Getting a degree in social work is a wonderful way for individuals to advance their careers and to have more job opportunities open up to them. Those who enter into any social work profession will need to be skilled in working with people and should also be compassionate and caring. Furthermore, they must be mature, dedicated, and hardworking, since the education process can take a while.
Social workers help individuals to deal with issues that commonly come up in family or personal relationships. They may also help those individuals who suffer from disabilities, diseases, or social or mental problems. Some will work with those having trouble with housing, unemployment, or alcohol abuse. Those in less hands-on fields can opt to perform research, become advocates, or work in an administrative position.
The best way to get involved in social work is to receive a bachelor’s degree in social work from an accredited college or university. It may also be possible to enter into the field with a degree in psychology or sociology, especially if this degree is coupled with a master’s degree. It is always best, however, to choose a field of study that will directly relate in some way to social work. It is also important to note that the higher the degree level that a person holds, the more job opportunities he or she will have.
However, students must make the decision of which degree to pursue based on a wide variety of different factors. These can include time available to complete the degree, the type of work that the person plans to apply for, and educational background and personal history. Generally, a person can complete a bachelor’s degree program in around four years and a master’s degree program in about two years.
In addition to receiving the appropriate education, all states require social workers to be licensed. Licensing is done by the state board and will usually require a two year commitment to receiving supervised clinical experience. This experience will provide all of the hands on training that a degree cannot, and will enable students to enjoy success in their future careers as social workers.
Obviously, obtaining a degree in social work is something that takes a great deal of time, dedication, and commitment to successfully complete. Unfortunately, however, many people will embark upon a career in social work only to find out during the licensure process that it is not right for them.
Students can keep this from happening by doing extensive research on the job of their choice and talking to or shadowing others who currently work in the field. Careful planning and an honest assessment of one’s own skills, strengths, weaknesses, and abilities will ensure a good experience with the education process and that the person is not surprised or disappointed with any facet of a social work job.