Human Services Guide

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

If you are interested in a challenging, yet extremely rewarding career in which you help people to resolve past traumas, dissipate negative emotional and behavioral patterns and reach their full potential, then you might really love a career as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). The LICSW works with clients in a mental health context and makes use of the Social Work brand of tools and skillsets to help the client to overcome their own mental and emotional struggles. The LICSW uses a strength based approach to help their client get to the bottom of what is causing their repeated self-defeating patterns and limiting beliefs. By working to free the client of self-imposed barriers to success, the LICSW gives the person a tremendous gift of self-sufficiency and a new found self-confidence. Some Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers will choose to refine their talents further by working with specific groups such as adolescents or the elderly. Other LICSW’s will instead choose to open a general practice in order to maximize their potential client base.

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How a LICSW is a Service to Society

The occupation of Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) is one that is of tremendous service to their community and of course to individual clients themselves. Working with clients to understand their own subconscious motivations that cause them to persist in poor judgment and decision making, the LICSW shows the client the fundamental reasons for their behaviors and also empowers them to be free of them. Using strength based collaborative approach; the LICSW helps the client to find their own inborn ability to overcome these sorts of long term paradigms. By seeing they have the power to transcend these kinds of long held limiting beliefs and emotional pain, the client is able to modify and ultimately go beyond ways of being that have held them back.

Impact on Society

While it may not be readily apparent upon a cursory examination, the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) has rather significant impact on society. Working with individuals on their own limitations so that they can free up unused natural talents and energy, the LICSW begins a micro process of healing that eventually impacts society at the macro level. As the client is transformed through their therapy, so too are the lives of those the client interacts with on a daily basis. From family and friends to co-workers and associates, the networks of clients who have successfully completed therapy begin to be impacted in both subtle and overt ways. By modeling a new way of being that is free from prior limitations and allows the client to tap into potential they didn’t know they have, the client begins the process of snowballing positive change throughout society. While it may not seem to be significant at first, as dozens, then hundreds and eventually thousands of individuals are freed from past burdens through therapy, society itself begins to reflect the internal changes of clients who have undergone successful therapy during the course of the LICSW’s career.

Range of Salaries for this Job

Using the BLS website data, you can see that the earning potential of the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) is not insignificant. On a yearly basis the LICSW can expect to earn between $40,740 and $70,660. This will of course be modified by a variety of factors such as location, employer, and tenure with the company. For those in private practice the key to higher earning potential is of course establishing a large client base.

What’s Next to Pursue a Career as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker?

The first task of an aspiring Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) is to earn their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. While it is possible to enter into a Master of Social Work program with a degree from a related field, it is usually advisable to earn your BSW if your intent is to gain an advanced degree in Social Work. Once you have your BSW, you will want to find MSW programs with degree concentrations that are a good fit for your long term goals. You will want to make sure that any program you attend is certified by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). You can learn more about MSW programs in your area by clicking on the name of your state next to the map you find here: