Social Work Degree 101

Are you considering or pursuing a career in Social Work? If so,congratulations you’re in the right place. Social Work is a Uniquely interesting field because of the numerous areas in which you can study,specialize, or work. As a social worker you can work in a hospital, law office, or a school. You can be an investigator for protective services or a therapist, or an administrator. Social workers get to work anywhere and with anyone who may be considered vulnerable. The lists above are just a few examples of jobs that social workers can do. And, while the vast array of opportunities is exciting, it can also be a bit scary for a new student or worker. How do you decide which area to work in? Do you have to stay in the area you chose first? Are there different degree requirements depending on the type of social work I want to do? So many questions!

Though there is no such thing as a simple answer to these questions, there are ways to make your decisions easier. First, most programs, both undergraduate and graduate, will require some type of internship;probably more than one. Internships are a great way to get your feet wet in the field while exploring and learning what aspects of the career you like best. For my graduate degree, I interned at a school, a law office, and a mental health firm. Though I enjoyed each experience I learned quickly what I did and did not want to do as a career. Keep exploring and you’ll most likely find something that is a good fit for you!

To answer the second question, “Do you have to stay in the same area” during your career? there actually is a simple answer: NO! Again drawing from my experience but also the experiences of many of my colleagues, you are certainly not “stuck” in one area or aspect of the field. I have worked for protective services, a homeless shelter, a nursing home, and a hospital! One thing to consider, however, is that some types of jobs require certain licensure and education. Depending on state and local statutes, you may be required to hold a specific license or have been educated in certain areas in order to qualify for a job. Liscensures are especially likely to be required for careers in mental health, medical, and school social work. Keep that in mind when considering s change of pace or a new career adventure!

As with anything new, I’m sure your journey will lead to lots of answers and even more questions. Feel free to share your questions or comments about social work education below. Until next time!

About the Author

Amanda Body

Meet our blogger, . She grew up in Harlan, Kentucky and currently resides in Louisville KY. Amanda graduated from Valparaiso University in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science and English. Most recently, she attended the University of Kentucky where she earned her Master's of Social Work degree. Amanda is currently pursuing her passion as a hospital social worker in Louisville Kentucky.