Congratulations! Building a private practice is a challenging endeavor, and one that requires a great deal of initiative, professional experience in the field, organization and business savvy, and maintenance of relevant licenses and certifications.
According to the NASW, some of the key steps involved in working as a private social work practitioner are:
- Earn an MSW from a CSWE accredited institution.
- Obtain and maintain clinical social work licensure in one’s state of residence.
- Complete at least 3000 hours or two years of supervised clinical work post-graduation.
- Obtain a National Provider Identification (NPI) Number, which all mental health care providers must hold in order to serve clients.
- Research and manage the necessary administrative and logistical aspects of setting up and maintaining a business, including potentially:Obtaining a Federal Tax Identification Number and professional liability insurance, if applicable
- Marketing one’s practice through a website, marketing materials, promotional workshops, and referral streams
- Evaluating and addressing the costs of setting up a business, and obtaining relevant legal and/or accounting advice where necessary
- Regularly consulting experts in one’s field and participating in continuing education and additional trainings to keep skills sharp and build one’s repertoire of therapeutic modalities
- Get Insurance: The purpose of insurance is to manage risk. Insurance enables the insurance policyholder to transfer certain risks, or defined causes of loss called “perils”, that are listed as being covered in the insurance policy contract issued by the insurance company. Insurance is a method of spreading the risk of loss from one policyholder to many policyholders. This risk transfer is accomplished through the collection of premium and pooling the premiums paid in order to pay future claims losses.