ND Seal ND Board of Social Work Examiners

Supervision of LCSW Applicants

To be qualified for the level of LCSW, the Board requires completion of 3,000 hours of clinical social work practice under the supervision of an LCSW supervisor.  These supervised hours must be completed post-Master's degree. The supervised hours must also be completed in a period of no more than 4 years.

You must also have a current social work license in ND and have a MSW degree to submit the supervision plan form. If you have not yet been licensed in ND, you will need to wait until you have been issued a license number to complete a supervision plan form. 

Please read the below information and the supervision plan form carefully. More information is also available in the ND Administrative Code 75.5-02-03-04.1

Definition of Clinical Social Work Practice 

"Clinical social work practice" means the professional application of social work theory, knowledge, methods, ethics, and the professional use of self to restore or enhance social, psychosocial, or biopsychosocial functioning of individuals, couples, families, and groups. The practice of clinical social work requires specialized clinical knowledge and advanced clinical skills in the area of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorder, conditions, and addictions. Treatment methods include the provision of individual, marital, couple, family, and group psychotherapy. 

The supervision plan must include these elements as once licensed as an LCSW, you will be licensed to practice independently. 

Additional definitions regarding the supervision plan can be found in ND Administrative Code 75.5-02-01-03

Supervision Plan Requirements 

Once you have graduated with your Master's Degree in Social Work, you are eligible to begin working toward a Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) licensure. Prior to earning clinical supervision hours for achieving LCSW status, you must submit a Supervision Plan to the Board for approval. Components of a supervision plan include:

  • Description of Clinical Practice - Include a detailed description of clinical practice that addresses each of the following elements:
    • Client population and the range of presenting issues/diagnoses
    • Clinical modalities commonly utilized
    • Diagnostic process, including:
      • a) process utilized for determining clinical diagnoses;
      • b) diagnostic instruments use, and;
      • c) role of the licensee/applicant in the diagnostic process. 
  • Diagnosing Letter - The letter must contain what you will be diagnosing, in what capacity, and the amount of time. The letter must be on letterhead paper from your employer and signed by your supervisor and employer. A sample letter is available here
  • Job Description - Include a detailed job description, on letterhead, for the clinical social work practice in which you will be supervised, signed by your supervisor.
  • Supervisor's License - Upload a copy of your supervisor's license.
  • When you have all of your documentation ready, submit an Online Supervision Plan form to meet the requirements for the LCSW level. The online form will not allow you to add more documents once you submit the plan. If you have documents to submit for the plan at a later date, you will need to email them to the Board office. 

Supervision: The applicant must participate in a minimum of 150 total hours of face-to-face supervision. Not more than 50 of the required face-to-face supervision hours may be group supervision. Group supervision is defined in the Administrative Code as one supervisor and more than one supervisee, including health professionals in related professions. Group supervision is facilitated by the supervisor and involves an exchange among all group members. The size of the group shall be limited to seven, including the supervisor. The plan must show how the applicant will complete and document a minimum of 3000 hours of supervised clinical social work experience during the 4-year period. 

You may have more than one clinical supervisor as part of your plan.  If so, you must submit a copy of each clinical supervisor's license with your plan.

The licensee and supervisor must maintain a record of supervision, including dates, time, and content of supervisory sessions, should the Board request same for verification purposes. 

If you are unable to complete the supervision plan online, please email the Board office.

Extensions: Under current law and rules, the Board cannot extend the plan due to the pandemic, illness, or another reason delaying the completion of the supervision plan within 4 years. The Board does not have any provisions in its law and rules to extend a plan. The Board can only operate within the parameters of the law and rules. If you are unable to complete the plan within four years, you may still continue with the plan, but you will lose hours you earned in the beginning of the plan. 

Clinical Supervisor Requirements

Qualification of Supervisor: Within a four-year period successfully completed three thousand hours of supervised post-master's clinical social work experience. The initial one thousand five hundred of the required hours must have been under the supervision of a clinical social worker. 

Hardship Request: 
Additional hours of supervision may be under other qualified mental health professionals approved by the board if barriers due to the geographical location, disability, or other factors determined by the board to create a hardship exist for the applicant. You must have already completed the first 1500 hours of your plan under a LCSW. The qualified professional must be registered or otherwise qualified as a clinical supervisor by the board that licenses the other professional. If applicants wish to request a hardship, they should send a written request with a completed revised Online Supervision Plan form explaining what hardship they have, the credentials of the supervisor they wish to have approved, and the completed Verification of MSW Supervision and Verification of MSW Employment. These forms should be signed by the LCSW supervisor showing that you have completed the initial 1500 hours. The completion of the forms now does not mean you have completed all 3000 hours or completed the plan.

The clinical supervisor must evaluate the applicant'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, and implementing a professional and ethical relationship with clients and colleagues.

The licensee and supervisor must maintain a record of supervision, including dates, time, and content of supervisory sessions, should the Board request same for verification purposes. 

If you are unable to complete the supervision plan online, please email the Board office.

Board Review and Approval of Plan

All completed plans are reviewed by a Board member. Plans can be approved without a Board meeting. If the Board member has any concerns about the plan, it may be held until the Board can discuss it at a quarterly Board meeting. Incomplete plans will not be reviewed, and the Board Office will send an email requesting the missing information. You must have already graduated with your MSW degree before you can begin earning clinical social work hours. 

You must already hold a social work license in North Dakota to begin earning hours towards your plan. 

Upon review by the Board, you will receive an email or letter notifying you of the Board’s decision regarding your plan. If your plan is approved, a letter of approval will be sent by email to you. If your plan is denied, an email will be sent and you will need to submit a new plan to be reviewed. If the Board requests additional information, please submit it as soon as possible to prevent delays with your plan.

The beginning date for approved supervision plans is the date the plan is received by the Board office.  Supervision hours earned before that date will not count.

Past supervision hours will now be accepted if the requirements for clinical supervision are equal or more stringent than what the Board requires. The Board will now accept supervision hours even if the hours were completed prior to a plan being submitted in North Dakota. This does include hours earned in other states. You should submit verification showing how many hours you already completed along with a copy of your supervision plan in the other state, if applicable. Verification may be a copy of a completion form from the other state board. If the Board does not have a completion form, your supervisor may complete the ND completion forms, Verification of MSW Supervision and Verification of MSW Employment. If you previously completed hours in Minnesota, you may submit a copy of the Supervised Practice Report. To have your past hours reviewed, you must submit a supervision plan. The Board cannot review anything without a completed plan. 

Changes to Plan

To make changes to your supervision plan, you will need to complete a Online Supervision Plan form to revise your plan. You will need to use the number assigned to your supervision plan. Plans approved after November 24, 2020, will have a plan number at the bottom of the approval letter sent to you by email. If you do not have the plan # or were approved for a plan before that date, please email the Board office. 

Employer or job position changes: If you have any employer or job position changes during the course of your plan, you will need to submit a revised supervision plan with a new job description, letter of diagnosing and copy of your new supervisor’s license. You will also need to have your former supervisor and/or employer complete the Verification of MSW Supervision and Verification of MSW Employment

New or additional supervisor: If your supervisor changes or a supervisor is added during the course of your plan, please complete a new supervision plan form with a copy of the license for the new supervisor and a new diagnosing letter. You will also need to have your former supervisor and/or employer complete the Verification of MSW Supervision and Verification of MSW EmploymentYou do not need to send another job description if it has not changed.  An email will be sent to you after reviewing the change.

LMSW Taking the Clinical Exam for LCSW

If you are upgrading your license to the LCSW level, you should apply to take the Clinical exam when you are finished or almost finished with your hours. The Board requires that you have completed all requirements for the LCSW level within one year of passing the Clinical exam. If you pass the exam too soon, you will have to retake it. This is in accordance with ND Administrative Code 75.5-02-03-02

Completion of Supervision Plan

Upon completion of the supervision plan, you will need to have your clinical supervisor(s) and employer(s) complete the Verification of MSW Supervision and Verification of MSW Employment forms.  These forms will be required as part of the LCSW license application process.

If you have any questions about your plan, please email the Board office. 


Verification of MSW Supervision

Verification of MSW Employment