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.

The American Board of Clinical Social Work (ABCSW) promotes and defends the abilities of its BCD certificants. Competence in clinical social work is described in the ABCSW’s position statement, Professional Development and Practice Competencies in Clinical Social Work.

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:

  • Currency in practice - 3,000 hours of direct general clinical social work practice in the past 10 years, including 300 hours in the 12 months prior to applying.
  • Master’s degree in social work with coursework and fieldwork focused on direct practice; official transcript must be provided by your graduate school.
  • State licensure in good standing at the highest clinical level available in the state(s) in which you practice.
  • Five years post-graduate clinical social work practice, including 3,000 hours under clinical supervision (1,500 hours supervised by an advanced clinical social worker) and an additional 4,500+ hours of practice.
  • 40 hours of clinical continuing education in the past three years (standard is waived if licensed in a state not requiring CE by law) - not necessary to submit documents with application.
  • Registration of three (3) peer Evaluators to rate your competency as an advanced practitioner. The first must be an advanced clinical social worker who meets all of the above standards, and others, advanced clinical social workers or psychiatrists (M.D. or D.O.) or clinical psychologists (doctoral only). Evaluators must have at least 6 years of post-graduate clinical practice. Evaluators must also have a full year of direct, client-centered knowledge of your clinical practice. Contact must not have ended more than 18 months prior to the application date

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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