Clinical Credential

Clinical social workers are highly skilled and specialised with deep knowledge and experience on psychosocial and behavioural problems and disorders.

We know that clinical social work is one of the more complex areas of practice and that clinical experience and training is highly valued by employers. The AASW has created the clinical credential to specifically recognise the clinical social workers as having an advanced level of experience and skills.

The Clinical Social Worker Credential is the symbol that highlights these skills to employers, clients and the community, creating confidence.

Benefits of a Clinical Credential


To be eligible to apply for a clinical credential you require a higher level of experience than any other social work specialist credential. The clinical credential is a way to be formally recognised for these unique specific clinical skills.


Clinical accreditation ensures clarity for the profession and the broader community, demonstrates the professional expertise of clinical social workers, and enables the AASW to advocate for greater recognition of and opportunities for clinical social workers.


As a clinical credential demonstrates a level of mastery in social work, you are identified as a leader in your field.

Clinical Credential FAQs

Our social work profession holds itself to a high standard of clinical expertise and commits to ongoing professional learning.

When the Australian College of Social Work and subsequent Clinical Division was established there was no specific capability-based assessment or any requirement to demonstrate continual knowledge building, as is the case with other credentials such as the Mental Health Credential or in alignment with other professional expectations. In order to ensure that we are appropriately assessing the clinical skill set, we have created the Accredited Clinical Social Work credential.

We believe the best way for the profession and individuals to demonstrate our clinical skills is to take up the Accredited Clinical Social Worker credential.

The Clinical Credential requires a total of five years’ post-qualifying experience. This is to recognise that the clinical skillset requires a mastery of the entire social work skillset which requires time and experience to develop.

No, to provide services through Medicare Australia you will need be credentialed as an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker.

  • AASW’s online professional development platform contains Mental Health specific on-demand training, as well as a selection of Live training which can be accessed through our events calendar. Accredited Clinical Social Workers are required to meet the CPD requirements annually to maintain their credential.
  • Social Work Australia is the AASWs online community of practice, providing a dynamic, member-led space for peer connection, support, discussion, and learning through shared practice knowledge, experiences and resources. There is a dedicated Clinical group where members can share and collaborate fellow credentialed members.

You are required to demonstrate that you have a minimum of five (5) years’ full-time equivalent (FTE) social work practice including a minimum of two (2) years full-time equivalent (FTE) social work practice experience in a clinical social work setting.

Where your social work clinical practice experience has been gained over an extended period, you need to show that you have the equivalent of two (2) year’s full-time post-qualification experience in clinical social work practice within the last five (5) years.  These roles must have been held after having qualified from an accredited social work course.

The below information can be used for you to make as assessment of each role you have performed, to determine if it is a clinical social work setting.

Clinical social work is considered to be a formal role in a counselling or therapeutic context which privileges working collaboratively on issues identified by the client or clients.

A clinical social worker draws on evidence-based theories and methods of prevention, assessment and treatment/intervention with a special focus on psychosocial and behavioural problems and disorders.

The practice of clinical social work is informed by the broader concepts intrinsic to social work practice such as enhancing the wellbeing of persons in their environment, inclusive of principles of social justice and human rights, person-centred and strengths focused interventions.

Specialised clinical social work practice is located in a broad range of practice settings as follows. Some of these are clinical settings however not all social work practice in clinical settings can be defined as clinical social work practice. The following list is not exhaustive:

  • Mental health
  • Sexual assault
  • Trauma services
  • Veteran services
  • Grief and loss
  • Family violence
  • Child and family support work
  • Hospitals
  • Aged care
  • Relationship counselling
  • Private practice
  • Child wellbeing
  • Chronic illness
  • Community health
  • IVF clinics
  • Cancer services
  • Indigenous health
  • Women’s health
  • Men’s health
  • Sexual health
  • Schools
  • Refugee and asylum seeker services
  • Disability

Clinical social workers will be familiar with social, psychological, cultural, sociopolitical, environmental and health factors that influence the mental, emotional, and behavioural wellbeing of their clients.

Overall, clinical social workers would use systems theories and a person-in-environment orientation, while drawing on a range of other approaches to inform their understanding of clinical need and case formulation. These may include:

  • Psychodynamic theory
  • Family systems and family therapy
  • Crisis intervention approaches
  • Strengths-based approaches
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Narrative therapy
  • Ecological approaches
  • Anti-oppressive practice
  • Radical approaches
  • Intersectionality
  • Empowerment
  • Feminist approaches
  • Humanistic and existentialist practice
  • Solutions-focused therapy
  • Attachment / Family of Origin Relational social work
  • Gestalt
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Payment for the Clinical Credential must be made in full before any new application, renewal, reinstatement, or secondary application (reassessment or appeal).