The right education can help you become a social worker and make a difference in the lives of others. Social workers can work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and schools, to help others deal with a variety of issues, from relationship problems and traumatic events, to substance abuse, illness, and more. So if you are interested in becoming a social worker, continue reading to learn about how to get there.
Get the Right Education
In order to become a social worker, you will need either a bachelor level degree in sociology (or a related field) or a masters in social work degree from a reputable and accredited school. The type of degree that you need will depend upon the license requirements for your state, and the level of service that you want to provide. If you do decide to get a master’s, you will need to get your bachelor’s degree first, so you will have to be prepared to put in a few years of work in school before you are qualified for a job in social work.
Get Your License
After you have received the proper college education as required by your state, you can then apply for your license in social work. In general, there are four categories for social work licenses, and these are a bachelor’s license, a master’s license, an advanced generalist license, and a clinical license. You will also need to pass a competency exam from the Association of Social Work Board prior to becoming qualified to work.
Look for a Job
Once you have received the proper level of education and you have become certified in social work, it is time to look for a job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that roughly 29% of all social workers were working in local and state governments as of 2014. Another 18% were working for families and individuals, while another 13% were employed by ambulatory healthcare services. Additionally, 11% of social workers were employed by hospitals, and another 9% were working in residential care facilities and nursing facilities.
In terms of job outlook, you might find it easier to locate a great job opportunity if you are looking for work in a suburb or in a city, as this is where the majority of social work positions tend to be found. To make your job search easier, you can also receive helpful consulting services from the National Association of Social Workers. Its online career center could connect you with potential employers and increase your odds of landing a job that you will enjoy and that will pay well.
As you can see, the path to becoming a social worker is one that requires dedication and hard work. In addition to getting the right education, and potentially going to school for six or more years until you are qualified to take the licensure exam, you will also need to work hard to find the right position. However, because social workers are in high demand and the career is fulfilling, it will all be worthwhile.