The LMSW stands for a Licensed Master's Level Social Worker. Social workers with this type of licensure have earned a MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited school, thus demonstrating the ability to meet all performance and ethical standards of the social work profession.

LMSW Licensure: Steps and Requirements

Salary

In general, social workers who hold a higher licensure will earn more money than those with a lower licensure.
According to the NASW, social workers with a MSW made $13,000 more per year than those with a BSW in 2017. In addition, social workers who work in hospitals and other medical settings usually hold the highest salaries across the social work profession.

The salary of a social worker varies, depending on numerous factors, such as state, years of experience, license level, and occupation. After taking all of these factors into account, social workers with a LMSW license can expect to earn a salary of anywhere between $45,000 and $85,000 per year.

Some FAQs about LMSW Licensure

What is the exact definition of the LMSW?

The LMSW stands for a Licensed Master’s Level Social Worker. Social workers with this type of licensure have earned a MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited school, thus demonstrating the ability to meet all performance and ethical standards of the social work profession. Those with an LMSW are extremely familiar with the values and ethics of the field, possess numerous general social work and clinical skills, and have had some experience in the field through the field placements completed during their graduate programs.

How long does it take to get a LMSW?

Since no post-MSW experience is required to take the LMSW examination, individuals can apply to take the LMSW examination immediately after graduating from their MSW programs.

It is important to note that the approval and registration process to take the examination may take between several weeks and a few months.

What jobs can you get with a LMSW?

There are numerous jobs that social workers can have with an LMSW. In general, the most significant restriction in terms of employment is that those with an LMSW are unable to provide psychotherapy treatment without the supervision of an LCSW. Other restrictions may exist, depending on the jurisdiction in which a social worker is licensed in.

Examples of jobs that a social worker with a LMSW license may have include:

  • Outpatient or In-Home Therapist
  • Medical Social Worker
  • School Social Worker
  • Child Protection Social Worker
  • Macro practice/ policy practice

Additionally, some states allow social workers with a LMSW license to provide substance use treatment under the supervision of a LCSW, whereas other states require additional licensure, such as a LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor), to provide substance use treatment.

Is an LMSW a therapist?

An LMSW can provide psychotherapy with individuals, families, and/or groups, as long as the individual is working under the consistent supervision of an LCSW or other advanced clinical social work license equivalent. Social workers with an LMSW may work as therapists in outpatient mental health agencies, inpatient facilities, schools, and other larger institutions.

Can LMSWs have a private practice?

Social workers with LMSWs are not licensed to provide therapy in private practice. In order to be able to work in a private practice, social workers must accumulate a specified number of clinical hours under the supervision of a LCSW (determined by jurisdiction) and apply to obtain an LCSW.