Social workers enable clients to identify and work through the particular struggles or difficulties they face in their lives. They do this by creating steps for action, offering support, and providing resources to help people find better ways to manage and cope with their difficult circumstances
Schools with Social Worker Programs
The following social worker programs offer bachelor's degrees in social work, which is the minimum educational requirement for a social worker. Some employers may consider an applicant who has a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as sociology or psychology.
- Brandman University: This university, located in Irvine, California, offers an on-campus and online version of their Bachelor of Arts in social work program.
- Portland State University: This state university in Portland, Oregon trains individuals to assume roles of generalist social workers within diverse populations.
- San Francisco State University: The goal of this on-campus program is to prepare graduates to work as social workers, particularly in urban settings.
- The University of Pittsburgh: The School of Social work at this university prepares graduates to work in a wide variety of social work settings.
- The University of Texas: This state university offers a bachelor's of social work at their Austin campus that includes 480 clock hours of fieldwork in a social services agency.
Social Worker Education Requirements
A bachelor's degree in social work is typically needed to enter the field, although a degree in psychology, sociology or another field may enable some people to seek entry-level positions. A master's degree in social work may be more desirable in some cases.
For example, those who want to go into clinical work or find positions in school settings should pursue a master's degree in social work. Some jobs might require a master's degree with an emphasis in a certain area, such as administration or social welfare policy. If you intend to go into research or seek a university teaching position, a doctorate in social work is usually the requirement.
Social Worker Training and Coursework
Coursework within a bachelor's degree program is designed to help you approach culturally diverse, at-risk populations with professionalism and knowledge. Courses that train you how to become a social worker typically focus on the following areas:
- Social work values and ethics
- Working with cultural diversity
- Social and economic justice
- Human behavior and the social environment
- Social welfare policy and services
Beyond in-class learning, accredited social work programs require a minimum 400 hours of field experience. To become a licensed clinical social worker, most states require two years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work. All states have licensing, certification, and registration requirements, and you should be aware of your state's rules before committing to a degree program.
Advancing to a supervisory position typically means earning an additional degree and attaining more years of work experience. Going into private practice requires earning a master's degree and undergoing a period of supervised work.
Social Worker Resources
- Social Work Today
- National Association of Social Workers
- Association of Social Work Boards
- Council on Social Work Education
- American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work
- Brandman University, https://www.brandman.edu/arts-sciences/ba-social-work
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm
- The Certified Social Work Case Manager, National Association of Social Workers. https://www.socialworkers.org/credentials/specialty/c-swcm.asp
- How Does a Social Worker Obtain a License? USC Social Work Virtual Academic Center, https://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/how-does-a-social-worker-obtain-a-license/
- Portland State University, https://www.pdx.edu/ssw/bachelors-in-social-work
- San Francisco State University, http://socwork.sfsu.edu/content/basw-program-information
- University of Pittsburgh, http://www.socialwork.pitt.edu/
University of Texas, https://socialwork.utexas.edu/bsw/