Social workers are specialists that help to guide and support individuals in need of help through everyday problems that they may face. They tackle a wide variety of everyday social issues through techniques that range from the general to the advanced. If you feel an urge to provide help to your community by helping children, elderly folks in care or those in need of specific healthcare, you should think about getting involved with social work.
Why Should You Consider Social Work Employment?
Aside from being a job with high satisfaction, social work can provide you with tools to help you succeed in everyday life (including interpersonal skills), as well as good employability. The US Bureau for Labor Statistics predicted a 16% employment growth for social workers in the years between 2016 and 2026 (to put that into perspective, the average employment growth is around 7%). A large proportion of this growth comes from the predicted increased demand for social workers that specialize in working with children, as well as wider family-related work in general. This is enhanced by the increase in facilities that support social work and a culture that is greater appreciating mental and physical health. Higher awareness of mental health issues means that individuals suffering from substance abuse, cognitive difficulties in aging (possibly related to dementia) and more general mental illnesses are more likely to receive social work care. If caring for these subgroups specifically interests you, specialized social working may be the career for you.
What Qualifications Do You Need?
If you’ve established that you want to embark on a career where you can make a direct impact and improve people’s lives, you are probably wondering which qualifications you need to be granted with such positions of responsibility. The most popular social work degrees include a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW), master’s degrees in social work (MSW), or even doctoral programs (DSW or Ph.D.). The undergraduate BSW degree program is most associated with college, university and traditional younger students, but online courses are becoming more popular. A BSW is the minimum degree you need for any social work profession. MSW degrees will increase the options for you as you seek social care employment. They typically require BSWs, so acquiring an MSW can take a lot of time. However, if you’re looking for a time-efficient master’s degree is possible to take an online social work degree and achieve an MSW with no preceding BSW.
Where Will You Be Employed?
You may be employed in areas such as schools, where you’d collaborate with teachers, parents or even administrators with the focus of improving student performance in pastoral or academic fields. If you’d prefer to specialize in physical healthcare or mental health social working programs you may find employment in or be associated with hospitals, health clinics and even personal visitations to client homes.
Social work programs do not attract everybody, but if you are excited by the opportunity to make a difference in your local community and see the direct progress of those you help, starting a career in social work can be achieved with passion, a desire to help others and obtaining the relevant qualifications.