Since social work is a career path that focuses on helping other people as opposed to personal financial gain, there are many institutions and organizations that provide help and resources for prospective social workers. Here at CollegeReviews.net, we have compiled resources, such as our ranking of the best online master’s in social work degree programs, in order to help students find the school that will put them on the path towards achieving their goals. Beyond CollegeReviews.net, some other great resources for prospective social workers include:
- Practicing social workers, as they have firsthand knowledge of the career field.
- Academic advisors, if you are currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.
- College admissions counselors who work at the schools where you are looking to apply since they have information about their specific program.
- Consumer Reports, which let former students give an honest evaluation of their collegiate experience.
People with knowledge of the social work field are all going to tell you that the best place to learn how to become a social worker is in a master of social work program, which is a prerequisite for becoming a licensed social worker in most states. A masters in social work program will provide you with classes in psychology, ethics, and communication, and apply them to the field of social work. If you don’t know where to start and are looking for an overview of what it will take, the most common steps to becoming a social worker are:
- Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: The first step to becoming a social worker is to earn a bachelor’s degree. While some schools offer bachelor’s in social work degrees, a degree in an academic field related to social work will suffice, such as psychology, sociology, or biology.
- Apply to MSW Programs: Earning an MSW will qualify you for your social work license in all states.
- Choose a Social Work Specialization: MSW programs offer different types of specializations for social workers to choose from, including child and family care, geriatric, and hospice.
- Practicum Experience: The most important experience in an MSW degree program is the practicum where students will put their knowledge to the test in a real-world social work environment.
- Earn the Necessary Certifications: While social work certifications vary from state to state, your professors and advisors in your MSW degree program will know the specific requirements and help you gain your license.
- Find an Entry Level Social Work Job: Once you have your license you are ready to apply to social work jobs. There are currently 682,100 social workers employed full-time in the United States, with that number expected to increase by 16% over the next decade.
If you follow this path to becoming a social worker, you will find that there will be many people eager to help you along the way. Many social worker degree students are given large scholarship awards and financial aid packages, as they will provide one of the most important support systems for our society. Becoming a social worker will allow you to have a beneficial effect on many people’s lives.