Educational Requirements For A Social worker

We will discuss about the education required, certification, experience, license requirements and much more to become a successful social worker.

Updated by Rakshitha N on 12th June 2020

Planning to become a social worker? It is a great profession to pursue if you are really interested and if your goals align with the outcomes of the job profile. 

Social workers are ones who are eager to help people and participate in social events for a cause which impacts positively in the surrounding. They also strive to resolve the social issues concerning people.  With a good salary of $64,550 earned annually, there is an average job growth of 11 percent over the period of 2018 to 2028, this is the right time for you to make a decision to become a social worker.

Becoming a social worker is challenging and interesting if you are dedicated to follow the steps to guide you systematically. In this article, there are a number of education and career requirements to meet to become qualified which we will discuss in detail further. 

Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

A bachelor’s degree is a 4 year program which is used to gain the basic skills required to pursue the further advanced degrees. It also allows you to get the necessary prerequisites and the techniques you can implement in your future workplace. The coursework usually includes management principles, policies, community development, program organization, utilizing community resources and administration tasks. 

Some colleges which offer common social work programs are,


Master’s Degree in Social Work

It is an advanced degree which helps in learning the specialisation courses based on the field of interest such as welfare policy, human behavior and the social environment, community, children, youth, families and their mental health. 

This degree is essential to get an employment as most hirers look for candidates with an advanced degree. To choose this degree and advance your career, you must be well aware about the time it takes to meet the requirements to plan your career accordingly.


Field Experience 

After meeting the educational requirements, you must work towards occurring experience in the relevant field to earn knowledge on the practical techniques and get broader understanding. The minimum period to gain experience is for about 6 months or a specified amount of hours. Interning at organizations such as the National Military Family Association, the National Remember our Troop Campaign, The Department of Veteran Affairs, Fisher House Foundation, and more can give you valuable experience. Another method is by getting a part-time job , attending workshops , training programs and others. 


Certification

Earning a certification is optional in this field also you could volunteer work towards getting certified. You could consider getting certification from the NASWto increase your credentials, employability and become more marketable. Certifications are beneficial to seek positions and represent your volunteering nature which is the key for social workers. 


Licensure Requirements

Earning a license in social work demonstrates your skills and proficiency in knowledge required to work in this profession. To obtain a license, you must complete your undergraduate degree and master’s degree offered by a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education Commission on Accreditation (CSWE). 

You could also choose to earn a license after bachelor’s degree known as a licensed bachelor’s or baccalaureate social worker (LBSW). Earning license after master's degree is known as a licensed master’s social worker (LMSW).

You are also required to get experience for several thousands of hours and pass the licensure exam. 


Skills Required

  • crisis response

  • Critical thinking

  • Commitment

  • Proactive

  • Volunteering

  • Communication skills

  • Decision making

  • Teamwork 

  • Strong network building ability

  • Treatment designing capabilities


Conclusion

Interested students willing to be a social worker can go through the National Association of Social Workers and the Council on Social Work Education to gain resources. It is a right decision to pursue this career if your short and long term goals align with program outcomes. Plan your future today.