Earning your clinical license opens up a world of possibilities, so you want to begin gaining hours as soon as possible. Regardless, the process can be confusing for the best of us. Throughout my years of providing IMF and ASW supervision, there are certain questions that I’m asked on a regular basis. Here’s a nice compilation of many of these inquiries, as well as one vital tidbit that is often overlooked:
I have all of my hours, but I’ve been putting off the exam for months/years. Is there a timeline?
So, there are a couple of key points to remember:
The 6-Year Rule-
You can spend 10+ years earning IMF/ASW supervision hours, however, the only ones that count are the ones accrued during the last 6 years.
Abandonment of Application-
You don’t want this to happen! The consequences of abandonment can range from paying a new application fee to starting from square one. Per the BBS website, the criteria for abandonment are the following:
- Intern does not submit the remaining documents or information requested in the application deficiency letter within one (1) year from the date of the deficiency letter
- Applicant does not complete the application within one (1) year after it has been filed
- Applicant does not sit for an examination within one (1) year after being notified of initial eligibility to take the examination
- Applicant does not take an examination within one (1) year from the date the applicant was notified of failing an examination
- The applicant fails to pay the initial license fee within one (1) year after notification by the Board of successful completion of ASW requirements.
I’d like to obtain my IMF/ASW supervision through video conferencing. Am I eligible?
Per the California Business and Professions Code section 4996.23 videoconferencing can be used for intern supervision when an intern works/volunteers at one of the following:
- Any government entity
- A school, college, or university
- An agency that is both charitable and non-profit. You can find out if your workplace meets these criteria by checking if they are considered a ‘501(c)(3); by the IRS
The IMF/PCCI/ASW supervisor is responsible for ensuring client confidentiality, including a HIPAA compliant platform for video sessions. Skype is not HIPAA compliant, but there are other programs that are- your supervisor should be able to tell you what platform they are using and how they know it’s in line with privacy regulations.
My hours are complete, and my exam is scheduled! Am I still required to maintain weekly supervision?
Until you have your license in hand, you want to complete an hour of individual or two-hours of group IMF/PCCI/ASW supervision.
Do I really have to sit for the Law and Ethics exam? Is this something I need to retake annually until I earn my license?
Yes! There are no loopholes on this one- no matter how much training and classes you have taken.
Once you pass the Law and Ethics exam, you have completed your requirement as long as you keep your license active. Get this done quickly, as you may not be able to complete your annual renewal without a passing score.
Which study guide do you recommend?
The majority of my interns recommend the Therapist Development Center (TDC) programs for both the exams. TDC not only provides materials on content but also test taking strategies that will help IMF/PCCI/ASW interns approach the exams in a logical and educated manner.
When can I start collecting hours?
It’s exciting to finally earn your graduate degree, and you’re probably chomping at the bit to start collecting hours. Many have contacted me and said, ‘I’m waiting for my BBS number, but I want to start supervision this week!’
In this case, patience is the key. Don’t spend time and money on clinical supervision until you have that intern number in hand, as hours won’t count until then.
My former supervisor can’t be found. How can I verify my hours?
At the beginning of ASW intern supervision, it’s critical that you and your supervisor create and sign the following documents, all located on the BBS’s website.
- Supervisor Responsibility Statement
- Supervisory Plan
- Any letters of agreement or other documentation agreeing to the ASW Supervisor/ Intern relationship.
Just as important, discuss how you plan to document logged hours. I encourage all of my interns document their hours in detail and have me initial and sign it each month.
As soon as your time with each supervisor is complete, print out the Experience Verification Form and complete this together.
ASWs, IMFs, and PCCIs are fully responsible for all original paperwork. If you follow these guidelines, you will be in good shape if for any reason you can’t connect with your previous supervisor(s)
I am the only social worker/counselor at my job. How can I earn my hours if I don’t have aN Clinical supervisor at my agency?
There are a lot of IMF/PCCI/ASW interns in this position where clinical supervision is not readily available. Fortunately, your intern supervisor does not need to be employed by your agency.
If you are the lone ranger in your company, I recommend searching out group supervision to expand your support system, increase your exposure to new opportunities, and see what others in the field are doing. Several of my interns that were in group have helped connect one another to jobs, resources, and even have partnered in private practices!
There’s one question I’ve never been asked, but what everyone should know……
The 104- week rule
Several years ago, an ASW Intern I had been supervising for a year came to my office to get her last hours signed. She had been working with several supervisors throughout her time and worked hard to get her hours wrapped up as soon as possible, often putting in 60+ hours a week so that she could meet that 40-hour clinical max.
As we were finishing up her paperwork, we came to the realization that although she had easily met 3200 clinical hours, she was two months under the 104-week requirements. She was terribly disappointed, and we spent two more months getting those last few weeks in.
The story has a happy ending- Margaret Miller, LCSW now has a thriving private practice at my office- you can check her website out right here. So now you know- in addition to the 6-year window, interns have to meet a minimum of 104 weeks of ASW supervision, so expect to spend between 2-6 years gathering your experience.
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