AASW Accredited Mental Health Social Worker Application Criteria

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In 2004, the Australian Government implemented the Enhanced Primary Care Program under which General Practitioners were able to refer patients with complex care requirements to a range of allied health services. Under this initiative social workers were recognised as one of the group of eligible mental health providers. In 2006, the Government introduced the ‘Better Access to Mental Health Care’ initiative, under which General Practitioners, Paediatricians and Private Psychiatrists could refer to suitably qualified and experienced allied health professionals namely: social workers; psychologists and occupational therapists for the provision of ‘Focussed Psychological Strategies’. This document explains the process which a social worker must undergo, should they wish to be considered by Medicare Australia as ‘suitably qualified and experienced allied health professional’.



Please refer to information below as to the 6 AMHSW criteria that must ALL be met to gain a successful outcome:

  1. Hold current eligible AASW membership
  2. Post qualifying social work experience* in a clinical setting:
    *post-qualifying social work experience gained as a social worker after graduating from an AASW Accredited Social Work program.
    1. Have at least 2 years’ full-time equivalent (FTE)post-qualifying social work experience* in a mental health setting within the last 5 years, totalling a minimum of 3,360 hours. The AASW recognises that full-time employment equates to 35 hours per week, for 48 weeks per year.
    2. Must be able to articulate your understanding and provide a case example on how your experience meets the  AASW Practice Standards for Mental Health Social Workers 2014. Where applicable, you must demonstrate the use of Focused Psychological Strategies (FPS), within your case example from your mental health practice position/s.
  3. Demonstrate at least 2 years’ full-time equivalent (FTE) post-qualifying supervision in a mental health setting/fieldwithin the last 5 years. You should be able to show that they have been formally supervised, in line with the AASW Supervision Standards. Generally, supervisors should have a higher level of practice experience than their supervisees and should have some training in supervision. For the purposes of this assessment, the supervisor does not necessarily need to have a social work background but should have provided the applicant/supervisee with appraisal and assessment in relation to practice in a mental health field (e.g. psychologist, medical practitioner or a mental health nurse).
  4. Have met the Continuing Professional Development requirements
  5. Demonstrate ability and knowledge of clinical Mental Health social work practice through Case study activities. Further information on the case study activity can be found on Case Study Activity
  6. Verification of applicant’s Skills and Competencies in Practice. For each role you would like considered for your application, you will need to provide all of the following:
    1. Curriculum vitae: the CV or resume allows our assessor to get an overall picture of your social work experience. Please ensure the dates align with all the evidence you provide.
    2. Referee statement: You must provide the official AASW referee statement form completed, signed and dated by an employer or supervisor that validates your work and performance in a mental health setting/field using FPS. For the purposes of this credential, the referee must have appropriate qualifications and experience in mental health in order to provide appropriate assessment and appraisal of an applicants mental health practice and particularly your use of and competence in FPS. The form must also confirm the exact dates and hours per week of employment. 
    3. Position description: an official agency position description on organisation letter head to confirm the key duties and responsibilities of the role. 


Note for applicants who are self-employed in private practice

In addition to submitting a referee statement, you will need to provide a signed and declared statutory declaration outlining details of your roles and responsibilities in lieu of a position description. You will need to include the dates and approximate hours per week that you have worked in your private practice role, in particular, your clinical work with mental health clients, utilising FPS, and the percentage of time which is spent in this clinical mental health work.