How to Become a Social Worker by James Tomerson

People face multiple personal, family and health issues from time to time. These problems have a negative impact of the lives of people. Making a successful career in the field of social work requires a strong passion of helping people improve their life. There are many areas of specialization that candidates can choose from. A social worker career brings a lot of challenges for professionals. Before stepping in this field, candidates should be well informed of the job responsibilities they have and how they can choose to specialize in different areas of social work.

The occupation is not limited to just one field. Those who work as child, family or school social worker are responsible for locating foster homes for children facing various issues. Children may face issues like being abused and being neglected. These social workers also assist single parents and senior citizens who are in need of long term care and housing. Other specialization areas include medical and public health social workers. These professionals help people who are suffering from chronic illnesses, home healthcare needs and terminal illnesses. In addition, these social workers also provide counseling services to their clients.

Another specialization area is mental health and substance abuse. These professionals provide group or individual counseling as well as teach life skills. People who suffer from addiction or mental illness need assistance from these professionals so that they can function properly within the community. Social workers have no dearth of employment opportunities. They can work in hospitals, family service agencies, government agencies and residential treatment facilities. These professionals keep traveling within the community to visit clients and service providers.

Educational Requirement and Training

To obtain entry level jobs, candidates should possess a bachelor's degree along with 400 hours of supervised instruction. In addition, candidates also need to acquire state licensure to function. However, a master's degree is the standard requirement to acquire senior level positions and make a successful career. Those who are looking for job positions in health agencies, clinics, public sector and private sector should possess a master's degree.

If you want to be a part of a research work or project, a doctorate degree in social work is required. To function as a social worker, professionals also need to acquire at least of two years of supervised experience. Those who plan to begin private practice should acquire credentials from the National Association of Social Workers.

Career Prospects

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth rate for these jobs is expected to grow at a much faster rate than the average of all occupations. The expected growth rate is 22% between the year 2006 and 2016. By the year 2016, around 727,000 jobs will be available.

Annual Salary

The salary of social workers varies depending on the area of specialization they choose. Professionals working in medical and public health sector earn $53,000 annually. With growing experience and skills, professionals annual salary may go beyond $61,500.

If you are interested in becoming a social worker you can take a free career test to decide whether this is the right career for you.

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