practice makes licensed There are lots of ways to structure your preparation for the social work licensing exam. Learning everything there is to know about social work is one way to go (memorizing The Social Work Dictionary, the DSM, all your MSW textbooks...). But that's not recommended. It would take nearly forever, and there's only so much information you can realistically retain. Better to find a way to get acquainted in a general way with what you might actually expect to see on the exam.

The exam aims to make certain that licensed social workers know their way around the requirements of the profession. So, what are those requirements? The NASW Code of Ethics has a lot to say about that. Knowing your way around the code is a great way to get exam-ready. Here's another: Take a look at the NASW Standards for the Practice of Clinical Social Work. Here--bullet-pointed below--are the basic building blocks of clinical social work practice. Links go to explanations from NASW. If any of these standards reads as alien to you, then dig into the textbooks.

  • Standard 1. Clinical social workers shall function in accordance with the ethics and the stated standards of the profession, including its accountability procedures.
  • Standard 2. Clinical social workers shall have and continue to develop specialized knowledge and understanding of individuals, families, and groups and of therapeutic and preventive interventions.
  • Standard 3. Clinical social workers shall respond in a professional manner to all persons who seek their assistance.
  • Standard 4. Clinical social workers shall be knowledgeable about the services available in the community and make appropriate referrals for their clients.
  • Standard 5. Clinical social workers shall maintain their accessibility to clients.
  • Standard 6. Clinical social workers shall safeguard the confidential nature of the treatment relationship and of the information obtained within that relationship.
  • Standard 7. Clinical social workers shall maintain access to professional case consultation.
  • Standard 8. Clinical social workers shall establish and maintain professional offices and procedures.
  • Standard 9. Clinical social workers shall represent themselves to the public with accuracy.
  • Standard 10. Social workers shall engage in the independent private practice of clinical social work only when qualified to do so.
  • Standard 11. Clinical social workers shall have the right to establish an independent private practice.

Chances are, you already get this basic, social work stuff--just like you'll know the basic, social work stuff that comes up on the exam. Good luck!

For realistic practice exams covering the above and much more, sign up!

August 20, 2014