Becoming a social worker is a worthy goal. In the field of social work, you can positively impact the lives of other people of all ages and make society a better place to be. If you want to become a social worker, you must first obtain the proper education and training so that you are qualified for the work. By patiently, following these four basic steps, you can become a social worker in just a few years and achieve the career goals you have always dreamed of achieving.
1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree in social work. Find a school that offers a 4-year social work bachelor’s degree program, and enroll in it. During your four years at school, you will take a variety of classes that will teach about the different aspects of being a social worker, including case management, human behavior, and research. In addition to taking classes, your bachelor’s degree program should include 400 hours or more of field work in social services. This acts as a kind of internship so that you have hands-on experience in the field before you even graduate.
2. Look into graduate school programs. While graduate school is not absolutely necessary to pursue a career in social work, it does give you an edge when competing with other job seekers, and it can bring you a bigger salary down the road. During the 2 years of graduate school, in addition to more classes, you will be able to specialize in a specific type of social work, completing around 900 hours of field work in that specialization to give you experience.
3. Become licensed. Different states have different licensing requirements, so make sure you know the requirements for your state. In addition to having a degree, you are usually required to have a couple years worth of supervised clinical experience. After that, you take a licensing exam. The exact contents of the licensing exam vary according to your specialization and your desired licensing level, and it is around 170 questions long.
4. Seek employment. Once you are licensed and have the necessary education, training, and experience, you are ready to find a job as a social worker. Social workers often find jobs with the government, in hospitals, with agencies that work with individual families, or with schools and other similar institutions. The more education and clinical experience you have, the easier it will be for you to find a job. You can also sign up for different social worker associations that can help you find employment.
Pursuing a career in social work can take several years and lots of hard work, but the end reward is worth it as you help others lead a better life. By focusing on your education and taking every opportunity to gain experience in the field, you will be able to find your dream job as a social worker and start a career that you can be proud of. By picking a specialization and obtaining specialized education and experience, you can make very specific career goals for yourself, too.