What is a Licensed Master Social Worker?

Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) are trained professionals that provide mental health counseling.  As part of their training, LMSWs also study social policies and are well versed in social justice. They can work in a variety of different settings including in a private practice as a psychotherapist or in a non-profit/public policy organization as a change agent or case manager for underserved populations.

What do they do?

One of the main goals of an LMSW is to better an individual’s quality of life by working within a biopsychosocial model and a strengths-based perspective. They often work with a client’s strengths rather pointing out their problems. Through psychotherapy, social workers can assist their clients seek better outcomes and improve their mental health.

When an LMSW first gets a new client, he or she will try to assess the client’s current life situation and diagnose any mental health problems if applicable. Then the social worker will try to develop a plan to improve the client’s life and monitor his or her progress. This usually involves referring the client to more services and facilities.

How are they trained?

To become a Licensed Master Social Worker, a person would have to obtain a Master’s of Social Work degree. Students in a social work program take courses in social welfare policy, human behavior, and social services. Additionally, these graduate school programs include exposure to supervised clinical experience. LMSWs can take their licensing exam immediately after graduation.

What’s the difference between an LMSW and an LCSW?

Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) perform much of the same job responsibilities. The main difference between the two are that LCSWs can have their own private practice and supervise Licensed Master Social Workers. An LMSW is the first step in becoming an LCSW. Individuals interested in pursuing this have to complete continuing education credits, obtain between 2000 and 3000 supervised clinical hours and take an additional licensing exam.