Careers in the Licensed Professions

Licensed Social Worker

Social Worker Print ProfilePDF

Social workers help individuals and groups with mental disorders, family difficulties, addictions, community issues, and more. New York licenses two types of social workers: Licensed master social workers (LMSWs) and Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs). The LMSW is the initial master’s level degree for the profession and is required to provide clinical social work services under supervision. LCSWs can perform the functions of a LMSW, diagnose patients, and perform other clinical services without supervision. Examples of activities:

  • assess clients, develop treatment plans, and evaluate progress
  • identify resources and advocate for clients
  • provide direct services such as counseling and case management
  • engage in research, analysis and community organization


LMSW: master’s degree in social work, acceptable to the Department. LCSW: MSW degree, acceptable to the Department with at least 12 credits of clinical coursework. Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.  


LMSW: no post-MSW experience required. LCSW: 36 months and 2,000 client contact hours of supervised experience in post-LMSW diagnosis, psychotherapy, and assessment-based treatment planning.


LMSW: “Masters” examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). LCSW: ASWB "Clinical" examination.




Salary and Projected Growth

  • Salary range: $37,490-$77,590
  • Projected growth: average to faster than average

Where Could I Work?

  • Social assistance agencies and charitable organizations
  • Health settings: hospitals, mental health and residential facilities, homes
  • Health program administration
  • Education, research, and government

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Human development/behavior
  • Cultural competency
  • Knowledge of mental health issues and treatments
  • Case management

Professional Skills

  • Concern for others
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Communication

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a licensed social worker about what they do and how they got started!

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Last Updated: January 14, 2020