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Licensure requirements
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18VAC140-20-40

Part II
Requirements for Licensure

18VAC140-20-40. Requirements for licensure by examination as a licensed clinical social worker.

Every applicant for examination for licensure as a licensed clinical social worker shall:

1. Meet the education requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-49 and experience requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-50.

2. Submit a completed application to the board office to include:

a. Documentation, on the appropriate forms, of the successful completion of the supervised experience requirements of 18VAC140-20-50 along with documentation of the supervisor's out-of-state license where applicable. Applicants whose former supervisor is deceased, or whose whereabouts is unknown, shall submit to the board a notarized affidavit from the present chief executive officer of the agency, corporation or partnership in which the applicant was supervised. The affidavit shall specify dates of employment, job responsibilities, supervisor's name and last known address, and the total number of hours spent by the applicant with the supervisor in face-to-face supervision;

b. The application fee prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30;

c. Official transcript or documentation submitted from the appropriate institutions of higher education that verifies successful completion of educational requirements set forth in 18VAC140-20-49; and

d. Documentation of applicant's out-of-state any other health or mental health licensure or certification where, if applicable; and

e. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).

3. Provide evidence of passage of the examination prescribed in 18VAC140-20-70. If the examination was not passed within five years preceding application for licensure, the applicant may qualify by documentation of providing clinical social work services in an exempt setting for at least 360 hours per year for two of the past five years.

18VAC140-20-45

18VAC140-20-45. Requirements for licensure by endorsement.

A. Every applicant for licensure by endorsement shall submit in one package:

1. A completed application and the application fee prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30.

2. Documentation of active social work licensure in good standing obtained by standards required for licensure in another jurisdiction as verified by the out-of-state licensing agency on a board-approved form. Licensure in the other jurisdiction shall be of a comparable type as the licensure that the applicant is seeking in Virginia.

3. Verification of a passing score on a board-approved national exam at the level for which the applicant is seeking licensure in Virginia.

4. Documentation of any other health or mental health licensure or certification, if applicable.

5. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).

4. 6. Verification of active:

a. Active practice at the level for which the applicant is seeking licensure in another United States jurisdiction or practice for 24 out of the past 60 months;

b. Active practice in an exempt setting at the level for which the applicant is seeking licensure for 36 24 out of the past 60 months; or evidence

c. Evidence of supervised experience requirements substantially equivalent to those outlined in 18VAC140-20-50 A 2 and A 3 and 18VAC140-20-60 C 2 and C 3.

5. 7. Certification that the applicant is not the respondent in any pending or unresolved board action in another jurisdiction or in a malpractice claim.

B. If an applicant for licensure by endorsement has not passed a board-approved national examination at the level for which the applicant is seeking licensure in Virginia, the board may approve the applicant to sit for such examination.

18VAC140-20-50

18VAC140-20-50. Experience requirements for a licensed clinical social worker.

A. Supervised experience. Supervised post-master's degree experience in all settings obtained in Virginia without prior written board approval will not be accepted toward licensure, except supervision obtained in another United States jurisdiction may be accepted if it met the requirements of that jurisdiction.

1. Registration. An individual who proposes to obtain supervised post-master's degree experience in Virginia shall, prior to the onset of such supervision:

a. Register on a form provided by the board and completed by the supervisor and the supervised individual; and

b. Pay the registration of supervision fee set forth in 18VAC140-20-30.

2. Hours. The applicant shall have completed a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised post-master's degree experience in the delivery of clinical social work services and in ancillary services that support such delivery. A minimum of one hour and a maximum of four hours of face-to-face supervision shall be provided per 40 hours of work experience for a total of at least 100 hours. No more than 50 of the 100 hours may be obtained in group supervision, nor shall there be more than six persons being supervised in a group unless approved in advance by the board. The board may consider alternatives to face-to-face supervision if the applicant can demonstrate an undue burden due to hardship, disability or geography.

a. Experience Supervised experience shall be acquired in no less than two nor more than four consecutive years.

b. Supervisees shall average no less than 15 hours per 40 hours of work experience in face-to-face client contact for obtain throughout their hours of supervision a minimum of 1,380 hours of supervised experience in face-to-face client contact in the delivery of clinical social work services. The remaining hours may be spent in ancillary services supporting the delivery of clinical social work services.

3. An individual who does not complete the supervision requirement after four consecutive years of supervised experience shall submit evidence to the board showing why the training should be allowed to continue may request an extension of up to 12 months.  The request for an extension shall include evidence that demonstrates extenuating circumstances that prevented completion of the supervised experience within four consecutive years.

B. Requirements for supervisors.

1. The supervisor shall hold an active, unrestricted license as a licensed clinical social worker in the jurisdiction in which the clinical services are being rendered with at least three two years of post-licensure clinical social work experience. The board may consider supervisors with commensurate qualifications if the applicant can demonstrate an undue burden due to geography or disability or if supervision was obtained in another United States jurisdiction.

2. The supervisor shall have received professional training in supervision, consisting of a three credit-hour graduate course in supervision or at least 14 hours of continuing education offered by a provider approved under 18VAC140-20-105. The graduate course or hours of continuing education in supervision shall be obtained by a supervisor within five years immediately preceding registration of supervision.

3. The supervisor shall not provide supervision for a family member of his immediate family or provide supervision for anyone with whom he has a dual relationship.

4. The board may consider supervisors from jurisdictions outside of Virginia who provided clinical social work supervision if they have commensurate qualifications but were either (i) not licensed because their jurisdiction did not require licensure or (ii) were not designated as clinical social workers because the jurisdiction did not require such designation.

C. Responsibilities of supervisors. The supervisor shall:

1. Be responsible for the social work activities of the supervisee as set forth in this subsection once the supervisory arrangement is accepted;

2. Review and approve the diagnostic assessment and treatment plan of a representative sample of the clients assigned to the applicant during the course of supervision. The sample should be representative of the variables of gender, age, diagnosis, length of treatment and treatment method within the client population seen by the applicant. It is the applicant's responsibility to assure the representativeness of the sample that is presented to the supervisor;

3. Provide supervision only for those social work activities for which the supervisor has determined the applicant is competent to provide to clients;

4. Provide supervision only for those activities for which the supervisor is qualified by education, training and experience;

5. Evaluate the supervisee's knowledge and document minimal competencies in the areas of an identified theory base, application of a differential diagnosis, establishing and monitoring a treatment plan, development and appropriate use of the professional relationship, assessing the client for risk of imminent danger, understanding the requirements of law for reporting any harm or risk of harm to self or others, and implementing a professional and ethical relationship with clients;

6. Be available to the applicant on a regularly scheduled basis for supervision; and

7. Maintain documentation, for five years post-supervision, of which clients were the subject of supervision; and

8. Ensure that the board is notified of any change in supervision or if supervision has ended or been terminated by the supervisor.

D. Responsibilities of supervisees.

1. Supervisees may not directly bill for services rendered or in any way represent themselves as independent, autonomous practitioners, or licensed clinical social workers.

2. During the supervised experience, supervisees shall use their names and the initials of their degree, and the title "Supervisee in Social Work" in all written communications.

3. Clients shall be informed in writing of the supervisee's status and the supervisor's name, professional address, and phone number.

4. Supervisees shall not supervise the provision of clinical social work services provided by another person.

18VAC140-20-51

18VAC140-20-51. Requirements for licensure by examination as a licensed social worker.

A. In order to be approved to sit for the board-approved examination for a licensed social worker, an applicant shall:

1. Meet the education requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-60 A.

2. Submit a completed application to the board office to include:

a. The application fee prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30; and

b. Official transcript or transcripts submitted from the appropriate institutions of higher education.

B. In order to be licensed by examination as a licensed social worker, an applicant shall:

1. Meet the education and experience requirements prescribed in 18VAC140-20-60; and

2. Submit, in addition to the application requirements of subsection A of this section, the following:

a. Documentation, on the appropriate forms, of the successful completion of the supervised experience requirements of 18VAC140-20-60 along with documentation of the supervisor's out-of-state license where applicable. An applicant whose former supervisor is deceased, or whose whereabouts is unknown, shall submit to the board a notarized affidavit from the present chief executive officer of the agency, corporation or partnership in which the applicant was supervised. The affidavit shall specify dates of employment, job responsibilities, supervisor's name and last known address, and the total number of hours spent by the applicant with the supervisor in face-to-face supervision;

b. Verification of a passing score on the board-approved national examination; and

c. Documentation of applicant's out-of-state any other health or mental health licensure or certification where, if applicable; and

d. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).

3. Provide evidence of passage of the examination prescribed in 18VAC140-20-70. If the examination was not passed within five years preceding application for licensure, the applicant may qualify by documentation of providing social work services in an exempt setting for at least 360 hours per year for two of the past five years.

18VAC140-20-60

18VAC140-20-60. Education and experience requirements for a licensed social worker.

A. Education. The applicant shall hold a bachelor's or a master's degree from an accredited school of social work. Graduates of foreign institutions must establish the equivalency of their education to this requirement through the Foreign Equivalency Determination Service of the Council on Social Work Education.

B. Master's degree applicant. An applicant who holds a master's degree may apply for licensure as a licensed social worker without documentation of supervised experience.

C. Bachelor's degree applicant Supervised experience requirement. Supervised experience in all settings obtained in Virginia without prior written board approval will not be accepted toward licensure, except supervision obtained in another United States jurisdiction may be accepted if it met the requirements of that jurisdiction.

1. Registration. Prior to the onset of supervision, an individual who proposes to obtain supervised experience in Virginia shall:

a. Register on a form provided by the board and completed by the supervisor and the supervised individual; and

b. Pay the registration of supervision fee set forth in 18VAC140-20-30.

1. 2. Hours. Bachelor's degree applicants shall have completed a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised post-bachelor's degree experience in casework management and supportive services under supervision satisfactory to the board. A minimum of one hour and a maximum of four hours of face-to-face supervision shall be provided per 40 hours of work experience for a total of at least 100 hours.

2. Experience 3. Supervised experience shall be acquired in no less than two nor more than four consecutive years from the beginning of the supervised experience. An individual who does not complete the supervision requirement after four consecutive years of supervised experience may request an extension of up to 12 months. The request for an extension shall include evidence that demonstrates extenuating circumstances that prevented completion of the supervised experience within four consecutive years.

D. Requirements for supervisors.

1. The supervisor providing supervision shall hold an active, unrestricted license as a licensed social worker with a master's degree, or a licensed social worker with a bachelor's degree and at least three years of post-licensure social work experience or a licensed clinical social worker in the jurisdiction in which the social work services are being rendered. If this requirement places an undue burden on the applicant due to geography or disability, the board may consider individuals with comparable qualifications.

2. The supervisor shall:

a. Be responsible for the social work practice of the prospective applicant once the supervisory arrangement is accepted by the board;

b. Review and approve the assessment and service plan of a representative sample of cases assigned to the applicant during the course of supervision. The sample should be representative of the variables of gender, age, assessment, length of service and casework method within the client population seen by the applicant. It is the applicant's responsibility to assure the representativeness of the sample that is presented to the supervisor. The supervisor shall be available to the applicant on a regularly scheduled basis for supervision. The supervisor will maintain documentation, for five years post supervision, of which clients were the subject of supervision;

c. Provide supervision only for those casework management and support services activities for which the supervisor has determined the applicant is competent to provide to clients;

d. Provide supervision only for those activities for which the supervisor is qualified; and

e. Evaluate the supervisee in the areas of professional ethics and professional competency; and

f. Ensure that the board is notified of any change in supervision or if the supervision has ended or has been terminated by the supervisor.

3. Supervision between members of the immediate family (to include spouses, parents, and siblings) will not be approved The supervisor shall not provide supervision for a family member or provide supervision for anyone with whom the supervisor has a dual relationship.

18VAC140-20-70

Part III
Examinations

18VAC140-20-70. Examination requirement.

A. An applicant for licensure by the board as a social worker or clinical social worker shall pass a written examination prescribed by the board.

1. The examination prescribed for licensure as a clinical social worker shall be the licensing examination of the Association of Social Work Boards at the clinical level.

2. The examination prescribed for licensure as a social worker shall minimally be the licensing examination of the Association of Social Work Boards at the bachelor's level.

B. A candidate approved by the board to sit for an examination shall take that examination within two years of the date of the initial board approval. If the candidate has not passed the examination by the end of the two-year period here prescribed, the applicant shall reapply according to the requirements of the regulations in effect at that time. After an applicant has failed the examination twice, he shall be required to register for supervision and complete one additional year as a supervisee before approval to re-take the examination is granted.

18VAC140-20-110

18VAC140-20-110. Late renewal; reinstatement; reactivation.

A. A social worker or clinical social worker whose license has expired may renew that license within one year after its expiration date by:

1. Providing evidence of having met all applicable continuing education requirements.

2. Paying the penalty for late renewal and the renewal fee as prescribed in 18VAC140-20-30.

B. A social worker or clinical social worker who fails to renew the license after one year and who wishes to resume practice shall apply for reinstatement and pay the reinstatement fee, which shall consist of the application processing fee and the penalty fee for late renewal, as set forth in 18VAC140-20-30. An applicant for reinstatement shall also provide documentation of having completed all applicable continued competency hours equal to the number of years the license has lapsed, not to exceed four years. An applicant for reinstatement shall also provide evidence of competency to practice by documenting:

1. Active practice in another U.S. United States jurisdiction for at least three of the past five years 24 out of the past 60 months immediately preceding application;

2. Active practice in an exempt setting for at least three of the past five years 24 out of the past 60 months immediately preceding application; or

3. Practice as a supervisee under supervision for at least 360 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding licensure in Virginia.

C. A social worker or clinical social worker wishing to reactivate an inactive license shall submit the renewal fee for active licensure minus any fee already paid for inactive licensure renewal, and document completion of continued competency hours equal to the number of years the license has been inactive, not to exceed four years. An applicant for reactivation who has been inactive for four or more years shall also provide evidence of competency to practice by documenting:

1. Active practice in another U.S. United States jurisdiction for at least three of the past five years 24 out of the past 60 months immediately preceding application;

2. Active practice in an exempt setting for at least three of the past five years 24 out of the past 60 months immediately preceding application; or

3. Practice as a supervisee under supervision for at least 360 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding licensure in Virginia.

18VAC140-20-150

Part V
Standards of Practice

18VAC140-20-150. Professional conduct.

A. The protection of the public health, safety, and welfare and the best interest of the public shall be the primary guide in determining the appropriate professional conduct of all persons whose activities are regulated by the board. Regardless of the delivery method, whether in person, by telephone or electronically, these standards shall apply to the practice of social work.

B. Persons licensed as social workers and clinical social workers shall:

1. Be able to justify all services rendered to or on behalf of clients as necessary for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

2. Provide for continuation of care when services must be interrupted or terminated.

3. Practice only within the competency areas for which they are qualified by education and experience.

4. Report to the board known or suspected violations of the laws and regulations governing the practice of social work.

5. Neither accept nor give commissions, rebates, or other forms of remuneration for referral of clients for professional services.

6. Ensure that clients are aware of fees and billing arrangements before rendering services.

7. Inform clients of potential risks and benefits of services and the limitations on confidentiality and ensure that clients have provided informed written consent to treatment.

8. Keep confidential their therapeutic relationships with clients and disclose client records to others only with written consent of the client, with the following exceptions: (i) when the client is a danger to self or others; or (ii) as required by law.

9. When advertising their services to the public, ensure that such advertising is neither fraudulent nor misleading.

10. As treatment requires and with the written consent of the client, collaborate with other health or mental health providers concurrently providing services to the client.

11. Refrain from undertaking any activity in which one's personal problems are likely to lead to inadequate or harmful services.

12. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

C. In regard to client records, persons licensed by the board shall comply with provisions of § 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia on health records privacy and shall:

1. Maintain written or electronic clinical records for each client to include identifying information and assessment that substantiates diagnosis and treatment plans. Each record shall include a diagnosis and treatment plan, progress notes for each case activity, information received from all collaborative contacts and the treatment implications of that information, and the termination process and summary.

2. Maintain client records securely, inform all employees of the requirements of confidentiality, and provide for the destruction of records that are no longer useful in a manner that ensures client confidentiality.

3. Disclose or release records to others only with clients' expressed written consent or that of their legally authorized representative or as mandated by law.

4. Ensure confidentiality in the usage of client records and clinical materials by obtaining informed consent from clients or their legally authorized representative before (i) videotaping, (ii) audio recording, (iii) permitting third-party observation, or (iv) using identifiable client records and clinical materials in teaching, writing or public presentations.

5. Maintain client records for a minimum of six years or as otherwise required by law from the date of termination of the therapeutic relationship with the following exceptions:

a. At minimum, records of a minor child shall be maintained for six years after attaining the age of majority or 10 years following termination, whichever comes later.

b. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law to be maintained for a longer period of time.

c. Records that have been transferred to another mental health professional or have been given to the client or his legally authorized representative.

D. In regard to dual relationships, persons licensed by the board shall:

1. Not engage in a dual relationship with a client or a former client supervisee that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of exploitation or harm to the client or supervisee. (Examples of such a relationship include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, bartering, or a close personal relationship with a client or supervisee.) Social workers shall take appropriate professional precautions when a dual relationship cannot be avoided, such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs.

2. Not have any type of romantic relationship or sexual intimacies with a client or those included in collateral therapeutic services, and not provide services to those persons with whom they have had a romantic or sexual relationship. Social workers shall not engage in romantic relationship or sexual intimacies with a former client within a minimum of five years after terminating the professional relationship. Social workers who engage in such a relationship after five years following termination shall have the responsibility to examine and document thoroughly that such a relationship did not have an exploitive nature, based on factors such as duration of therapy, amount of time since therapy, termination circumstances, client's personal history and mental status, adverse impact on the client. A client's consent to, initiation of or participation in sexual behavior or involvement with a social worker does not change the nature of the conduct nor lift the regulatory prohibition.

3. Not engage in any romantic or sexual relationship or establish a therapeutic relationship with a current supervisee or student. Social workers shall avoid any nonsexual dual relationship with a supervisee or student in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the supervisee or student, or the potential for interference with the supervisor's professional judgment.

4. Recognize conflicts of interest and inform all parties of the nature and directions of loyalties and responsibilities involved.

5. Not engage in a personal relationship with a former client in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm or if the former client continues to relate to the social worker in his professional capacity.

E. Upon learning of evidence that indicates a reasonable probability that another mental health provider is or may be guilty of a violation of standards of conduct as defined in statute or regulation, persons licensed by the board shall advise their clients of their right to report such misconduct to the Department of Health Professions in accordance with § 54.1-2400.4 of the Code of Virginia.

18VAC140-20-160

18VAC140-20-160. Grounds for disciplinary action or denial of issuance of a license or registration.

The board may refuse to admit an applicant to an examination; refuse to issue a license or registration to an applicant; or reprimand, impose a monetary penalty, place on probation, impose such terms as it may designate, suspend for a stated period of time or indefinitely, or revoke a license or registration for one or more of the following grounds:

1. Conviction of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

2. Procurement of license by fraud or misrepresentation;

3. Conducting one's practice in such a manner so as to make the practice a danger to the health and welfare of one's clients or to the public. In the event a question arises concerning the continued competence of a licensee, the board will consider evidence of continuing education.

4. Being unable to practice social work with reasonable skill and safety to clients by reason of illness, excessive use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals or any other type of material or as a result of any mental or physical condition;

5. Conducting one's practice in a manner contrary to the standards of ethics of social work or in violation of 18VAC140-20-150, standards of practice;

6. Performing functions outside the board-licensed area of competency;

7. Failure to comply with the continued competency requirements set forth in 18VAC140-20-105; and

8. Violating or aiding and abetting another to violate any statute applicable to the practice of social work or any provision of this chapter; and

9. Failure to provide supervision in accordance with the provisions of 18VAC140-20-50 or 18VAC140-20-60.