Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW)

Few things in life are more challenging to an individual than overcoming their own perceived shortcomings and recovering from emotional wounds from their past. Fortunately, the Licensed Independent Social Worker profession is there to assist people in resolving these issues. By using a Social Work lens to examine these problems, the Licensed Independent Social Worker brings a specific skillset and knowledge base to bear on these mental health issues. By helping the client to see the root causes of their emotional pains and resolve them, the LISW facilitates the client in reclaiming their own personal power and overcoming their perceived limitations in order to fully harness their maximum potential as a human being. This process can be profoundly liberating for the client and can result in nothing short of tremendously life changing experiences. The Licensed Independent Social Worker can decide to practice with a general clientele or they may choose to focus on a particular sub-group within the greater population to become a specialist in their field. For example, some LISW’s choose to work with geriatric populations to help them with their unique set of mental health issues.

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How this Job is a Service to Society

The services provided by a Licensed Independent Social Worker have a real and concrete impact on the lives of those undergoing therapy. The individual is able to see how it is behavioral patterns that tend to pivot around unresolved emotional pain that are causing limitations in their lives and sapping their potential. By working with clients to use a strength based approach, the Licensed Independent Social Worker empowers the client to make radical changes in their lives that net immediate results. The client is then able to see that they have always had the power to make critical changes in their lives and that they are free to pursue a way of life that is rewarding, fulfilling and free. This can have a profoundly transformative impact on the lives of clients as well as their loved ones and co-workers.

Impact on Society

Like many careers that focus on the individual the macro effect of the work of the Licensed Independent Social Worker may seem elusive. However, a closer examination will show that over the course of the practice of the LISW, a staggering number of people have their lives touched and transformed in a profoundly positive way. As those who have completed their therapy return to their home and professional lives, they create a ripple effect of positivity that spreads out from them to touch everyone in their lives. This not only makes those around them happier it also helps to act as a catalyst for change in the lives of people they know which in turn causes society to function at a much higher level and has impacts that may be unseen, but are surely felt.

Range of Salaries for this Job

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics spends a great deal of time and effort to compile the most accurate database of salaries for the US in a variety of jobs. The BLS shows that the mean annual wage of the Licensed Independent Social Worker is between: $44,670 and $86,030. This rather broad range is due to a variety of factors which will modify ones expected wages such as education, tenure and locale in which one works.

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

In order to begin the journey towards licensure as an LISW, you will first need to acquire your Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. While it is possible you will be accepted into a Master’s program with a highly related Social Science degree, it is a wise decision to earn your BSW if you are able to do so. Once you have your BSW, you will want to find a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) program in an area you like with a degree concentration that makes sense given your occupational aspirations. This might vary depending on the individual so be sure to research your options thoroughly. Click on your state name for more information on MSW programs in your state.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Licensed Social Workers reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed May 2023.