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Start practice as LSW, NOT LCSW - Virginia


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I have a unique opportunity presented to me about venturing out on my own in Virginia and starting my own LLC as a Licensed Social Worker, but not an LCSW. I am obviously doing as much research as I can but am coming up short on some gaps and obviously this is a big risk towards potential issues towards my LCSW licensure in the future. Has anybody ever experienced, considered, or know anything regarding starting your own practice as an LSW? Thank you very much in advance for your help and feedback.

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I apologize. I meant to add that I will obviously still be under a supervisor during this and I have also received support from several licensed practitioners. I am just casting my net a little further since I have received mostly positive feedback. 

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  • 6 months later...

My non-Virginia knowledge says that it would need to be under an LCSW's LLC, not your own. The workaround I have heard people try to do is to start an LLC, then hire an LCSW on to your staff as an employee, and gain supervision that way. But you will run into problems with getting the licensing board to accept hours that are signed off on by a paid subordinate of your company, just like paying for independent supervision, as you can’t pay for someone to sign off on your hours. When I was getting my hours I heard every creative way to get around working for someone people could come up with, but not a single person did. I don’t want to burst your bubble, and I would be interested in knowing about anything you come up with as the whole fee-for-service model is quite bad for LMSW’s, but I think there are several reasons that people do not generally get an independent supervisor or start their own business. Maybe a third party LCSW starting a new LLC that a few LMSW join together with some bargaining power at the start up would work together to build it so you can work out a pay scale and keep clients post completion of your hours etc. It would teach you how to do it all and improve your standing, but it wouldn’t be your own business.

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