Clinical Registry

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  1. What is the Clinical Specialty Registry?
  2. What are the qualifications to be on the Registry?
  3. Are there any exemptions to these requirements?
  4. Are any equivalencies considered?
  5. Are there specific requirements for the supervision component?
  6. Are there other requirements to get on the registry?
  7. Is there additional cost to be on the Clinical Specialty Registry?
  8. What is the application process to be on the Registry?
  9. If my application is not approved, can I take the examination anyway to demonstrate my competence?
  10. If my application is not approved, is there an appeal process?
  11. If my application is approved, when do I take the examination?
  12. Where are the examinations held?
  13. If I fail the exam, can I take it again?
  14. What is the cost to take the exam?
  15. Why are we using an American exam in Alberta?
  16. Once I am on the Clinical Specialty Registry, are there other things I have to do to retain my standing?
  17. If I stop doing clinical social work, does my name come off the registry?
  18. What titles may I use as a Clinical Social Worker?
  19. As a Clinical Social Worker, are there any restrictions on my practice?

  1. What is the Clinical Specialty Registry?

    This is a list of social workers who have demonstrated competence in the practice of clinical social work at an advanced level. It is a voluntary listing. Only social workers on the registry may use the title Clinical Social Worker.
  2. What are the qualifications to be on the Registry?

    Advanced clinical practice is demonstrated through a combination of education and experience. The basic requirements for the registry are: an MSW with a clinical specialization; a minimum of two-years post-MSW clinical practice (1600 practice hours) under an approved supervision plan; a minimum of two years as a registered social worker; successful completion of a clinical social work examination; and two reference forms attesting to the ability of the practitioner to practice clinical social work in a skilled and ethical manner.
  3. Are there any exemptions to these requirements?

    No.
  4. Are any equivalencies considered?

    People who have a non-clinical MSW or other related degrees may be able to demonstrate equivalence by a combination of degree programs and continuing education. This must include social work specific education, including a graduate level clinical social work methods class, instruction in the person-in-environment perspective, and instruction on social work ethics, history and philosophy and social policy issues.
  5. Are there specific requirements for the supervision component?

    Yes. If you are a new graduate, read the policies with regard to supervision and follow the steps as specified. Supervision must be provided by an approved supervisor, which may mean arranging for supervision outside your place of employment. Supervision plans must be developed in advance and approved by the committee.
  6. Are there other requirements to get on the registry?

    Yes. A Clinical Specialty Registry application must be completed and documentation must be provided, including a detailed resume, transcripts of your MSW program, and a listing of all continuing competence activities related to clinical practice since completing your MSW (up to the past five years).
  7. Is there additional cost to be on the Clinical Specialty Registry?

    Yes. The cost is $40 to apply and $40 per year, in addition to your social work registration fees. The fees will be added to your annual renewal form if you are approved to be on the registry. In July, 2010, the fee will be increased to $50 per application and $50 annually.
  8. What is the application process to be on the Registry?

    Completed application packages are forwarded to the Clinical Social Work Committee for review. The committee meets four times per year. Each applicant is notified of the committee’s decision within a short period following the meeting.
  9. If my application is not approved, can I take the examination anyway to demonstrate my competence?

    No. Only those social workers who have been approved by the Clinical Social Work Committee may take the exam.
  10. If my application is not approved, is there an appeal process?

    Yes. You may appeal to have your application reviewed by three members of the committee who were not involved in making the initial decision. If the decision is upheld, you may appeal further to ACSW Council.
  11. If my application is approved, when do I take the examination?

    As Alberta has small numbers of people approved to take the examination at present, it is scheduled infrequently. It is booked when a sufficient number of people are approved and ready to take the exam. The exams are normally scheduled on a Saturday to avoid conflicts with employment.
  12. Where are the examinations held?

    Again, with the small number of applicants currently applying for the registry in Alberta, the process requires that some people travel. The specific location depends on the starting point for the majority of candidates.
  13. If I fail the exam, can I take it again?

    Yes. You must wait a minimum of one year to try again. An applicant may take the examination up to three times. After a third failure, an applicant must begin the whole process, including supervised practice, anew.
  14. What is the cost to take the exam?

    Currently it costs $260 US dollars. This is paid directly to the Association of Social Work Boards, the body that administrates the examination.
  15. Why are we using an American exam in Alberta?

    This is not an American exam; it is a clinical social work exam that has been specifically reviewed and worked on by Alberta social workers. The Alberta College of Social Workers is a member of the Association of Social Work Boards and as such we have access to an examination program that has been proven through extensive research to be valid and reliable as a measurement of social work knowledge, skills and abilities. This has been further supported through the involvement of all Canadian provinces in the Practice Analysis conducted in 2009 to set the blueprint for the examination.
  16. Once I am on the Clinical Specialty Registry, are there other things I have to do to retain my standing?

    Clinical social workers are asked to demonstrate 50 credit hours of continuing competence activities per year, 10 of which must be in clinical consultation/supervision and 20 of which must have specific clinical content. The information should be provided on the Clinical PDCF, found on the ACSW web site.
  17. If I stop doing clinical social work, does my name come off the registry?

    The answer to this question would depend on individual circumstances, including the length of time involved and the practice during that period. After an extended period (three to five years) you may be required to reestablish your eligibility to be on the registry.
  18. What titles may I use as a Clinical Social Worker?

    You should always identify yourself first as a Registered Social Worker (or RSW), then as a Clinical Social Worker. “Registered clinical social worker” is not a recognized title within the social work regulation, nor is CSW an acceptable abbreviation. Only a member of the registry may use the title “Clinical Social Worker.”
  19. As a Clinical Social Worker, are there any restrictions on my practice?

    Clinical social workers are not automatically authorized to perform psychosocial interventions. If your practice is not related to mental health and you have not done any professional development related to mental health assessment and treatment in recent years, you will not be authorized. Otherwise, there are no restrictions beyond the general restriction for all social workers to work within their areas of expertise. You should be familiar with the social work standards of practice with regard to developing new skills and practices.

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