Forensic and Correctional Social Work

This credential enables clinical social workers to be publicly recognized for proficiency in Forensic and Correctional Social Work. It is offered by the American Board of Clinical Social Work (ABCSW), which has set a standard for competency in this specialty and will promote your expertise.

The ABCSW markets this certification through social media and other methods, and supports this credential and practice with children and adolescents through the online resources of the organization. The fee for applying for this certification is $275.

Description - Forensic and correctional social work is a specialty in clinical social work that involves clinical social work practice, supervision, consultation, education, or research relevant to the delivery of clinical social work services to clients in community corrections, institutional (e.g., jails and prisons) corrections, forensic hospitals, outpatient forensic services, legal consultation, or testimony to the court. Clinical social workers use a person-in-environment perspective to enhance the social, psychosocial, or bio-psychosocial functioning of those who are served, and involves specialized clinical knowledge and advanced clinical skills in assessment; diagnosis; treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, conditions and addictions, including severe mental illness and serious emotional disturbances; consultation; and evaluation of services.

Specific Criteria: 

  1. To have practiced in the specialty area for five (5) or more years, and have accumulated at least 2,250 clinical hours of practice experience during the five (5) or more years’ time frame; 300 of which must have been in the past year.

  2. To have obtained and documented 24 clock hours of supervision or consultation relating to the practice specialty since earning the master’s or doctoral degree. The supervisor or consultant must have held the highest clinical licensure in their state for their respective profession for at least five years.

  3. To have obtained at least 20 clock hours of continuing education in the last year relating to the specialty area.

  4. To provide two Colleague Evaluations of your current forensic or correctional social work practice. 

This credential may be attained online at this website by those who are or become a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (BCD)

Unsuccessful applicants who wish to re-apply should promptly inform the ABCSW in writing of the intention to re-apply and submit the re-application fee of $125. You will provide two new Evaluators who will be sent a new set of Evaluation Packages. The ABCSW will retain the rest of your application information. As before, your Evaluators would be of your own choosing.


This certification must be renewed annually based on the following criteria:

  • Maintain the BCD certification.
  • Have at least 150 hours of practice in forensic or correctional social work.
  • Have at least 20 hours of clinical continuing education relating to practice in forensic or correctional social work.
  • Pay renewal fees for BCD ($135 at present) and specialty credential ($100 at present).