BCD: Advanced Clinical Practice

The Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD) is the profession’s premier advanced clinical practice certification, embodying the highest standards in the areas of clinical education, training and experience. It is widely respected by third parties and it's holders are often rewarded with higher levels of pay, preference in referral-making, expert-witness standing, etc., unavailable to those whose only qualification is a state license.

ABCSW markets the BCD through social media and other methods, and supports the advanced practice of clinical social work through the online resources of the organization.

The fee for applying for the BCD is $350.

The successful candidate has mastery of relevant knowledge and skills and excels in practicing effectively with clients. Your competence will be examined in terms of your own achievements as well as the opinions of your colleagues. 


Eligibility criteria for BCD certification are summarized below:

  1. A master’s degree in social work with at least 12 semester credit hours of clinical coursework and a direct practice internship, or a doctoral degree in clinical social work with a direct practice internship; official transcripts must be provided by your graduate school.

  2. State licensure in good standing at the highest clinical level available in the state(s) in which you practice.

  3. Five (5) years and 7,500 hours of post-graduate clinical social work practice as defined by your current state licensure statutes and/or board rules. Two (2) years and 3,000 hours of this practice must have been under supervision. Three (3) years and 4,500 hours of this practice must be as an independent licensee.

  4. Currency in practice: 300 hours of clinical social work practice in the 12 months prior to applying as:
    1. defined by your current state licensure statutes and/or board rules; or
    2. having held an occupational position (e.g., in a psychiatric or medical hospital, agency settings of various kinds, independent private clinical practice, forensic and correctional setting in the community or in institutions, the military, the VA, U.S. Public Health, etc.) that requires a clinical social work license at the highest clinical level in your state, or
    3. a tenured or tenure-track faculty member in a graduate (master’s or doctoral) clinical social work program.

  5. 40 hours of respective licensing board qualified clinical continuing education over the past three years.

  6. Submission of three (3) peer attestations/evaluations of the applicant’s clinical social work practice. At least one evaluator must be a clinical social worker licensed at the highest level in their state. The other evaluators must be licensed at the highest clinical level in their state, and in good standing, as one of the following:
    1. clinical social worker;
    2. psychiatrist;
    3. psychiatric nurse practitioner;
    4. psychiatric physician associate/assistant;
    5. psychologist;
    6. clinical mental health counselor; or
    7. marriage and family therapist.

If you have any questions regarding the above criteria, contact the ABCSW at [email protected].

Note: $275 will be refunded to those found ineligible for the BCD; no refund will be made to those who withdraw their application for any reason or who receive unfavorable rating(s) from their Evaluator(s).

Unsuccessful applicants who wish to re-apply should contact the ABCSW at [email protected].


BCD clinicians recertify annually on the basis of currency of direct practice, 20 hours of continuing clinical education, maintenance of licensure in good standing (if applicable), and adherence to the ABCSW’s Code of Ethics. The annual renewal fee is $135 if renewing by mail and $125 if renewing online.

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