This blog is a place where fellow colleagues can go to obtain research, read articles, gain insight, laugh a little and find useful tools and tips. I love discussion and want to hear your opinion as well, whether it supports or challenges the posted view. The field of social work is not a walk in the park, and we need the support of others to make it through.
I am a Military Spouse who has had 12 years of experience learning how to juggle a career while moving every few years. I have experience in School Social Work, Private Practice, Community Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Hospital Social Work, Hospice and Home Health. I hold both a Master's and Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in Trauma.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Military Spousal Licensing
If you are a military family or know a military family personally, you are probably familiar with the term "PCS." This stands for "Permanent Change of Station" and the nuts and bolts of it mean, ya gotta move. What begins as a phone call from a detailer, moves swiftly into research of your new state and city. After that the spouse begins to see what it takes to apply for licensure in his/her new state. While not all spouses work in licensed fields, this is a very real problem for many. Most states do not offer reciprocity for Licensed Clinical Social Workers. So what this means is that the spouse is then forced to apply for a new license (typically by endorsement). Each state has their own rules and regulations for licensure, not to mention fees that add up very quickly for sending test scores, license verifications and application fees. This becomes a very lofty task ON TOP of moving. Oh and did I mention that this happens every 1-3 years for most military families??
Proudly wearing the title of "Military Spouse" puts me right in the thick of this as we have just PCS'ed. I hold a current licensed in my departing state and have begun the arduous task of applying for licensure by endorsement in my new state. There are also non monetary "costs" such as being unable to apply to jobs until the new license is in hand and the hours that are spent trying to navigate through the new state's laws and rules. Finally, waiting with baited breath to see if the new state will accept everything without having to do additional supervision or classes.
On July 1st, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced that all 50 states have taken action on licensing for Military Spouses. This is a follow up from an initiative they began in 2011. You can read more about it here. I love what they have set out to do and the potential benefits for the future. Looking at this map, you can see the legislature and action that each state has already put into place. The downfalls I can see are that the legislature is not listed specific to a licensed occupation or a specific benefit. This makes it very difficult to tell what benefits there are to help support military spouses who are transitioning to a new state.
While this may affect military spouses more often than the general population, this is a very real problem for all licensed social workers and other mental health professionals. We almost become locked into the state we are in because of the differing requirements for licensure. Even with a national board and exam (for social workers it is the ACSW), the state variances for licensure are great.
This begs to ask the question, if there is a national exam for licensing clinical social workers, why can there not be a national standard for licensure?