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Top 11 Case Worker Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most important certifications for case workers to pursue in order to advance their career.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for case workers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and competence in their field. They also provide evidence that the case worker has achieved a specific level of expertise and mastery of their profession. Certifications provide employers with assurance that the candidate has the necessary skills and qualifications to do the job well, and can help them stand out from other candidates. Additionally, certifications can be used to show that a case worker is up to date on best practices and emerging trends in their field. Finally, certifications may allow case workers to access higher-paying positions or promotions within an organization.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Case Workers and explains how they can contribute to a case worker's career by providing additional skills, knowledge, and credentials.

What are Case Worker Certifications?

Case worker certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a practitioner's knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of social work. Certification is awarded by organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and it requires practitioners to have a certain level of education, experience, and expertise in order to qualify. This certification can be beneficial for social workers in a number of ways.

Having case worker certification demonstrates a high level of competency and professionalism to employers, clients, and other professionals in the field. It also serves as an indication that the practitioner has taken the time to gain additional knowledge and skills beyond what is required for licensure or registration. In addition, having this credential can help social workers advance their careers by opening up new job opportunities or allowing them to negotiate better salaries and benefits packages. Finally, obtaining case worker certification can also provide practitioners with access to continuing education resources that can help them stay up-to-date on changes in legislation and best practices related to their profession.

Pro Tip: When seeking case worker certification, make sure to research the requirements and qualifications of the specific program you are considering. Additionally, look into any continuing education opportunities that may be available in order to stay up-to-date on best practices and standards in the field.

Related: What does a Case Worker do?

Top 11 Case Worker Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Case Workers today.

1. Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM)

Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM) is a professional certification that recognizes a social worker’s advanced knowledge, skills, and experience in case management. It is designed to help social workers demonstrate their expertise in the field of case management.

To become certified as a C-SWCM, applicants must have at least two years of full-time post-master’s degree work experience in case management and must pass an exam administered by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The exam covers topics such as assessment and diagnosis, service planning and implementation, client advocacy, evaluation, and documentation.

It typically takes between six months to one year to complete the certification process. To get started, applicants must submit an application to the NASW along with proof of their post-master’s degree work experience in case management. Once approved, applicants will be sent information about registering for the exam.

The cost for taking the C-SWCM exam varies depending on whether or not you are a member of NASW. For nonmembers, the cost is $250; for members it is $200. In addition to this fee, there may also be additional costs associated with studying for the exam such as books or online courses.

2. Certified Clinical Social Worker in Health Care (CCSW-HC)

Certified Clinical Social Worker in Health Care (CCSW-HC) is a certification program offered by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The CCSW-HC is designed to recognize social workers who have achieved a high level of expertise and knowledge in the field of health care. It is intended to demonstrate excellence in clinical practice, research, and leadership within the health care environment.

The CCSW-HC certification process requires applicants to meet certain eligibility criteria, including having a master’s degree or higher in social work from an accredited institution, at least two years of post-master’s experience in health care, and passing an NASW certification exam. The exam consists of multiple choice questions covering topics such as assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning and interventions, ethical considerations, professional development, and health policy.

The entire process typically takes between three and six months to complete. To apply for the CCSW-HC certification, applicants must submit an application form along with supporting documentation such as transcripts from their social work program and proof of their post-master’s experience in health care. Applicants must also pay a fee for the exam which varies depending on their membership status with NASW.

Once all requirements are met, applicants will receive notification that they are eligible to take the CCSW-HC exam. Once they pass the exam they will be awarded their certification which is valid for five years before needing to be renewed.

The cost of obtaining the CCSW-HC certification varies depending on whether or not you are an NASW member. For nonmembers it typically costs around $450-$500 while members pay around $250-$300.

3. Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker (CAPSW)

A Certified Advanced Practice Social Worker (CAPSW) is a professional credential that recognizes the highest level of expertise and experience in the field of social work. This certification is awarded by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and requires an advanced degree in social work, as well as a minimum of three years of supervised clinical experience.

To become a CAPSW, applicants must have completed a Master’s or Doctoral degree program in social work from an accredited institution and have at least three years of post-master's or post-doctoral supervised clinical experience. Applicants must also pass the NASW’s Advanced Clinical Exam.

The cost to apply for the CAPSW certification varies depending on whether you are an NASW member or non-member. For members, the fee is $200; for non-members, it is $300. The exam itself costs $225 for members and $325 for non-members.

Once all requirements are met, it typically takes about six months to receive your CAPSW certification after you submit your application.

4. Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE)

A Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) is a professional credential that recognizes individuals who have met the standards of excellence in family life education. This certification is offered by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR).

To become a CFLE, one must meet certain educational and experience requirements and pass an exam. To be eligible for the exam, applicants must have at least a master’s degree in family studies or a related field from an accredited university, plus two years of full-time experience in family life education or related fields.

The application fee for the CFLE exam is $225. The cost of taking the exam is $400. Once an individual has passed the exam, they will need to pay an additional $150 for their certification materials and processing fees. It typically takes about six weeks to receive your certification once you have passed the exam.

The CFLE credential is valid for five years and can be renewed by completing continuing education credits or retaking the exam.

5. Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)

A Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) is a mental health professional who has met the educational, clinical, and ethical requirements set forth by their state licensing board. LCPCs are trained to provide counseling services to individuals, couples, families, and groups. They are qualified to diagnose and treat mental health disorders, as well as provide prevention services.

In order to become an LCPC, an individual must have at least a master’s degree in counseling or a related field from an accredited college or university. They must also complete at least two years of supervised clinical experience in the field of counseling and pass a state-administered licensing exam. Depending on the state where they live, additional coursework may be required for licensure.

The cost of becoming an LCPC varies by state and can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. This includes application fees, examination fees, background checks, continuing education requirements, and other costs associated with meeting the licensure requirements.

Overall, it typically takes between two and four years to become an LCPC depending on the individual's educational background and experience level.

6. National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Certification

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Certification is a voluntary credentialing program that recognizes the highest standards of professional practice in social work. It is designed to identify and recognize social workers who have achieved a high level of professional expertise and knowledge in their field.

In order to become certified, social workers must meet certain educational and experience requirements, pass an exam, and adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics. The educational requirement for certification includes a Master’s degree from an accredited institution or equivalent coursework completed at a regionally accredited college or university. In addition, applicants must have two years of post-Master’s professional experience in social work practice.

The certification process typically takes 6-12 months to complete. To start the process, applicants must submit an application packet that includes verification of their education and experience as well as payment of the application fee. Once approved, applicants will be scheduled for the certification exam which consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as human behavior, ethics, clinical practice, research methods, and policy analysis.

The cost for NASW Certification varies depending on when you apply; however, it typically ranges from $250-$400 plus any additional fees associated with taking the exam. Additionally, there is an annual recertification fee which is required every three years in order to maintain active status as a certified social worker.

7. Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)

A Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) is a professional who works with individuals with physical, mental, emotional, and/or developmental disabilities to help them achieve their personal, career, and independent living goals. CRCs provide assessment, counseling, job placement services, and other supports to individuals with disabilities.

In order to become a CRC, you must have a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field from an accredited college or university. You must also complete an internship approved by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). Once you have completed your degree and internship requirements, you can then apply for the certification exam administered by the CRCC.

The cost of becoming certified as a CRC varies depending on the specific requirements of your state. The cost typically includes application fees for both the certification exam and any additional required courses or internships. In addition to these costs, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exam itself.

Once you have passed the exam and been certified as a CRC, you will need to maintain your certification by completing continuing education credits every two years. The cost of these credits will vary depending on the type of courses taken.

8. Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP)

Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) is a professional certification for individuals who provide services to people with mental illness. The CPRP credential is designed to recognize the specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities of those who work in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation. It is awarded by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

To become a CPRP, applicants must have at least two years of experience providing services to individuals with mental illness and must pass an exam administered by CARF. Applicants must also complete continuing education courses every two years in order to maintain their certification.

The cost of becoming a CPRP varies depending on the state in which you are applying. Generally, it costs between $500 and $1,000 to take the exam and receive your certification. The cost may also include additional fees for continuing education courses or other required materials.

In most cases, it takes four to six months from the time you submit your application until you receive your certification. This includes time for processing your application, taking the exam, and completing any necessary continuing education requirements.

9. Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD-CSW)

Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD-CSW) is a professional credential for clinical social workers who have achieved advanced training and experience in the field of mental health. This credential is offered by the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work (ABE). To become a BCD-CSW, an individual must demonstrate mastery of clinical social work theory, practice, and research.

It typically takes three to five years to complete the requirements for board certification. The process involves completing a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, passing an exam administered by ABE, and submitting evidence of continuing education activities related to clinical social work.

To get certified as a BCD-CSW, individuals must first apply to ABE and submit all required documentation. Once approved, they can take the exam at an approved testing center or online. After passing the exam, applicants must submit evidence of their continuing education activities related to clinical social work.

The cost for board certification varies depending on the individual's experience level and other factors. Generally speaking, it costs around $1,500-$2,000 for application fees and examination costs. Additional costs may include travel expenses if taking the exam at an approved testing center or purchasing study materials for preparation.

10. Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPCS)

Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPCS) is a credential that allows an individual to provide clinical supervision to Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs). The LPCS credential is awarded by the state in which the individual practices, and it requires additional coursework and experience beyond what is required for the initial LPC license.

In order to become an LPCS, an individual must first hold a valid and active LPC license. Depending on the state, this may require completing a master's degree in counseling or a related field, passing a national exam, and completing supervised clinical hours. Once these requirements are met, the individual can then pursue the LPCS credential.

The requirements for becoming an LPCS vary from state to state. Generally speaking, most states require completion of additional coursework in areas such as clinical supervision theory and practice, ethics and risk management, legal considerations for supervisors, and other topics related to providing clinical supervision. In addition to coursework, many states also require applicants to have at least two years of post-licensure experience as an LPC before they can apply for the supervisor credential.

The cost of becoming an LPCS varies depending on where you live and what type of program you choose. Coursework may be offered through universities or private organizations; fees will vary accordingly. In addition to tuition costs, there may be additional fees associated with taking exams or submitting applications for licensure or certification.

Overall, becoming an LPCS can take several years depending on how long it takes you to complete your educational requirements and gain experience as an LPC. It also involves significant financial investment in both tuition costs and application/examination fees. However, if you are committed to providing quality clinical supervision services as an LPCS, it can be well worth your time and money in the end.

11. National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Certification

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is a professional certification organization that provides credentialing and continuing education services to counselors in the United States. The NBCC offers the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential, which is a voluntary certification that demonstrates an individual has met standards of knowledge and experience in the counseling profession.

To become certified, individuals must meet specific requirements including: a master’s degree or higher in counseling or a related field; completion of at least 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience; passing scores on the National Counselor Examination (NCE); and completion of continuing education credits.

The process of becoming certified typically takes 12-18 months, depending on the individual’s progress. To get started, individuals must first apply to become an NCC Candidate by submitting an application and fee to NBCC. Once approved as an NCC Candidate, individuals can then register for the NCE exam and complete their supervised clinical experience hours. After passing the NCE exam and completing all other requirements, individuals can submit their application for certification to NBCC.

The cost for becoming certified varies depending on several factors such as whether you are taking advantage of any discounts or payment plans offered by NBCC. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$700 to become certified through NBCC.

Do You Really Need a Case Worker Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances. If you are looking to pursue a career in social work, then having a case worker certificate can be beneficial. It will demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively help clients in need of assistance. A certificate can also serve as proof of your commitment to the profession and show potential employers that you are well-versed in the industry.

However, if you already have experience working as a case worker or other related positions, then a certificate may not be necessary for you. Your work experience could be enough to qualify for certain jobs. Additionally, depending on what type of position you are looking for, some employers may prefer applicants who have additional qualifications such as a degree in social work or psychology. Ultimately it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they need a case worker certificate in order to pursue their desired career path.

Related: Case Worker Resume Examples

FAQs About Case Worker Certifications

1. How do I become a certified case worker?

Answer: To become a certified case worker, you must complete an accredited bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field, pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam, and obtain licensure from your state.

2. What is the difference between a case manager and a case worker?

Answer: A case manager is responsible for overseeing an individual’s care plan and coordinating with other professionals to ensure that all aspects of their care are met. A case worker is more focused on providing direct services to individuals, such as counseling and advocacy.

3. What kind of certifications can I get as a case worker?

Answer: Depending on your area of specialization, you may be eligible for additional certifications such as Certified Case Manager (CCM), Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS), or Certified Advanced Social Worker (CASW).

4. What are the continuing education requirements for maintaining my certification?

Answer: Generally, certified case workers must complete 10-15 credits of continuing education each year in order to maintain their certification status. This includes attending workshops, seminars, or taking online classes related to social work or mental health topics.

5. Are there any financial assistance programs available to help pay for my certification expenses?

Answer: Yes, many states offer loan repayment programs to help licensed social workers pay off student loan debt or cover the cost of renewing their license or certification fees. Additionally, some universities may offer scholarships specifically for those pursuing social work degrees and professional certifications.