How to Become a Social Worker
A degree in social work can lead to a variety of careers, all of which aim to assist those who are struggling with issues like mental illness, substance abuse, or poverty. In order to find creative and helpful solutions, social workers look at society's problems through various lenses, like the individual's perspective, society's view, political vantagepoints, and psychological angles. By educating or counseling clients in a group or one-on-one environment, social workers provide valuable services to the community. A bachelor’s degree from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the minimum requirement for an entry-level position in this field. Most states also require a social work license.
Social Work Degrees and Licensures by State
How to Become a Social Worker
To pursue a career in social work, it is necessary to earn an initial license. This gives licensees the title Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker and allows first-time social workers in most states to work under the supervision of an approved Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate degree opens the door to more advanced positions and allows a social worker to become a Licensed Master Social Worker or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker down the line. To obtain any of these licenses, one must pass a comprehensive exam.
To get licensed, aspiring social workers must first earn a bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor of Social Work is a four-year degree program that provides students with skills such as problem-solving, case management, crisis response, and utilizing community resources. Students are required to complete supervised fieldwork in an internship often in line with their chosen concentration. Depending on the state, students can obtain their initial license after they have earned their bachelor's degree and find a job where they can work under supervision.
The next step would be to look into graduate programs while gaining experience in an entry-level position. Depending on state regulations, a Master of Social Work may be required to work in some clinical and administrative fields. A graduate degree in social work focuses on professional policies and field practices, as well as human behavior and environment. Students will be able to dive deeper into their preferred focus and are required to complete fieldwork hours through an internship. Upon completion of a master’s degree, students can become a Licensed Master Social Worker, which allows them to work without supervision.
Social Work Careers
Depending on state requirements and education level, a social worker offers specialized care to those facing specific obstacles. They work in a number of settings, including one-on-one, group, family homes, and at the community level. A social worker's job often involves helping clients transition from a care facility back to their daily lives. A social worker will often work alongside school counselors, teachers, parents, and mental health specialists to better facilitate clients’ needs. Here are some of the most common social work careers.