Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Why is the AASW launching more credentials?

The development of credentials was identified as a key focus in the AASW’s Strategic Plan 2018 - 2021. Expanding our credentialing program builds on the promotion and advocacy for the profession of social work and AASW members. Credentials uphold the standards for regulation of the profession, social justice and builds the professional capacity of our members.

Members who are accredited gain recognition for specialised social work practice in a range of areas. The credential assures clients and their families, the Australian community, employers and funding bodies that accredited social workers have acquired a distinguished level of expertise in their field of practice and are committed to their ongoing professional development.

How much does a credential cost?

The fees vary for the different credentials. You can view the full schedule of fees here.

How will the AASW ensure ongoing development and collaboration for those social workers who have obtained a credential and renew annually?

The Association is continually investing in the credentials program for members who obtain a credential. Investment has already been made in the following areas:

Focused Professional Development

The AASW has a dedicated Continuing Professional Development team who are creating new training content focused on the credentials. Some of this training is already accessible to credentialed members and can be viewed in the professional development section of the AASW web site

Access to a community of other credentialed members

The AASW has recently launched the AASW Online Community Hub, known as Social Work Australia. All members are encouraged to join the hub and the specific groups in the same areas of interest as the credentials program.

The Hub will facilitate connection, community and collaboration amongst credentialed members in their area of specialty, enriching the skills and knowledge of members of the group.

Promoting credentialed members to the sector

The AASW has worked with and will continue to promote the credentials to the wider sector, including with major employers such as government departments, hospitals, the NDIS and private health insurers to create career opportunities for credentialed members.

Can I apply for multiple credentials?

Yes, social workers who meet the eligibility criteria for multiple AASW credentials are encouraged to apply for each that will benefit your work.

How were capability frameworks that underpin the new credentials developed?

The AASW have worked closely with national Expert Advisory Groups to develop the Capability Frameworks. Members of the expert advisory group were experienced social workers engaged in public, government, non-government and academic capacities. Consultation was conducted with members and external stakeholders.

How will I complete my case study task?

It is important that your capability assessment has the appropriate rigour so that clients, carers, the community, employers and other professions can confidently place trust in the credentialing process and credential holder.

Therefore, as part of the application process you will be required to complete a case study-based assessment to demonstrate your breadth of applied knowledge. This will be conducted at a date and time of your choosing which can be during working hours or on the weekend/outside of normal work hours.

You will need to nominate an invigilator who can observe you for the duration of the exam. Your invigilator cannot be a family member, spouse/partner or a direct report.

You may use a supervisor or manager in your workplace, a colleague outside your team, a Justice of the Peace (JP), or anybody who you can engage that you do not have a personal relationship with, such as an acquaintance.

The AASW makes contact with the Invigilator prior to the case study task to clarify their role and verify their identity. Both you and your invigilator will also be required to sign a declaration that the case study task conditions have been met.

For more information about the case study activity for AMHSW, please click here.
What is the difference between an Accredited Mental Health Accredited Social Worker (AMHSW) and an Accredited Clinical Social Worker?

The clinical social work credential recognises advanced direct practice in a diverse range of practice settings. It recognises a breadth of practice and is broader than mental health.

How do I maintain my credential?

Once you have successfully obtained your credential, you must maintain it by:

  1. Meeting your annual CPD requirements
  2. Meeting your recency of practice requirements
  3. Renewing your annual AASW membership and paying the associated fee each financial year
  4. Renewing your annual AASW credential membership and paying the associated fee each financial year.
Can I put my credential status on hold?

There is no official process for putting your credential status on hold. Rather, if you choose not to renew your credential for any specific financial year, your credential membership will lapse, and you will be required to apply for reinstatement if you choose to renew it in the future.

If you need to re-instate your credential, you will need to follow the re-instatement process.

What is the process for reinstating a lapsed credential?

You can find information about the process and costs for reinstating your credential here.

Where can I find the capability statement for the credential I would like to apply for?

We have created an e-guide called Everything you need to know about applying for a credential to assist you with the application process.   You can find links to the capability statements on page 6.  We recommend that you download the e-guide and save it to your desktop so that you can refer to it as you prepare to apply for a credential.

Recording of Credential Information Webinar

Access our free 45-minute webinar to gain a deeper understanding of why are credentials important, what’s involved in applying and how a credential sets you apart.

What you’ll learn:

- Why the AASW has expanded the program and how social workers and employers benefit
- Hear from an AASW member and social worker on her experience of applying for a credential and how holding a credential has opened up opportunities
- What benefits employers gain when members of their team hold an AASW credential
- Tips for applying.

Child Protection Credential FAQs

What specific resources and development will the association be providing for Accredited Child Protection Social Workers?
  • AASW's online professional development platform contains Child Protection specific on-demand training, as well as a selection of Live training which can be accessed through our events calendar. Accredited Child Protection Social Workers are required to are required to meet the CPD requirements annually to maintain their credential.
  • Social Work Australia is the AASW’s 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 Child Protection group where members can share and collaborate fellow credentialed members.
Am I eligible for the Child Protection Credential if I don’t work in direct child protection practice?

Applicants who are not currently working in direct practice can also be eligible for the child protection credential if they can demonstrate their understanding of the child protection capabilities that are fundamental to their ability to perform their role. This might apply to roles such as research, education and leadership and management roles.

How can I determine if a role I have performed meets the eligibility requirements of Criteria 2a?

You are required to show at least two (2) years’ full-time equivalent, post-qualification experience within the past five (5) years in a child protection setting. You must only include in this section employment positions from within the last five (5) years that are relevant to child protection. These roles must have been held after having qualified from an accredited social work course.

Direct and Indirect Practice - Applicants who are not currently working in direct practice can also be eligible for the child protection credential if you can demonstrate that your understanding of the child protection capabilities is fundamental to your ability to perform your role. This might apply to roles such as research, education and leadership and management roles.

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

Child Protection practice settings

Examples of specific settings can include, but are not limited to:

  • State statutory child protection agencies
  • Specialist family support and counselling services
  • Foster care
  • Residential care
  • Children’s commissions
  • Forensic and correctional services
  • Hospital and community health
  • Joint investigation response teams
  • Child wellbeing units
  • Adoption agencies
  • Management and governance

Scope of Child Protection Practice

The scope of social work practice in child protection includes, but is not limited to:

  • Attending to the physical, emotional, educational needs and spiritual wellbeing of children who enter the child protection system
  • Early identification and risk reduction
  • Risk assessment
  • Psychosocial assessments
  • Crisis intervention
  • Therapeutic interventions
  • Network facilitation for the child and family
  • Socio-legal and ethical decision making
  • Long-term planning
  • Family intervention and support
  • Leadership in case management and collaboration
  • Advocacy
  • Attention to specific cultural issues when placing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • Policy development, and research.

Clinical Credential FAQs

Why should I apply for a Clinical Credential if I am already a member of the Clinical College?

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.

Why do I have to demonstrate more experience for the Clinical Credential than the other Credentials?

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.

Can I provide services under Medicare if I am an Accredited Clinical Social Worker?

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

What specific resources and development will the association be providing for Accredited Clinical Social Workers?
  • 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.
How can I determine if a role I have performed meets the eligibility requirements of Criteria 2a?

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 

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.

Clinical social work practice settings

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 work knowledge base

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)

Disability Credential FAQs

What specific resources and development will the association be providing for Accredited Disability Social Workers?
  • Our Social Work Online Training platform contains Disability specific on-demand training, as well as a selection of Live training which can be accessed through our events calendar. Accredited Disability Social Workers are required to 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 Disability group where members can share and collaborate fellow credentialed members.
Am I eligible for the Disability Credential if I don’t work in direct disability practice?

Applicants who are not currently working in direct practice can also be eligible for the disability credential if they can demonstrate their understanding of the disability capabilities that are fundamental to their ability to perform their role. This might apply to roles such as research, education and leadership and management roles.

How can I determine if a role I have performed meets the eligibility requirements of Criteria 2a?

You are required to show at least two (2) years’ full-time equivalent, post-qualification experience within the past five (5) years in a disability setting. You must only include in this section employment positions from within the last five (5) years that are relevant to disability. These roles must have been held after having qualified from an accredited social work course.

Direct and Indirect Practice - Applicants who are not currently working in direct practice can also be eligible for the disability credential if you can demonstrate that your understanding of the disability capabilities is fundamental to your ability to perform your role. This might apply to roles such as research, education and leadership and management roles.

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

Disability Practice Settings

Social work with people with disability can occur in any practice context. Examples of specific settings can include, but are not limited to

  • The National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Information, Linkages and Capacity Building programs (ILC)
  • Disability service providers
  • Advocacy services
  • Indigenous support services
  • All levels of healthcare
  • All levels of education
  • Early intervention services
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Aged care services
  • Mental health services
  • Homelessness services
  • Child protection services
  • Justice services
  • Policy and research

Scope of Disability Practice

Social work practice in this field spans a number of approaches and, depending on the role, can include:

  • Assessment
  • Capacity building
  • Case management and service coordination
  • Advocacy
  • Counselling and therapeutic approaches
  • Planning
  • Mediation and conflict resolution
  • Policy and program design and research
  • Provision of specialist expertise.

Family Violence Credentials FAQs

What specific resources and development will the association be providing for Accredited Family Violence Social Workers?
  • Our Social Work Online Training platform contains Family Violence specific on-demand training, as well as a selection of Live training which can be accessed through our events calendar. Accredited Family Violence 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 Family Violence group where members can share and collaborate fellow credentialed members.
Am I eligible for the Family Violence Credential if I don’t work in direct family violence practice?

Applicants who are not currently working in direct practice can also be eligible for the family violence credential if they can demonstrate their understanding of the family violence capabilities that are fundamental to their ability to perform their role. This might apply to roles such as research, education and leadership and management roles.

How can I determine if a role I have performed meets the eligibility requirements of Criteria 2a?

You are required to show at least two (2) years’ full-time equivalent, post-qualification experience within the past five (5) years in a family violence setting. You must only include in this section employment positions from within the last five (5) years that are relevant to family violence. These roles must have been held after having qualified from an accredited social work course.

Direct and Indirect Practice - Applicants who are not currently working in direct practice can also be eligible for the family violence credential if you can demonstrate that your understanding of the family violence capabilities is fundamental to your ability to perform your role. This might apply to roles such as research, education and leadership and management roles.

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

Family Violence Practice Settings

In the field of family violence, social workers are employed in a broad range of roles and organisations providing prevention, early intervention, crisis and long term responses. However, social work with victims/survivors of family violence can occur in any practice context.

  • Advocacy groups
  • Aged care
  • Antenatal and postnatal services
  • Child protection
  • Community health services
  • Community legal centres
  • Corrections systems
  • Crisis accommodation and refuges
  • Disability services
  • Drug and alcohol services
  • Family support services
  • Family violence support and
  • outreach services
  • Homelessness service
  • Hospitals
  • Indigenous support services
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
  • gender diverse, intersex and queer
  • (LGBTIQ+) services
  • Magistrates’ Courts, Family Court
  • and other court support services
  • Mental health services
  • Multicultural or CALD agencies
  • Policy and research
  • Schools and other organisations that
  • work with young people
  • Sexual assault services
  • Women’s health organisations
  • Women’s support services

Scope of Family Violence Practice

When working with women, the scope of social work practice in family violence includes:

  • Prevention and Early Intervention
  • Assessment
  • Crisis Interventions
  • Counselling, therapeutic interventions and group work
  • Case management and service coordination
  • Advocacy & social activism
  • Policy and research.

Mental Health Credentials FAQs

What specific resources and development does the AASW provide for Accredited Mental Health Social Workers?
Which government-funded programs and initiatives recognise Accredited Mental Health Social Workers?

The following Medicare programs and federal government initiatives recognise Accredited Mental Health Social Workers as being eligible to provide a particular service. Some may ask social workers to meet additional requirements.

As outlined by Australian Government: Department of Health, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers who have a Medicare provider number may only provide Focussed Psychological Strategies' (FPS) services through the Better Access to Mental Health Care, Chronic Disease Management and Access to Allied Psychological Services programs.

What advocacy does the AASW do on behalf of Accredited Mental Health Social Workers?

AASW advocacy has led to many breakthroughs for Accredited Mental Health Social Workers, including the ability to provide services under Medicare. We advocate for better social policy in this space through submissions to government and independent inquiries, including national and state senate inquiries and royal commissions. We have a dedicated Mental Health Social Policy and Advocacy Officer available at mhadvocacy@aasw.asn.au.

Click here for more information on Mental health advocacy

Additional FAQs for Mental Health can be found here

Everything You Need to Know About Applying

Download our guide on how to get ready for applying for a credential

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