Human Services Guide

Licensed Indpendent Social Worker (LISW)

There are many job titles which exist in various states and equate to different levels of licensure within the sphere of Clinical Social Work. All of these positions, including the Licensed Independent Social Worker perform the function of delivering therapeutic social work in the form of mental health counseling. There are many skills that are relevant to this career such as: empathy, compassion, ability to establish rapport, communication and organizational skills.

Education Requirements to Become a Licensed Independent Social Worker

These are refined during your education which will require that you earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited school. You will first need to earn a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline such as: Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Human Services or Counseling. While different institutions have varying pre-requisites for entry into their MSW program, most prefer that their students have a Bachelor of Social Work degree so that they have the baseline knowledge in Social Work to quickly move into the more advanced aspects of the discipline. It is helpful during your Bachelor’s degree to consider learning a second language such as Spanish in order to broaden the populations you can work with upon achieving licensure. Once you have your MSW you will need to fulfill your state’s requirements for testing and supervised clinical experience which you can learn about in detail in our state licensure articles which can be found by clicking on the name of your state next to the map here: