A hospice social worker helps patients with terminally ill conditions and their families. Similarly, a palliative care social worker plays a vital role in improving the quality of life of patients with incurable diseases. Those who would like to advance to key job positions in hospice or palliative care social work can seek certification on a national level. By obtaining certification as a palliative care or hospice social worker, individuals can enhance their job prospects and get closer towards achieving career goals in the field of social work.
A primary certifying body for hospice social workers (and palliative care) is the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). This organization provides certification as a basic certified hospice and palliative social worker and an advanced certified hospice and palliative social worker. Other social worker organizations and associations may also provide their own certification. This article will deal with the specific hospice social worker certification requirements from the National Association of Social Workers and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). These organizations joints certify social workers for hospice and palliative care.
NASW and NHPCO have the basic certification for social workers with a bachelor’s degree and the advanced certification for those with a master’s degree. Both sets of applicants must be members of both NAWS and the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals (NCHPP).
You can get access to all of the hospice social worker and palliative care membership and certiification applications on the NASW website at socialworkers.org/credentials/credentials/chpsw.asp.
Here are the additional requirements for the basic certification:
1. Graduate of a bachelor’s degree program in social work;
2. State license if your state licenses social workers with a bachelor’s degree;
3. At least 20 hours of continuing education credits related to hospice social work or palliative care (40 for non-licensed social workers);
4. Two years of full-time experience in a hospice or palliative-care setting (4 years for non-licensed social workers).
Those with the 20 hours of CE credits must earn them within two years of the application. Applicants with the 40-hour requirement must complete them within the previous five years. The work experience must be within the five years before the application.
References will also be necessary, and there are some other details that you should look at on the hospice social worker certification application.
Here are the additional requirements for advanced hospice social work certification:
1. Graduate of at least a master’s degree in social work;
2. At least 3000 hours of supervised social work experience in hospice or palliative care;
3. At least two years of paid hospice social work or palliative social work (within the last five years);
4. State license or certification as a social worker;
5. Passing score on the Association of Social Work Boards master, clinical or advanced generalist social work exam; and
6. At least 20 hours of continuing education directly related to hospice or palliative social work.
You will also need some references from supervisors as part of the application packet. See the Sources below for access to the application materials.
Transcripts should be sent to the following address:
NASW Credentialing Center
750 1st Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
NASW Certification Standards for Hospice and Palliative Social Workers