Welcome to SocialWorkDegree.net – a resource for educational programs in the social work profession. Our blog is maintained by Amanda Body, a licensed social worker, who frequently posts on topics related to the field. We started the site to help answer commonly asked questions about online social work degrees, such as:
- What are the educational requirements for a social worker?
- Where do social workers find employment?
- How do I complete fieldwork hours if I take classes online?
- What are the steps to obtaining licensure as a social worker?
What are the educational requirements for a social worker?To become a Licensed Social Worker (LSW), an applicant must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work and pass the national examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).
When looking for programs, it’s important to keep a few factors in mind:
- Is the program accredited?
- Will the program prepare you for licensure and other exams?
- Does the program offer online or hybrid courses for working and non-traditional students?
Below we’ve listed popular accredited programs in social work that meet these factors:
University of Southern California
University of New England
Where do social workers find employment?
Once you’ve earned your degree, it’s time to start putting your philanthropic energy into action. Jobs in this field provide an enormous about of personal fulfillment. Below are career options in the field with related descriptions and career profiles:
|Case Manager||Provides an array of services to help clients cope with complicated situations in the most effective way possible|
|Substance Abuse Counselor||Provides support and treatment to people who are suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol|
|Health Educator||Educates individuals and communities about healthy lifestyles, obesity prevention, and wellness|
|Mental Health Specialist||Provides necessary mental health treatment and social support through individualized counseling and life skills training|
|School Social Worker||Provides social services and outreach to improve the educational, social, and psychological functioning of students and their families|
|Military Social Worker||Helps families and military personnel prepare for and cope with the physical and psychological hardships of war|
|Non-Profit Director||Provides leadership and coordinates resources for a particular organization that offers a range of social services|
|Marriage and Family Therapist||Helps couples and families understand their feelings and assist them with changing their behavior and relationships|
How do I complete fieldwork hours if I take classes online?
Fieldwork is an important component of social work education. It gives students the opportunity to practice their skills in a supervised environment. Online programs can still give social work students opportunities to complete fieldwork hours.
In order to ensure an online program properly addresses fieldwork, make sure to consult an academic adviser on the following criteria:
- Does the school provide local placement coordination in the areas where students live?
- Are placements monitored and properly documented by the school or department chair?
- Can I complete my fieldwork at my current place of employment?
- Will I be assigned a fieldwork advisor to help with placement and instruction?
- Does the program allow me to fulfill my hours after work or on the weekends?
What are the steps to obtaining licensure as a social worker?
Obtaining licensure is an important part of fulfilling the social work career requirements. The following table offers helpful information on licensure requirements.
|Step #1: Research accredited social work degree programs||Social work regulatory boards typically require that social work degrees be obtained from programs that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE), or other nationally recognized accrediting agencies.|
|Step #2: Obtain the required education||You can pursue a social work degree at either the bachelor’s or master’s level. In many states, baccalaureate social workers are licensed professionals.|
|Step #3: Fulfill all fieldwork hours at a local agency||BSW and MSW programs require students to complete a specific number of hours at an organization or agency that relates to their career interests.|
|Step #4: Complete all state requirements||Each state has its own specific requirements for licensing that must be fulfilled before exam eligibility is granted. Visit your state’s licensing board for more information.|
|Step #5: Apply for licensure through the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)||The level of test you take depends largely on your education and experience level. The different levels of tests are as follows:
|Step #6: Maintain record of all continuing education courses and programs||Each state has its own unique rules on continuing education credits for licensed social workers that vary by area of specialty. Visit your state’s licensing board for more information.