Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW) Requirements

If you use the title ‘social worker’ or represent yourself as a social worker, you must apply for certification. Social work practice or the practice of social work is the professional activity of helping individuals, groups, and families or larger systems such as organizations and communities to improve, restore, or enhance their capacities for personal and social functioning and the professional application of social work values, knowledge, principles, and methods. (Description Continued)

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burgandyball.jpg Applications
burgandyball.jpg Certificate Requirements and Application Process
burgandyball.jpg Continuing Education
burgandyball.jpg Examination
burgandyball.jpg Issuance and Processing Time
burgandyball.jpg Misdemeanor/Felony Convictions or Licensure Discipline
burgandyball.jpg Renewal
burgandyball.jpg Rules/Regulations/Statutes

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CMSW description continued....

  • A certified master social worker who only practices within the confines of the definition of social work is not required to also be licensed as a mental health practitioner. However, if you wish to provide mental health services and represent yourself as a social worker, you must hold both the mental health practice license and the certification as a social worker.
  • A person who is licensed as a mental health practitioner (LMHP) and certified as a master social worker (CMSW) may use the title licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

Social Work is defined as: the professional activity of helping individuals, groups, and families or larger systems such as organizations and communities to improve, restore, or enhance their capacities for personal and social functioning and the professional application of social work values, knowledge, principles, and methods in the following areas of practice:

  1. information, resource identification and development, and/or referral services;
  2. preparation and evaluation of psychosocial assessments and development of social work service plans;
  3. case management, coordination, and monitoring of social work service plans in the areas of personal, social, or economic resources, conditions, or problems;
  4. development, implementation, evaluation, and/or administration of social work programs and policies;
  5. supportive contacts to assist individuals and groups with personal adjustment to crisis, transition, economic changes, or a personal or family member's health condition, especially in the area of services given in hospitals, health clinics, home health agencies, schools, shelters for the homeless, shelters for the urgent care of victims of sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, or domestic violence, nursing homes, and correctional facilities;
  6. social casework for the prevention of psychosocial dysfunction, disability, or impairment; and
  7. social work research, consultation, and education.

Social work practice does not include:

  1. the measuring and testing of personality or intelligence;
  2. accepting fees or compensation for the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity of persons by drugs, surgery, or any manual or mechanical treatment whatsoever;
  3. prescribing drugs or electroconvulsive therapy; and
  4. treating organic diseases or major psychiatric diseases, except by an individual seeking to fulfill postgraduate requirements for licensure as a mental health practitioner under the supervision of a licensed qualified professional.

You may provide social work services without being licensed as a mental health practitioner providing you do not provide mental health services. Additionally, persons who provide the services specified under the social work scope do not have to be certified as long as they do not represent themselves as a social worker.

Be advised that if you plan to provide  Mental Health Services you must be:

  • Licensed as a Mental Health Practitioner;
  • Meet one of the exceptions delineated in statute (PDF File exceptions); or
  • Under supervision of a licensed mental health practitioner, licensed psychologist, or qualified physician and be in the process of obtaining the required post-master's experience (you must hold a provisional license in order to gain the post-masters experience towards licensure (provisional license page).

Provisional Certification as a Master Social Worker (PCMSW) is a person who needs to obtain the required three thousand hours of supervised experience in social work as specified in section PDF File Neb. Rev. Stat. § 38-2128 to qualify for certification as a master social worker shall obtain a provisional certification as a master social worker. Click here to view the requirements for a provisional certification.

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Certificate Requirements and Application Process

Initial Certification: (See PDF File 172 NAC 94-005.01)

To apply for an initial certificate, you must submit the completed PDF File application to:

Licensure Unit
PO Box 94986
Lincoln, NE 68509-4986

Reciprocity: (See PDF File 172 NAC 94-005.02) If you hold a master social work certificate (or certificate of similar title) in another state, you may apply for certification.

To apply for a certificate by reciprocity, you must submit the completed PDF File application to:

Licensure Unit
PO Box 94986
Lincoln, NE 68509-4986

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Issuance and Processing Time

If the PDF File application is complete, issuance of the certificate usually occurs within approximately 2 weeks. However, if you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction, or other circumstance that warrants further review, the Board of Mental Health Practice will review said application at their next regularly scheduled meeting. Click here to check schedule. By statute, the Department must act within 150 days upon receipt of a completed application for certificate.

If you meet all the requirements for a certificate within 90 days prior to the biennial renewal date, you may:

  1. Request that the Department delay the processing of the application and the issuance of the certificate until the biennial renewal date and pay only the fee for initial certification (you would not be able to practice until the renewal date); or
  2. Request that a certificate be issued immediately (which will be valid until the current renewal date) and pay the fee for initial certification and an additional fee of one-fourth of the biennial renewal fee.

Certification Expiration: All Master Social Work Certificates expire 9/1 of even-numbered years.

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Applications

These forms may be completed online, however, they cannot be submitted via e-mail due to the fact that all applications and forms require original signatures. If you complete the form online, you must print the form and mail it to the address listed.

All materials shall be submitted to Licensure Unit with fee payable to the Licensure Unit

Licensure Unit
PO Box 94986
Lincoln, NE 68509-4986

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Examination ( this does not apply to provisional certification)

To be certified, an applicant must have passed the Association of Social Work Boards Advanced or Clinical Examination, with a scaled score of 75.

  • The clinical examination must be taken if you are also applying for licensure as a mental health practitioner.
  • ASWB examination information, click PDF File here
  • To register for the test, click PDF File here

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Misdemeanor/Felony Convictions or Licensure Discipline

If you had a misdemeanor or felony conviction or had your license in any health care profession in another state revoked, suspended, limited or disciplined in any manner, you must request the following documents be sent directly to this office:

  • Official Court Record, which includes charges and disposition;
  • If the conviction involved a drug and/or alcohol related offense, all addiction/mental health evaluations and proof of treatment (if treatment was obtained and/or required);
  • If you are currently on probation, a letter from your probation officer addressing probationary conditions and your current status; and
  • If your license in health care in another state has been revoked, suspended, limited or disciplined in any way, an official copy of the disciplinary action, including charges and disposition.

NOTE: If you have any criminal charges or license disciplinary actions pending that results in conviction or license discipline, you are required to report such actions to this department within 30 days.

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Renewal ( this does not apply to provisional certification)

Expiration Date: All master social work certificates expire 9/1, of each even-numbered year. If you provide mental health practice services, you must renew your mental health practice license in order to renew the master social work certification.

Renewal Process:  See PDF File 172 NAC 94-010 through 94-014

A person who practices after expiration of his/her credential is subject to assessment of an administrative penalty fee of $10 per day up to $1000.

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Continuing Education ( this does not apply to provisional certification)

On or before 9/1 of each even-numbered year, each social worker who is in active practice in the State of Nebraska shall complete 32 hours of approved continuing education during the proceeding 24-month period.

Hours earned prior to this date will be not be acceptable; and hours earned in excess of the requirement may not be carried over for the next certificate renewal.

Effective 9/1/96, the Board of Mental Health Practice no longer approves continuing education offerings, but may accept as continuing education for certification renewal, learning experiences, provided they are planned and conducted for mental health practitioners and if they are related to mental health practice. Click PDF File here for the continuing education program requirements. (172 NAC 94-014)

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