of Social Work allows for non-direct contact supervision as long as the proper telecommunications or technology is available.
Two state boards (both Social Work) allow telecommunications or distance learning as a part of their continuing education programs. The Tennessee Board of Social Worker Certification and Licensure allow for the use of the Internet, closed circuit television, satellite broadcasts, correspondence courses, videotapes, CD-ROM, DVD, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and distance learning. Not only does Idaho’s Board of Social Work Examiners allow some of these forms of continuing education, but it specifically cites rural areas as the reason for allowing them. “Because of our geographic location and sparse population, closed circuit television, videotapes, and correspondence courses may be substituted for face to face contact if coordinated by an approved instructor” (Rules of the State Board of Social Work Examiners, ID Rules 24.14.01-351.02, 1995). Who may supervise?
Most states require that the supervisor of an applicant for licensure be of the same profession and at or above the licensure level that the applicant is seeking. In some cases, the statutes or rules may make allowances for license applicants who are unable to find a supervisor within their profession. Often this language is vague, stating that when a same profession supervisor cannot be found, an alternate professional may be substituted as approved by the board. Some states do not even specify a profession, like Louisiana where the supervisors for professional counselors simply must be “board approved.” However, from our level of review of the licensing laws, there was no way to tell how easy or hard it is to get board approval for a supervisor.
In some states the statutes and rules are more generous in ascribing who can supervise an applicant for license. For example, Wyoming permits a great deal of cross-professional supervision: social workers, MFT’s & professional counselors may be supervised by a “qualified clinical supervisor” that includes LPCs, LCSWs, LMFTs, LACs (addictions counselors), licensed psychologists, licensed psychiatrists, licensed physicians with specialty in addictionology or licensed APRNs with psychiatric specialty. Other states have similar practices for certain professions, such as Utah, where approved supervisors for professional counselors include psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, registered psychiatric mental health nurse specialists and marriage & family therapists. Wyoming is unusual because even the psychology board permits some supervision by other mental health professionals, although a licensed psychologist must provide half of the required supervision. In New Hampshire, candidates for a mental health license may be supervised by almost any licensed mental health professional,