree. Some states will then require you to accumulate supervised clinical experience. Finally, one must take their Social Work Licensure exam. One you have passed your examination you are ready to join the work force as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Now is a great time to start on the path to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker!

    Social Work Topics