The Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (DCSW)

Setting the Pace for Clinical Excellence

DCSW application

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For 25 years, the Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (DCSW) has represented the highest level of expertise and excellence for clinical social workers. DCSW credentialed social workers are leaders in the area of clinical social work and hold employment positions in a range of practice settings. Globally recognized and demanded, the DCSW demonstrates that you have exceptional experience, education, competency and dedication to the social work profession.

Clinical social workers who focus primarily on the mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being of individuals, couples, families and groups. They apply social work theory and methods to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of psychosocial dysfunction, disability, or impairment, including emotional and mental disorders

Clinical social work services consist of assessment; diagnosis; treatment, including psychotherapy and counseling; client-centered advocacy; consultation; and evaluation.

If you’re a highly experienced clinical social worker looking to highlight your professional accomplishments, stand out to employers and maximize your earning potential, the DCSW is appropriate for you. The DCSW is the most important industry-recognized certification that highlights professional commitment and expertise in the application of clinical social work practices and continued professional development for clinical social workers.

Established in 1986 by the NASW Board of Directors, the DCSW credential recognizes clinical social workers who have: met national standards of knowledge, skill and experience in the field of clinical social work, who have obtained an additional three years of post master’s clinical social work experience, and have agreed to abide by the NASW Code of Ethics, the NASW Standards for the Practice of Clinical Social Work, and the NASW Standards for Continuing Professional Education.

DCSW holders have been setting the pace for clinical social work excellence for 25 years.


  • A current NASW membership in good standing
  • A master’s degree in social work from a graduate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education showing 20 hours of clinical coursework
  • Documentation of 4,500 hours and three years of additional clinical social work experience that has occurred within the past 10 years.
  • Thirty (30) contact hours of post-degree continuing professional education  or professional development activity specific to clinical social work, obtained within the past two years
  • Have two satisfactory colleague references; completed by an MSW or PhD level clinical social worker
  • Current state clinical social work license
  • Adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics, the NASW Standards for Continuing Professional Education, and the NASW Standards for the Practice of Clinical Social Work

Are you qualified to apply?

Please read and review the complete criteria in the application.
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