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New Hampshire Social Work Licensing Requirements

With a population of 1.3 million, the New England state of New Hampshire was home to 1,390 social workers as of May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1,2 The organization that regulates social worker licensure in New Hampshire is the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice. To find out more about becoming a social worker in New Hampshire, continue reading below.

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How to Become a Social Worker in New Hampshire

Educational Paths

You are not required to hold a license to practice general non-clinical social work in New Hampshire Many employers prefer candidates for these positions who hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW). The minimum degree required for those planning to become licensed as social workers in New Hampshire is a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from a program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Continue reading to learn more about these two degree options.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is a good first step to practicing social work in New Hampshire. With a BSW, you can apply for entry-level jobs in social work that do not require clinical knowledge. Most BSW degrees take four years to complete full-time; coursework focuses on an overview of the field, social welfare policy, and program development. Earning a BSW from a program accredited by the CSWE can signal to potential employers that you are prepared to practice general social work. There are currently two CSWE-accredited BSW programs in New Hampshire.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The minimum degree required for licensure in New Hampshire is a master’s in social work (MSW), which usually takes two years to complete. However, if you hold a BSW, you may qualify for “advanced standing” in an MSW program, allowing you to complete it in one year. To become licensed in New Hampshire, you must earn your MSW from a CSWE-accredited program that includes clinical training. There is currently one school in New Hampshire with an accredited MSW program. However, a CSWE-accredited MSW from any state will be accepted by the Board. MSW coursework is generally more advanced and specialized than BSW coursework and includes a fieldwork component allowing students to earn in-person social work experience.

Steps for Becoming a Licensed Social Worker in New Hampshire

Unlike most other states, New Hampshire does not require a license for the practice of non-clinical social work. Therefore, the Board offers only one license: the Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). Continue reading to learn more about the steps required to become an LICSW in the state.

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)

To practice clinical social work in New Hampshire, you must become licensed as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). For this, you must first complete a master’s in social work (MSW) from a CSWE-accredited program or a doctoral degree in social work (DSW). The following sections describe the steps of applying for licensure after you hold this degree.

1. Accumulate the required experience.

The first step to becoming a clinical social worker in New Hampshire is to obtain at least 3,000 hours of post-graduate supervised experience in clinical social work in no fewer than two and no more than four years. During this time, you must be supervised by a Board-approved LICSW and receive a total of 100 hours of supervision (no less than one hour per week). Before beginning your supervised experience, you must submit a supervision agreement form to the Board along with a $25 fee (as of February 2019).

2. Pass the ASWB Clinical exam.

At any time after your supervision agreement is approved by the Board, you can request permission to take the ASWB Clinical exam, which is required for LICSW licensure. To receive permission to register, submit the exam request form to the Board. Once they have approved your request, you can register for and take the 170-question Clinical exam, which costs $260 as of February 2019.

3. Submit your application to the Board.

After you have completed the required experience and passed the ASWB exam, you will need to submit an LICSW application to the Board. Parts of this application must be completed by your clinical supervisor(s) to verify your experience. You must also provide three professional references, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and a sealed criminal background report for any state in which you have lived or been licensed during the past five years. As of February 2019, you must also pay an application fee of $150.

4. Receive your LICSW license from the Board.

After the Board reviews your application and determines that you have met all requirements for licensure, they will grant your LICSW license. To receive it, you will need to pay an additional fee of $135 (as of February 2019).

Social Work License Reciprocity in New Hampshire

New Hampshire does not offer licensure by reciprocity or endorsement. Those who are licensed in another state will need to complete the application process described above and provide verification of their current license using the form on the Board’s LICSW application. You do not have to repeat the ASWB Clinical exam if you have already passed it but will need to request that the ASWB send your scores to the Board.

Licensing Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Social work licenses must be renewed every two years in New Hampshire. As of February 2019, the LICSW renewal fee is $270. During each two-year renewal period, candidates must complete 40 hours of continuing education (CE). 30 of these hours must come from Category A activities, which include seminars and workshops by Board-approved organizations, graduate coursework, and peer-reviewed publications. Up to 10 credits can come from Category B activities, which include organized CE activities by organizations not approved by the Board. In addition to these requirements, at least six of an LICSW’s Category A hours must be related to ethics.

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New Hampshire Social Worker Jobs and Salary Information

As of May 2017, there were 1,390 social workers in New Hampshire, almost half of whom (620) worked in the subfield of healthcare social work.2 The average social work salary in the state is $59,183, and social workers in the “all other” category earn the highest average salary ($72,070).2 The number of social work positions in New Hampshire is expected to increase by 14.2% between 2016 and 2026.3 The highest growth is expected in the subfield of mental health and substance abuse social work (at 16.7%), followed closely by healthcare social work (at 15.4%).3

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 510 $51,150
Healthcare Social Workers 620 $61,790
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers 260 $51,720
Social Workers, All Other N/A* $72,070

*Figures not available.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.2

Social Work Associations in New Hampshire

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What degree do I need to be a social worker in New Hampshire?

Answer: In New Hampshire, you can practice general, non-clinical social work without a license, but many employers will expect you to hold a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW). To earn a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) license in New Hampshire, you must complete at least a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Question: How often do I need to renew my social work license?

Answer: LICSWs in New Hampshire must renew their licenses every two years. During that two year period, LICSWs will need to complete certain CE requirements to be eligible for renewal.

1. US Census Bureau Quick Facts, New Hampshire: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/nh
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New Hampshire: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nh.htm
3. Projections Central, Long Term Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm