Skip to main content

KVC Health Systems

We all need connection

The Alphabet Soup of Social Work Licensure

If you know any social workers or have viewed their LinkedIn profiles, you’ve seen different sets of letters after their names – L.S.W., L.C.S.W., L.M.S.W, etc. Does anyone really know what all those letters stand for?

Social workers use these letters to show that they have met certain professional requirements in order to obtain the credentials. Here are the four most common types of licensed social workers employed by KVC and what they mean*:

L.B.S.W. Licensed Bachelor Social Worker

  • An undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree in social work. L.B.S.W.s have references from an on-site practicum supervisor and two licensed social workers (bachelor level or above). They have also passed the Basic Level competency exam.

L.M.S.W.Licensed Master Social Worker

  • A graduate (master’s) degree in social work. L.M.S.W.s have references from an on-site practicum supervisor and two licensed social workers (master’s level or above). They have also passed the Intermediate competency exam.

L.C.S.W. – Licensed Clinical Social Worker

  • A graduate (master’s) degree in social work. L.C.S.W.s have accumulated supervised clinical hours with a licensed professional and passed the Licensure exam.

L.S.C.S.W.Licensed Specialized Clinical Social Worker

  • A graduate (master’s) degree in social work. L.S.C.S.W.s have references from a work supervisor and two licensed social workers (clinical level or above). They have also completed 4,000 hours of post-graduate supervised clinical work experience in a clinical setting and passed the Clinical competency exam.
*Requirements vary by state

KVC currently employs 380 licensed social workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of child and family social workers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Child and family social workers will be needed to work with families to strengthen parenting skills, prevent child abuse, and identify alternative homes for children who are unable to live with their biological families.

If you have a passion for helping children, teens and families, visit our careers page to join the innovative team at KVC!

Join the KVC Team - Help protect children and strengthen families.