How to Become a Social Worker

Become Team
Become Team
February 16, 2022

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Social workers help families access social services, support children dealing with bullies at school, and advocate for patients with health problems. Becoming a social worker requires several years of education and training. Clinical roles require a master's degree.

未来的社会工作者必须满足教育要求,申请许可证,并完成工作经验要求后才能执业。例如,临床社会工作者必须完成两年的临床经验,以获得他们的社会工作执照。

After meeting education requirements, social workers can practice in schools, child welfare organizations, mental health clinics, and other community organizations.

According to theBureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), jobs for social workers are projected to grow 11% between 2018 and 2028. The field also offers many opportunities for professional advancement. This page explains how to become a social worker, including the steps to becoming a social worker and job opportunities for social workers.

What Does a Social Worker Do?

Career Basics

Social workers help individuals and groups manage problems in their everyday lives. They also work in community organizations to develop programs that assist vulnerable populations.

On a daily basis, social workers conduct client assessments, connect clients with social service resources, and counsel clients on coping skills. Based on social work research, they determine the effectiveness of programs and services.

Clinical social workers treat clients with mental or behavioral issues. They can diagnose disorders and provide therapy to individuals or groups. Clinical social workers also create treatment plans for their clients and coordinate with healthcare professionals on treatment approaches.

Career In-Depth

Social workers pursue a variety of career paths. A social worker's professional environment shapes their responsibilities and daily tasks. Most social workers work in an office setting, but they may also work at schools or hospitals. In some roles, social workers offer counseling online or over the phone.

Government agencies, community organizations, and outpatient healthcare organizations all employ healthcare workers. Nearly half of themore than 700,000 social workersin the U.S. specialize in child, family, and school social work. Other common specialties include healthcare social work and mental health social work.

Social Worker Salary and Job Growth

Many social work careers offer strong salary potential and job growth. According to theBLS, social workers earned a median annual salary of more than $50,000 in 2019. Social workers benefit from strong job demand, with much faster than average growth in the field. The BLS projects the creation of 81,000 new social work jobs between 2018 and 2028

社会工作者的薪水因教育程度和经验而异。拥有硕士学位的社工通常比那些拥有学士学位的社工挣得更高。工作地点和工作地点也会影响社会工作人员的薪水。医疗保健社工的年薪中位数接近57,000美元,而儿童、家庭和学校社工的年薪中位数约为47,000美元。

Social workers can increase their salary by earning an advanced degree, pursuing an in-demand specialty, or adding professional certifications to demonstrate expertise in their field.

Six Steps to Becoming a Social Worker

Social workers must meet education requirements and apply for licensure before applying for social work jobs. Depending on the career, social workers may need a master's degree. Students wondering how to become a social worker can follow these six steps.

Step 1
Complete a bachelor's degree
Earning a bachelor's degree represents the first step to becoming a social worker. During a bachelor's degree, prospective social workers should take courses in social services, case management, and social work practice. While students do not need to major in social work to pursue opportunities in the field, courses, internships, and volunteer opportunities help prepare future social workers. Graduate programs in social work also require a bachelor's degree for admission.
Step 2
Choose a social work specialty
Social workers often specialize their training by focusing in an area like healthcare, school social work, mental health, or children and families. Selecting a social work specialty helps students build specialized knowledge and stand out on the job market. The specialty may include additional coursework or an internship.
While undergraduates can choose a specialty, many future social workers select a concentration at the graduate level.
Step 3
完成实习
Social workers complete an internship as part of the social worker education requirements. At the undergraduate level, the internship or practicum may include placements in social service organizations, schools, or government agencies. Social work students at the master's level complete a more extensive internship within their specialty area.
During an internship, social work students gain hands-on training in the field. They learn from experienced social workers while meeting the requirements for a social work license.
Step 4
Recommended: Earn a master of social work (MSW)
Many social work careers require an MSW. During an MSW program, social work students build advanced training in their field. Many programs offer concentrations in areas like macro social work or clinical social work. Earning an MSW takes two years.
在研究城市生活垃圾项目时,未来的学生应该考虑学费、专业选择和在线课程等因素。完成学位后,毕业生可以申请临床社工执照。
Step 5
Earn professional certification
在每个州,临床社会工作者必须持有州颁发的执业执照。虽然社会工作许可证的要求因州而异,但通常包括认可的社会工作学位,通过社会工作考试的分数,并完成监督实习时间。
非临床社会工作者也可能需要执照或证书。许多州为拥有学士学位的社会工作者提供BSW社会工作许可证。
Step 6
Find a social work position
After meeting the requirements for becoming a social worker, professionals can apply for social work jobs. Social workers work in a variety of settings, including at government agencies, social services organizations, hospitals, and schools. When applying for social work jobs, candidates should research the required education, certification, and work experience.
现在的社会工作学生可以在完成学位的同时寻找机会。在学校建立一个专业的网络可以帮助社会工作者过渡到劳动力。

Preparing to Become a Social Worker: Schools and Programs

为了满足社会工作者的教育要求,未来的社会工作者必须持有学士学位。有兴趣从事临床工作的学生必须持有城市生活垃圾学位,才能申请临床社会工作许可证。

Fortunately, prospective social workers benefit from many options when it comes to earning a social work degree. Most liberal arts and research institutions offer bachelor's degrees in social work, and a growing number of schools offer online social work degrees. For example,Columbia Universityand theUniversity of Southern Californiaboth grant online MSW degrees.

When researching social work programs, prospective students should consider factors such as the total cost of the degree, the length of the program, and enrollment options like online courses or part-time status. Some schools admit students at several start dates per year, while others enroll a cohort of social workers for fall start dates.

Prospective social workers can also research financial aid opportunities and internship requirements.

Social Work Requirements

There are general social worker requirements that apply in all states, but it's important to understand that prospective social workers will also have to meet the specific licensing guidelines in their state. These requirements can vary significantly from state to state.

Social work students who earn their degree in one state but choose to work in another should review the requirements in their target state and be sure they meet those specific social work requirements.

Requirements for employment in social work generally include:

There are general social worker requirements that apply in all states, but it's important to understand that prospective social workers will also have to meet the specific licensing guidelines in their state. These requirements can vary significantly from state to state.

Social work students who earn their degree in one state but choose to work in another should review the requirements in their target state and be sure they meet those specific social work requirements.

Requirements for employment in social work generally include:

A bachelor's degree in social work or a closely related fieldBSW为学生准备入门级工作。
A master's in social work: If you want to become a clinical social worker, chances are good that you may be required to complete an advanced degree in social work.
Supervised experience: Another common requirement is that you spend time getting hands-on experience in the field during your education. Nearly all colleges and universities include internships and supervised fieldwork as part of the social work curriculum.
Licensing所有50个州都要求临床社工必须持有执照。Licensing rules may vary by state, but these rules typically require supervised work experience and successful completion of theAssociation of Social Work Boardsclinical exam.

Social Worker Courses

社会工作学习者研究当前的社会问题、社会服务体系和社会工作的方法。在本科阶段,社会工作专业通过社会工作研究和案例管理等课程,对该领域进行基础训练。城市生活垃圾学位建立在这种培训的基础上,同时纳入了医疗保健社会工作或学校社会工作等专业的高级课程。

A social work curriculum builds critical thinking and research skills. Learners also gain hands-on training through projects and internships. While exact courses vary depending on the program, the following list represents a sample curriculum for a social work degree.

Foundations of Social Work

Many social work programs begin with an introductory course that offers a survey of the field. Students learn about social welfare organizations, social services, vulnerable populations, and major social issues. Coursework also explores social work practice, including evidence-based methods. This course prepares students for upper-division social work courses.

Social Work Practice

社会工作专业学习全面的社会工作实践,包括与个人、团体和社区工作。学生探索专业的核心概念,社会工作的伦理原则和社会工作理论。本课程可结合经验或实验室的组成部分,以建立社会工作技能。

School Social Work

School social work courses introduce students to the practice of social work in educational environments. Learners explore the role of social work interventions in school, vulnerable populations, and school social work ethics. Topics can also include designing programs and the delivery of school social work.

Social Work Statistics

Social workers rely on statistics to evaluate programs, propose changes to services, and monitor client outcomes. This course covers the statistical concepts used in social work research, including probability theory, hypothesis testing, and confidence intervals. By learning about social work statistics, students can evaluate data and design their own research projects.

Case Management

Case management courses emphasize the skills and practices needed to manage client cases. Topics may include the client assessment process, care planning, and coordinating service delivery. Students also learn about team-based approaches in case management and evaluating client outcomes. This course may also examine theoretical models in case management, cultural sensitivity in client interactions, and advocacy.

Accreditation for a Social Worker Program

未来的社会工作者在申请社会工作项目之前应该检查学校的认证。在社会工作领域,认证会影响毕业生的就业机会和获得职业执照的能力。In most states, candidates for social work licensure must attend a program accredited by theCouncil on Social Work Accreditation(CSWE).

CSWE-accredited programs meet the highest standard for educating social workers. This independent accrediting agency establishes educational standards and evaluates programs to make sure they follow the best practices in the field. The CSWE grants accreditation to BSW and MSW programs, including online social work programs.

After checking for CSWE accreditation, prospective students should also research the school's accreditation status. Students at accredited colleges and universities qualify for federal financial aid programs, and credits earned at an accredited school are more likely to transfer.

TheU.S. Department of Educationmaintains a database of accredited schools and programs.

Social Work Concentrations

Social workers can specialize in many areas, including clinical social work, school social work, and healthcare social work. A specialty helps social work students focus their training and prepare for specialized careers after graduation.

A BSW degree provides foundational training in many social work fields. Learners can then focus on a specific field during an MSW degree.

Depending on the program, social work students may choose a concentration for their degree or select electives to design a specialization. School social workers, for example, take courses in conflict mediation, case management, and mental health assessment for adolescents.

Depending on the MSW program you choose, you may be offered a number of concentrations to choose from. Some common concentration options include:

In addition to coursework, social work students complete an internship or practicum in their specialty area. School social work students may meet the practicum or clinical requirements at a local school, for example. By choosing a specialty, social workers can increase their job opportunities and pursue careers in specialized work environments.

Social Worker Certification

申请执照是成为社会工作者的最后步骤之一。临床社工必须持有各州颁发的执照。大多数州还要求其他社会工作者持有执照或证书,包括拥有学士学位的社会工作者。

许可证要求因州而异。在大多数州,候选人必须满足社工教育要求并通过考试。临床社会工作者必须持有硕士学位,并完成几年的监督临床经验,以获得他们的执照。

TheAssociation of Social Work Boardsadministers social work licensure examinations. In addition to licensure, social workers can pursueprofessional certifications在专业领域。

Components of a Successful Social Worker Career: Skills, Credentials, Tools, and Technology

Successful social workers share several characteristics. They bring certain skills to their career, stay current on licensure, and use helpful tools and technologies.

社工依靠强大的人际关系和沟通技巧与客户互动,促进健康的关系。社会工作也需要组织和解决问题的技巧来管理客户关系和解决问题。社会工作者也受益于强大的情感技能,包括耐心和同情心。

除了持有必要的执照外,社工还可以通过获得专业证书来展示他们的技能。NASW Social Work Credentials包括认证案例管理人员、认证学校社会工作者和医疗保健方面的认证社会工作者的选项。

这些高级实践专业证书帮助社会工作者在他们的职业生涯中前进。Social workers can also strengthen their careers by researchingtechnology in social work practice并追随行业趋势。

Social Worker Professional Organizations

Professional organizations provide resources on how to become a social worker and help social work students transition into practice. These organizations offer networking opportunities through conferences and events, provide professional development resources, and host career centers with job boards. Many also offer discounted memberships for students and scholarship opportunities.

FAQ on Becoming a Social Worker

社工到底是做什么的?

Social workers help people access social services and cope with problems. Clinical social workers can diagnose and treat behavioral disorders.

What are the different types of social workers?

Social workers specialize in many fields, including clinical social work, school social work, child and family social work, and healthcare social work.

What qualifications do you need to be a social worker?

Social workers need a bachelor's degree in the field. Many roles, including clinical positions, require a master's degree. Social workers must also hold a license in most states.

社会工作者需要接受多少教育?

Social workers need a bachelor's degree, which takes four years. In addition, clinical social workers must hold a master's degree, which takes two years.

要多久才能成为一名持牌社工?

社会工作者至少需要学士学位才能获得执照,通常需要四年左右的学习时间才能完成。要成为一名临床社会工作者,你需要获得社会工作硕士学位,这通常需要在你获得学士学位后一到三年的时间来获得。You will also need about two years of supervised work experience,according to the BLS. So, the time required to become a social worker varies, but it could take between four to eight years including your supervised hours.

Resources for Social Workers

Journal of Social Work Education

This peer-reviewed journal publishes research on social work and social welfare. Readers can review articles on current issues in social work, problems in social work education, and innovations in social work practice.

Association of Social Work Boards

The ASWB operates the social work licensing examinations required for becoming a social worker. These examinations test candidates on their social work practice. The association provides handbooks to prepare social work students for the examinations and offers information about testing accommodations.

Council on Social Work Education

Founded in 1952, CSWE accredits social work programs in the U.S. The council promotes quality social work education while also offering professional development resources and setting professional standards. CSWE also creates programs and tools to help social workers. Prospective social workers can visit the council's website to find accredited social work programs.

Social Work Today

《今日社会工作》是一份面向社会工作专业人士和学生的双月刊,内容涉及行为健康、专业实践和社会工作道德。《今日社会工作》也发表有关社会工作教育的文章,包括教育指南和继续教育资源。

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