The field of Social Work is a growing and rewarding field offering support services to people and family of diverse cultures and backgrounds. For students interested in a Social Work career, several programs are offered that are flexible and convenient for you to pursue a career in this field.
The United States offers several accredited degree programs across the country that provide knowledgeable faculty in convenient online settings. A degree in this field can help prepare you for the latest methods used in a Social Work career. Online programs are better suited for adults who work and have families.
For more information involving a career in Social Work, please see the information below to help you make decisions regarding your future career.
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Social Work Degree Programs
The Social Work field is growing, offering students a lot of opportunities to pursue a higher education in this area. If you are interested in a career in the Social Work field, you should start by earning a Bachelors degree, and then completing a graduate program, earning the minimum requirements for licensure in this field. A graduate degree in Social Work and an internship or field work will help prepare you to sit for the licensure exam. Information is listed below that gives insight into these program options. Students should consider what degree program best works for their schedule and future professional plans.
- Masters: Social Workers who want to pursue private practice need to be eligible for licensure, which is acquired at a Masters level. Higher education programs specializing in Social Work sometimes require 2-3 years of graduate school after completing a Bachelors degree. An internship is common and expected upon completion of your program. Internships help students to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field. Online Masters programs are ideal for students who work full time or need flexibility while pursuing a degree in Social Work.
- Doctoral: Once students have graduated from a Masters level program in Social Work, they have the option to enroll in a doctoral program which will increase opportunities and advancement in this field. Doctoral programs can enable practicing Social Workers who want to focus on research and development within the family dynamics.
- Certificate Programs: Certificates can be obtained after completion of a Bachelors or Masters degree. Certificates do not replace degrees, but they add extra training and skills to your resume when pursuing a career. Certificates can be added to your current degree with specializations in focus areas.
Online Master of Social Work Programs
Numerous opportunities are available to earn a Masters degree in Social Work through an online format. For students with busy schedules, online programs can be a better choice with more flexible options to fit those schedules. A career in Social Work can be started upon completing a Masters in Social Work. Below are online programs for Social Work that are currently accepting applications for new students:
- Baylor University- Online Masters in Social Work: Baylor University’s online Masters in Social Work program provides a flexible option for students interested in a specialized curriculum that can prepare for licensure in Social Work. This 60 credit hour degree can be completed online in 2-3 years. This program focuses on Social Work in a clinical or community setting.
- Fordham University – Online Masters in Social Work: Fordham University currently offers an innovative online Masters in Social Work degree program that can provide you with specialized training working with individuals and family. This 66 credit hour program can be completed in 2 years for students attending full time.
Sample Courses for the Online MSW
Coursework in the Social Work program can help improve your skills and advance your talents when building professional relationships with individuals. Working with families and relating to people with various background and diverse cultures are important when pursuing a career in Social Work. These classes help establish a history in the Social Work field as well as provide students with the latest trends used by Social Workers when working in the community.
Studying in the Social Work program gives you an opportunity to focus on acquiring information that can empower you to be successful in your career choices. Graduate Social Work coursework offers students the chance to be knowledgeable experts in the field of Clinical, Family, and Community Social Work. Students interested in a Masters in Social Work, should read below:
- Social Policy for Social Work Practice: Social Work is a field that is guided by numerous standards and practice. In this course, you will study policies by which to practice, whether working with families in a community setting or clients in a private office. Knowing what methods work and how to know which model to use for your client’s current situation is important for success in this field. You will focus on the latest trends used in the community and in clinical practice.
- History of Social Work in the US: This course will teach the basis for which Social Work developed in this country and the premises on which it is practiced. You will study established names in the field who theorized and developed the techniques used by those who still practice today. The progress made in the field over the decades will be looked at and studied in regards to changes in policy and theory over the years.
- Current Developments: Students in this field will focus on the current research being done in Social Work. Students will study current theories and how those are used by a Social Worker in therapy. New methods will be studied, as well as changing trends in theory and practice.
What Does a Social Worker Do?
Social Workers can use expert knowledge to counsel patients diagnosed with mental health disorders or apply their skills to assist children and families in need of services. This career path provides opportunities to diagnose clients, administer evaluations and assessments, and participate in research concerning family dynamics.
A typical work day for Social Workers includes setting up services for families and individuals, counseling and assisting clients, or providing therapy and support to households that could use extra guidance and coping skills. Social Workers fill different roles on a day-to-day basis depending on their job settings and client base. Social Workers can work with families that have a history of mental health disease, patients that struggle with substance abuse, or families dealing with medical issues and discharge planning. Social Work degrees enable students to help others learn to cope in life and get the extra assistance they need to deal with everyday struggles.
Path to a Career in Social Work
Social Work is a promising field and offers numerous opportunities to work with people from diverse backgrounds and social classes. Social Workers have choices between working in schools, hospitals, clinics, or private practice. Social Workers can diagnose, counsel, or assist families and clients by using their education and expertise to empower people. Social Workers get the chance to work with children, recovering addicts, families, or communities on various levels.
You can have a career in Social Work from earning a Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate degree. Most states require that you obtain at least a Masters in Social Work, as well as complete around 2 years of supervised experience in the field, if you want to practice with a license. A licensing examination is then completed in order to receive your license.
Organizations to Know
Numerous organizations exist that allow you to receive support and guidance from experienced professionals in the field of Social Work. Joining organizations in your career field helps you stay up to date on the latest methods and trends being practiced in your profession. You can also get updates on new job opportunities posted in your field. Organizations also offer conferences throughout the year that will help you stay trained and receive new knowledge after you have finished college.
Organizations such as the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work, the National Association of Social Work, and Council on Social Work Education all offer support and guidance to new Social Workers practicing in this field. These agencies also offer guidelines and suggestions on obtaining licensure and provide information on conferences for ongoing training and job enrichment.
Careers to Consider
Careers in Social Work offer numerous job opportunities in various settings. Social Workers can work in the school setting with children and teens, or work in drug rehab clinics helping clients who struggle with addictions. Social Workers are needed in hospital settings to help patients with discharge planning or in nursing homes to ensure needs are being met for patients incompetent of caring for themselves. Upon obtaining a licensure in Social Work, professionals have the choice to work in private practice, offering counseling services to people with mental health diagnoses.
If you have a desire to develop a career in Social Work, you can do so through community mental health, research, or even through consultation services. Social Workers are needed as resources for families from various socioeconomic statuses and diverse cultures. Social Workers can work with clients of any age from children to geriatrics. Social Work is a rewarding field in which to establish a life-long career.