Social work tends to attract those that want to be a public servant and help people. Social workers are found at the local, state, and federal levels of government. Jobs in this field range from community health specialists to agents for the Department of Health and Human Services. Social workers can also be agents of the court system. They intervene in situations when called upon by court order. This field provides a wide range of working environments for its workers. Social workers are found in the office, out in the field, and in courthouses. Future professionals with skills in communication and problem solving are a great fit for this field.
Professionals in this field are the main source of assistance for different groups within society that are in need of guidance.
The need for family assistance, abuse treatment, general food and shelter needs, and counseling are met by social workers. These professionals can create programs for individuals with few resources. If programs cannot be created, social workers can assist clients with referrals or even recommendations through different channels.
Even if are available to assist those in need, they might be difficult to navigate without the help of trained professionals. Social workers are there to help.
Those interested in the social work field generally have a goal of helping people with problems or issues.
Social Work Degrees
Social work is an area of study that continues to grow in popularity. More students are interested in becoming a part of a well-functioning society and providing direct assistance to their communities. In order to become a social worker, individuals must obtain the proper credentials.
Social Work Programs
Starting at the undergraduate level, applicants should choose a degree program that properly compliments the field they choose to work. Many students choose to get a Bachelor’s Degree in fields such as sociology or psychology.
Some colleges even offer undergraduate degrees in social work, which will blend the different social and psychology aspects. Students in these degree programs will take courses in social studies, social psychology, and communications.
In order to be the most effective professional in the field, students are also urged to get involved with community projects and community service. The experience gained from getting out into society will prove to be hugely beneficial for individuals interested in providing a public service in their community.
Graduate Degree Programs
Master’s of Social Work (MSW) Programs: This is the most common degree for social workers. After completion of an appropriate undergraduate program, students can choose either a master’s or doctoral path for their graduate program.
A Master’s degree in Social Work is the most common social work degree. This program requires an additional 2 years post-baccalaureate. While in a master’s program, students will be responsible for the application of techniques within the field as well as individual research studies. The purpose of a higher degree goes further than just gaining more knowledge.
The more experience an individual gets working in the field, the more reliable he or she will be as a professional. Graduate programs allow students to study on a more independent basis while providing the opportunity to apply different principles in a clinical setting.
Doctorate Programs Similar to that of the master’s program, the doctoral program also contributes a lot of independent learning. In a doctoral program, students will spend around 4 years learning new information, applying this learned information in a clinical setting, and working in the field in a residency requirement.
Students in this higher degree program will spend more time researching the different aspects of the social work field and gaining experience working hands on with the public. After completion of either of these higher degrees, students can begin seeking out licensure in their respective states.
Social Work Licensing Requirements
Licensure requirements vary by state. Generally, most states require that students complete at least a Master’s degree in Social Work, gain around 6 months to 1 year supervised experience, and pass the state board exam in social work.
Once these requirements are completed, graduates may qualify for licensure. As a licensed social worker, professionals can work in a large variety of different fields. Social workers are a vital piece to society. They assist people from all walks of life and all age groups in difficult situations.
Working in Human Services
Human services is large provider of social worker careers. Social workers working for this agency assist families struggling with poverty or other complex situations find solutions to every day struggles. Assistance with food, shelter, and clothing can be provided by social workers in this specialty. Social workers also work with children that are in need of special care.
You may also be interested in the Substance Abuse Counseling degree and can find our analysis of that program here.
Working with Children
Children suffering from abuse or neglect rely on social workers to help them get intervention within their families or new solutions overall. The elderly population also benefits from social workers, allowing them to assist with finding elder-care facilities as well as different community programs to assist with everyday living costs.
Some people interested in working solely with children and in the psychology field also choose the school psychology degree.
Social workers are an important piece to a working society though, unfortunately, this is not always reflected in monetary compensation. Social workers are some of the most sought out employees in large and small cities alike. The increasing population leads to more job openings in the social work field, with more professionals being needed to assist with the growing poverty and wellness of citizens. Social workers can earn around $45,500 per year according to the BLS. This figure can vary depending on location and experience.
Professionals in specialty areas can also earn more depending on the local demand of their specialties. Individuals interested in a career in social work should research the different career availability within their area to ensure the most profitable path is taken. The need for qualified social workers will only grow in response to the increasing population and changing economy.
These professionals are a diverse group that are found within a wide variety of work settings. When choosing a career, professionals want something that will last a lifetime and provide well for families. Social work is a field that can satisfy each aspect of a professional’s desires.
View our helpful psychology career guide or view all of the other psychology degree programs available by state here.