The Department of Health licenses two types of social workers: independent clinical social workers and advanced social workers. To become licensed as either type of social worker, an applicant must have: (1) graduated from an approved master's or doctorate level social work educational program; (2) passed an approved examination; and (3) completed a supervised experience requirement.
The supervised experience requirement for independent clinical social workers consists of 4,000 hours of experience under an approved supervisor. At least 1,000 of those hours must have direct client contact and no more than 60 supervised hours may be completed through distance supervision.
The supervised experience requirement for advanced social workers consists of 3,200 hours of experience under an approved supervisor. At least 800 of those hours must have direct client contact and no more than 40 hours may be completed through distance supervision.
The limitations on the number of supervised experience hours that a person pursuing a license as an independent clinical social worker or advanced social worker may complete through distance supervision are removed.
The substitute bill removes the authority for independent clinical social workers to complete their supervised hours using distance learning. The restriction that limits advanced social workers to only 40 hours of supervised experience obtained through distance supervision is removed.
(In support) This bill will help mental health workers across Washington complete their supervised hours. This is just a slight change to supervised hour requirements. Access to supervision is limited in rural areas and this bill is great for rural areas. This bill removes the limit on hours that can be accomplished through distance supervision. The technology available today is more capable of allowing for distance supervision than that which was available when the limit was initially passed. Remote supervision happens in training for other fields, such as education.
The term "distance learning" should be changed to "distance supervision." The same policy should also be applied to advanced social workers.