Thursday, March 10, 2016

Tips to Make Your Social Working Life Easier

Professional life as a social worker can be hard – we often work with some of the most vulnerable populations and don’t always receive a great deal of appreciation for our efforts.  If you’re in the process of getting your LCSW, make your life a tiny bit easier by reading these tips.

Image credit Kate McHugh Akbar

If you are applying for the LCSW in California, the governing entity is the Board of Behavioral Sciences.  You probably already know to sign up for their email alerts to receive major updates and also to make sure that nothing is missing from your application packet before you mail it in – two of the more obvious and oft-repeated tips.

In California, the BBS is required to publish your address after you are licensed.  This is the same address they use for corresponding with you about your exam eligibility and other important matters.  If you don't want your home address made public, you can use your work address.

However, if you don't have a work address that is convenient, consistent, and reliable, another option is to use a PO Box with the USPS.

The USPS has a program called Real Mail Notification™ where you provide your cell phone number or email address, and they will send you a notification every day that you are scheduled to receive mail.  That way, you don’t miss a piece of mail or spend unnecessary time traveling to the post office to find your box empty.  It’s available in many post offices, but not all, so check with your local office.   

When I sent in my application packet to the BBS in 2014, there was a pretty hefty backlog.  They had a page on their website where they updated their application processing status (e.g., in September it said they were currently reviewing applications received in the week of February 1).  While they don’t have these updates up on their site anymore, I recently tweeted at them and they said their processing timeframe is now 30-60 days.  Much better!  Also, helpful to know that they respond quickly to tweets.

Some final tips regarding testing: If you haven’t already been there, you can look up your specific test center on a community review site like Yelp to see what other test-takers have to say about the center.  I found both my local PSI and Pearson test centers on Yelp, and read helpful tips about the parking situation, nearby food, and pros and cons of morning vs. afternoon test times, to name a few examples.

Specifically, ASWB exams are held at Pearson test centers.  Pearson has some resources on their site to get you familiarized before your test day – you can take a panoramic tour and see pictures of their lobby and testing rooms, as well as watch a somewhat peculiar wordless video on security measures for test-takers.  All that visualization can definitely help you feel even more prepared for your exam.

Please share – what other tips have you found helpful in the licensing process?  Other than study hard and make use of practice questions, of course! 

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