Helping people is the picture that most individuals have of social workers. Helping others is a career that often requires an MS or MA in social work. Technically, the entry level position is available to those with a bachelor’s degree, but in practice those with a masters degree are the ones who are more likely to get hired. Helping others includes issues with disease, substance abuse, disabilities, housing, unemployment, domestic conflicts and abuse.
This page has more details of the programs, lists schools for you to choose a suitable program, outlines career prospects, and more …
What do social work degrees cover?
An undergraduate degree in sociology, psychology and similar fields will help to prepare a graduate for entry level jobs in some communities and some social work fields. An advanced degree is needed for most types of school or health positions. To be a social worker in an administrative or supervisory position requires education beyond the undergraduate level.
Bachelor’s programs lead to positions with direct client contact. These include counselors in residential facilities and group home workers. A worker might be a mental health assistant or a caseworker in a government program. Typical coursework at this level includes cultural studies, ethics, social work values, social and economic justice, human behavior, social interaction, policy and statutes, research and education.
The master’s program adds supervised internship hours on a base of psychology, sociology, political science, biology, economics, a second language and similar programs. A master’s program can be completed on a part time basis, which works well for those who must work while studying.
What additional training or accreditation is required?
Licensing is required in many instances for the social worker. This process is usually based on State regulations. The requirements vary from state to state. The use of professional titles depends upon certification. Clinical social workers need supervised clinical experience usually over the period of two years or three thousand hours. Other types of social worker fields include child, school, family, public health, medical, mental health, aging and substance abuse workers.
Not every program that provides a degree in social work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. As of the mid point of the year 2009 there were 468 programs leading to the bachelor’s degree and nearly two hundred master’s program with approved accreditation. There are also 74 doctoral programs that are approved by the Group for Advancement of Doctoral Education. The master’s programs lead to a Master of Social Work (MSW).
What are the salary and career prospects?
Nearly one-third of the social workers are employed by government entities. Over half of social workers are found working in social assistance and health care fields. Job growth for social workers are projected to be greater than average during the decade ending in 2018. Projections of a sixteen percent growth in the number of openings overall are stated. Many of the jobs are in the sub-specialty of aging services. The growth in this segment of the population that links to the public health and medical workers is projected at 22 percent.
A masters degree holder can expect a median annual wage of nearly $40,000. The salary range is less than $25,870 to $66,430 for child, family and school social workers. Medical and public health workers have a median annual salary of $46,650. Social workers who work in hospitals bring home an annual wage of $51,470. These statistics are accurate as of mid 2008.
List of schools and programs