Clinical social work is a profession whose practitioners provide more behavioral healthcare services than any other in America. Like any other true profession—medicine, psychology, the law, etc.—it requires mastery of an extensive body of knowledge that can only be attained through the rigors of graduate education. It also requires mastery of a set of skills that are developed in the process of intense, extended, post-graduate training while engaged in actual practice. This combination of education, training, and experience is the means by which clinical social workers achieve competence in addressing bio-psychosocial problems and disorders.

Clinical social work is distinct from the field of generic social work as well as from psychology and psychiatry. Its practitioners are state-licensed separately based on unique values, person-in-environment perspective, graduate-level education provided by about 200 graduate schools, and specialized post-graduate training. Clinical social work stands on its own as a highly respected profession, recognized as such by every state in the U.S., the insurance industry, the Department of Defense, the VA, and many other federal entities.