How to Become a Social Worker
A social worker's job is to promote the welfare of those in need, and to instigate social change that benefits the greatest proportion of the community. When you become a social worker, you may find yourself working one on one with a client, with a family, a school group, or even an entire community. There are many tasks that a social worker could take on board to help improve the lives and circumstances of groups as well as individuals.
Working as a social worker will certainly have its challenges. However, you'll also be rewarded with the satisfaction that comes from spending your day helping people to make positive changes in their life, and building stronger communities.
To become a social worker, you'll need to be trustworthy. Your clients will need to be able to speak with you about personal problems. They will also have to respect you, in order to accept your help. Good interpersonal skills will come in handy, as will patience, tolerance, and empathy.
Education Requirements to Become a Social Worker
While the education needed to become a social worker varies from state to state, in most states you will need a four year bachelor's degree in social work or a human services degree. This will allow you to become licensed, and qualify you for an entry level role.
If you want to advance up the career ladder, you will need to complete a social work master's degree or MSW. You can complete these in social work, counseling, or a similar course which relates to your work.
If you're currently in high school and are looking in to your college education, a good resource is the Council on Social Work Education's, or CSWE website. They offer advice on which courses have attained accreditation, as well as state specific licensing information.
Social Worker Job Description
When you become a social worker, your job is to help people solve problems. You act as a resource, to provide advice, information, and help them to get through difficult periods of their life, or to set goals and improve their lives. Working as a social worker, you analyze the challenges a person, or group, are facing. You consider their background, culture, experience, and resources, and then work with them to implement a plan to overcome their issues.
Here are some of the tasks of a social worker:
- Meet with clients
- Discuss their current situation and reasons for visiting
- Provide counseling to clients
- Make an action plan for clients to use
- Provide information and resources which are of use
- Follow up with clients to measure their progress
Social Worker Salary and Career Path
When you become a social worker, there are many different career paths within this field that you may choose to take. Many social workers work with clients in the roles of a counselor or therapist. Others work in community of school groups. Some work in corrections facilities or for a support agency.
Most social workers begin their career working under others more experienced in the field. With a bit of experience, you will find yourself working on more challenging assignments with greater responsibility.
Many social workers go on to work in supervisory roles, or to other jobs within the welfare system. Some become researchers, or campaigners for social change. Others become involved with education. Here are some examples of other roles a social worker may move on to later in their career:
- Community Worker
- Campaign Manager
- School Teacher
The median salary for a social worker is $40,000 a year. Those just starting out could expect to earn around $30,000 a year. The top 10% of earners make over $68,000 a year. Employment prospects are excellent for those that decide to become a social worker, and this industry is growing faster than average when compared to other sectors.
If you are looking for a career that will offer you variety, as well as a chance to work within the community then you might like to become a social worker. With good employment prospects available, as well as the chance to contribute to social change, it is an attractive career path.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics