37-22-301. License requirements -- rulemaking -- exemptions. (1) An applicant to be a licensed clinical social worker:
(a) must have a doctorate or master's degree in social work from a program accredited by the council on social work education or approved by the board; and
(b) must have registered as a social worker licensure candidate, as provided in 37-22-313, and completed at least 24 months of supervised post-master's degree work experience in psychotherapy, which must have included 3,000 hours of social work experience, of which at least 1,500 hours were in direct client contact, within the past 5 years.
(2) After completing the required supervised work experience as a social worker licensure candidate, the applicant shall:
(a) provide the board with three letters of reference from professionals licensed by the board or academic professors who have knowledge of the applicant's professional performance;
(b) satisfactorily complete an examination prescribed by the board. An applicant who fails the examination may reapply to take the examination and may continue as a social worker licensure candidate, subject to the terms set by the board.
(c) submit a completed application required by the board and the application fee prescribed by the board.
(3) A licensed clinical social worker:
(a) is subject to the social work ethical standards adopted under 37-22-201;
(b) may engage in independent practice, as defined by the board, upon receiving a license; and
(c) may use the initials "LSW" or "LCSW" for "licensed social worker" or "licensed clinical social worker".
(4) An applicant is exempt from the examination requirement in subsection (2)(b) if the applicant:
(a) proves to the board that the applicant is licensed, certified, or registered in a state or territory of the United States under laws that have substantially the same requirements as this chapter; and
(b) has passed an examination similar to that required by the board.
(5) As a prerequisite to the issuance of a license, the board shall require the applicant to submit fingerprints for the purpose of fingerprint checks by the Montana department of justice and the federal bureau of investigation as provided in 37-1-307. The board may require a criminal background check of applicants and determine the suitability for licensure as provided in 37-1-201 through 37-1-205 and 37-1-307.
(6) The board shall adopt rules to implement this section.