LPC vs LCSW?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by aa442289, Aug 7, 2013.

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  1. aa442289

    aa442289 New Member

    I am trying to decide between Masters in Counseling vs. MSW. I am looking at doing an online degree either way. In the future I am more interested in working in private practice/therapy, and not so much with the government; HOWEVER, I do plan to move in the future, so reciprocity is important as well. As far as curriculum is concerned, the Counseling curriculum seems so much more interesting to me than SW curriculum (which I think is very important when doing an online program).

    I do not want to limit my job opportunities, but as I said I am more interested in working in private practice/therapy. Can anyone shed light on any of the following issues:

    -Transferring LPC license and/or LCSW license between different states? Difficulties or not they have encountered either way?

    -Pros or cons of either license?

    -Reimbursement by insurance companies/overall salaries?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
     
  2. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    LCSW has the advantage in all areas except for one: training. LPCs and LMHCs are better trained in therapy. However, the LCSW has more flexibility in doing private practice and working for an employer. Whatever program you choose, just make sure the social work program is CSWE accredited. While it may not be required by every state, it would be best to attend a counseling program that is CACREP accredited for reciprocity purposes. Social work is more standardized. Some states have LPCs while others have LMHCs. Some states will require a 48 credit hour counseling program while others will require 60 credit hours. The number of practicum and internship hours can vary too.

    The salaries are relatively low for both considering the amount of training and education that's required.
    Social Workers : Occupational Outlook Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists : Occupational Outlook Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    You can search for which distance programs are CSWE or CACREP accredited at the links below.
    Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) - Distance Education
    Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs - Directory

    You might want to also look into marriage and family therapy.
    http://www.aamft.org/cgi-shl/twserver.exe?run:COAPRGS_1
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2013
  3. Boethius

    Boethius Member

    MSW with your LCSW. This combination is practically the "MBA" of the SW field.
     
  4. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Based on your career goal of private practice, I'd go with LPC. I would also recommend going the CACREP route. Both my MA and PhD are regionally accredited and I have state and national licensure - but CACREP would have made the process smoother. It also helps in finding teaching positions if that's your plan for the future.
     
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know what distinguishes an LPC from an LMHC except that in some states they have one and in other states they have the other. Maybe there are some states where they have both, I don't know. But as I understand it, Social workers are licensed everywhere. Sanantone might be right about the training though. I've read that Social Work degrees are more universally accepted because they have a national organization with a good lobby. Could that be true?
     
  6. JWC

    JWC New Member

    I'm not sure social workers get less therapy training than the other two. Social workers used to be called "Psychiatric Social Workers" and are now "Clinical Social Workers." Clinical Social Workers have rigorous training in psychiatric work and one of their texts is "Synopsis of Psychiatry," a very thick and comprehensive text of all DSM diagnoses and how to treat them.
     
  7. Graves

    Graves Member

    It depends on the program specifically. Some MSW programs are similar to LPC/LMHC programs, but in becoming qualified as a social worker, one can practice therapy or do any other duty in the scope of social work regardless of concentration in college.

    concentrations | Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work | The University of Oklahoma

    This is an example of what I mean. There is a direct practice and administrative track. In either case, one is a qualified LCSW regardless of the type of training they receive. Therapy is the majority of work done in most mental health counseling degree programs regardless of concentration. With online programs, you set up your practicum experiences more often than not in both cases as well.
     
  8. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    As a long-time clinical supervisor, I would note that those who we've hired with an LCSW credential have had a much harder time finding credentialed supervisors. I believe that they are required to be supervised by an LCSW-S and there aren't as many of those are there are LPC-S'.
     
  9. Psydoc

    Psydoc New Member

    I have a Masters in Counseling (Liberty), a Masters in Psychology (Univ. of West Ala.), a PhD in Professional Counseling (Capella), and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and I cannot bill Medicare or Medicaid in Alabama. I am restricted to EAP programs that pay about 1/2 of the Medicare rate and self pay (who I bill at about 1/2 of the Medicare rate. If you wish to work at a low rate of pay then the LPC is the way to go. If you are looking at the degree as a way to live then the LCSW is the route. If I had known the difference before I embarked on my journey I would have chosen the LCSW. Incidentally, I went back and got a Masters in English and am now teaching English at the local Community College. Just my .02 worth.
     
  10. Boethius

    Boethius Member

    I'll say it again: MSW and LCSW is the way to go, at least here in New York City. It's better if you have the PhD in Pysch and LCSW combo.

    I am not in the SW field, but I have friends that are and my wife works in the field.
     
  11. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Interesting. I'm an LPC and have had no problems billing. One drawback used to be that LPCs couldn't bill Tricare - but I think I understand that that has been changed.
     
  12. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Having read through this thread I'm a little surprised that there isn't a national standard or licensure for these degrees and professions. I've imagined that it might result in a scenario where a well trained and skilled therapist might move to another state and not be able to work at all.
     
  13. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    There are national certification and credentialing exams! However, each State has its own licensing laws for the profession. Heaven forbid the Federal Government get involved!
     
  14. major56

    major56 Active Member

    Education becomes a state function under the 10th Amendment (The Constitution of the United States).

    10th Amendment: the powers not delegated to the U. S. by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. Given that education is not mentioned in the Constitution, it is a power reserved to the states.
     
  15. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I understand your point but I still think that the states, collectively, could do a better job of unifying systems. The same nomenclature, the same standards and requirements and universal reciprocity, etc. After all, it's done with MDs, it's done with Doctoral level Psychologists right?
     
  16. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Many states have reciprocity agreements but it is left to the individual states to make laws in regards to professional licensure. There isn't much communication between state legislators of different states so usually the "professional body" or the "national council for the profession" lobbies to enact laws that allow for reciprocity with other states.

    I have seen a lot of variances in the state laws in regards to eligibility for licensure and scope of practice. For example, some states may require x amount of internship or supervised training while others have very little if any! Some states may require a collaborative agreement while others allow for complete autonomy. In general, the national organizations try to promote standardization for the profession.

    With MD's it is not entirely standardized either, Many states still vary in number of years of residency requirements, number of attempts at passing the exams, etc. Some states will license a Physician with 1 year of ACGME accredited residency and others require at least 3 years. Some State will not allow licensure if you failed the exam a number of times within so many years and others don't care!

    http://www.fsmb.org/usmle_eliinitial.html

    Bottom line, its up to each individual state to make the laws pertaining to licensing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2013
  17. aa442289

    aa442289 New Member

    With this being said, does anyone have experience with transferring licenses (either LPC or LCSW) between states?
     
  18. Delta

    Delta Active Member


    Good point!!!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2013
  19. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    My general experience is that you have to check with each State's requirements individually!
     
  20. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Yep. I'm licensed in Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia. I also have the (not worth much) national certification (NCC). But I'm moving to Florida (next week!) where I'll have to take another licensure examination and possibly (gulp!) another 3-credit MA course (even though I have 130+ graduate credits). Plus 3 workshops.
     

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