Non-clinical social workers and clinical social workers are two different things and their roles in working with people vary significantly. Depending on previous experience, personality, in addition to personal preference, one may be better suited for working in clinical or non-clinical social work settings. After proficiently understanding the differences between the two, you should decide which would be the most appropriate fit before getting licensed in social work.
A non-clinical social worker can practice with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but many return for their master’s to provide more comprehensive experience to those they’re working for. Non-clinical work may incorporate therapy, public or private organizations, case management, administration, and more. Many times non-clinical social workers will work on counseling and helping their clients with whatever issues they may be having. This can range from working with individuals to secure a new job, to coordinating rehabilitation programs, and more.
Licensure varies depending on states. Some of these may include:
As a clinical social worker you’re likely to address individual and family problems such as serious illness, substance abuse, and domestic conflict. A master’s degree in social work is necessary if you want to provide clinical services. Most of your work will be done in a clinical setting and typically encompasses psychotherapy, counseling, therapy, and more.
State licensing requirements vary, but some amount of supervised work experience is necessary for private practice.
The National Association of Social Workers sets guidelines on what clinical social workers should be capable of doing for clients:
■ Establish and maintain a relationship of mutual respect, acceptance, and trust
■ Gather and interpret social, personal,environmental, and health information
■ Evaluate and treat problems within their scope of practice
■ Establish achievable treatment goals with the client
■ Facilitate cognitive, affective, and behavioral changes consistent with treatment goals
■ Evaluate the effectiveness of treatment services provided to the client
■ Identify appropriate resources and assessment instruments, as needed
■ Advocate for client services
■ Collaborate effectively with other social work or allied professionals, when appropriate.
A career in social work typically requires you to obtain a graduate degree like the MSW or DSW, but occasionally other majors like human services can aid you in this field, too. A social work degree used to be limited to campus programs only, but recent trends have yielded several accredited schools now offering online alternatives like the programs below.
MA - Family & Comm Services
BA - Social Services
|Ashford University — Located in Clinton, Iowa, Ashford University has over 60,000 students currently enrolled either online or at the campus, making it one of the largest schools in the country. Ashford offers two programs for students interested in the Social Work field: the BA of Social Sciences in Social Services and the MA of Education in Family and Community Services.|
|University of Southern California — If you wish to earn your degree from a large school with a lengthy history of tradition and academic excellence, the University of Southern California is a perfect choice. The school has a very popular online Master of Social Work degree available that does not require campus visitation for completion. USC is located in Las Angeles. OLLU is a smaller school with almost 3,000 current students enrolled.|
|Our Lady of the Lake University — Our Lady of the Lake University offers one of the most popular Master of Social Work online programs in the country. OLLU is a private, Catholic school based in San Antonio that has bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees available.|
|University of New England — The University of New England has an online Master of Social Work; this is ideal for students currently working. All classes and assignments can be attended and completed entirely online. UNE is an independent school with two campuses in Maine and has almost 10,000 students currently enrolled.|
PhD - Social & Comm Services
MS - Social & Comm Services
|Capella University — Capella University is a large online school headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Between certifications, training programs, undergraduate, and graduate degrees, the school offers over 1,600 online programs including a DSW and PhD or MS in Social and Community Services. The school’s current enrollment is almost 40,000.|
PhD - Human Services: Clinical Social Work
PhD - Human Services: Counseling
PhD - Human Services
|Walden University — Walden University is one of the largest and most respected school networks in the country with almost 50,000 students enrolled world-wide. The school offers several PhD in Human Services degrees online including Clinical Social Work, Counseling, and a general program. Walden is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.|
MA - Human Services: Health & Wellness
MA - Human Services: Executive Leadership
|Liberty University — Liberty University is the largest, non-profit, private school in the United States. As a Christian school, the university blends career-focused curriculum with ethics and integrity-building classes to deliver an education with substance. Liberty offers an MA in Human Services in Health and Wellness as well as Executive Leadership.|