Social Worker Career Plan
Become a Social Worker
- Career Plan: How to Become a Social Worker
Social Work Resources…
Social Work Career Plan Steps:
Take a college prep curriculum. Generally this will include four years of English and three to four years of math.
Get some field experience. You can volunteer at a social service organization or take an entry-level position. This might entail providing childcare at a women’s shelter. (When you apply to a school of social work, you may be asked to provide references and write an essay explaining why you chose the profession. Volunteer and work experiences may provide you with useful material.)
Check your state’s social work board requirements and research schools at the appropriate level. The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) reports that in almost all cases, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for practice. Depending on the level of licensing you seek, and the state where you live, you may need a master’s degree. (With a baccalaureate, you may be limited in the duties you can perform.)
If you have only a high school diploma, you may choose a related undergraduate field like child development or sociology. There are also a few combined bachelor’s/ master’s programs nationwide that accept exceptional high school students. If you already have a bachelor’s, though, you have many program choices!
You may need to complete prerequisites like sociology and psychology before applying to a professional school of social work. A graduate admission test may also be required.
Enroll in an accredited program that is approved by your state board. Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates quality and legitimacy.
Complete your studies, and take the licensing exam required by your state.
Now it’s time to draw on your resources to find a job — and career. Some states maintain workforce sites that allow you to apply online. If you become a member of a professional organization, you’ll have additional networking opportunities.
Common Personality Traits of Social Workers
Social work is a career for those with strong people skills. This includes well developed social perception skills and an ability to empathize. You will also need good written and oral communication and critical thinking skills.