What Is Social Work?
Social working is a profession that is focused on improving the living standards and quality of life of society’s individuals. It is done to bring a change that is system-wide by following the principles of social justice. Just like the profession of teaching and nursing, social work is about helping people to eliminate difficulties from their lives. Social work primarily focuses on the model of person-in-environment and social justice, and this is what separates it from other professions that involve helping people.
Individuals who do social work not only help people deal with their internal struggles, but they also work to maintain an understanding of their family structure, relationships, the system and its policies, and environment of the community which is creating impacts on them to identify the challenges and suitable solutions to address them.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in social work, or even in any other educational field, you can enroll in online social work masters or on campus.
Social work also focuses on strength building as each one of us has our strengths and available resources. So a social worker helps to build upon an individual’s skill and of course, support systems. This profession involves providing help to people of all ages, living in different areas, cities, or countries. Social workers work with organizations, families, groups, couples, and different communities.
Social work involves promoting social justice through direct services and advocacy on levels including local, national, and global, and these are also called micro, mezzo, and macro levels.
What Does A Social Worker Do?
Mostly a social worker works directly with couples, families, groups, or individuals. Social workers help people to deal with problems such as abuse, poverty, addiction, educational problems, addictions, or any illness. They provide counseling, connect clients with service providers and resources to help them cope with their issues.
People who adopt social work as a profession work on their own and some of them are affiliated with no-profit organizations such as government agencies, hospitals, schools, etc. Many workers work with communities and governments to encounter social problems and improve the living standard of people. Social workers act as a voice of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and fight for their rights according to the principles of social justice. These workers engage in policy analysis, legislative advocacy, and organizing process of communities to eradicate social issues and bring reforms.
Why Should You Become A Social Worker?
There are many reasons that you might find tempting to become a social worker. Some people want to adopt this profession because in the past, they have been helped by a social worker, and that inspired them to become one. Some people find comfort in helping others and solving their issues. But you might be drawn to this profession because of particular interest in solving problems like abuse, addiction etc. You might be interested in helping children to grow up in a healthy environment with the necessities of life and becoming a social worker will enable you to do so. There are a variety of reasons why becoming a social worker can be your best choice, but above all, the main reason is that helping others gives you a sense of joy and comfort. You feel better in adding your contribution to changing the world and making it a better place for people to live.
How to Learn About Social Work before Opting It as a Profession?
The best and easiest way to learn about social work is to do volunteering. Look around, and there is a community around you that can provide you with several opportunities to work voluntarily and gain a better understanding of the role of a social worker. Frequently, social workers get tasks like management of volunteers, and they are looking for volunteers in schools, hospitals, organizations, and communities, to help them with the work. Becoming a volunteer will not only allow you to meet people who are qualified experts in this field, but it will also enable you to learn from their practices and way of working. You can find opportunities at your nearby churches, schools, community centers, or NGOs.
How to Become a Social Worker?
These are some basic steps to follow to become a social worker. The first step is, of course, education.
Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work
The number one step is to get a bachelor’s degree in social work either from a college or university. These programs are for preparing children for entry-level social work so they can get an insight into how things work in this profession and get as much exposure as possible for graduate social work education. Students are required to practice social work with individuals of society, groups, communities, to understand things well. BSW involves classroom learning as well as fieldwork. Once you get a bachelor’s degree, you are qualified to become a social worker.
Master’s Degree in Social Work
If you get your bachelor’s degree before enrolling in a master’s program, you will be qualified for advanced standing that enables you to complete your master’s in one year rather than two years (traditional program).
Graduate programs of social work, all follow nearly the same curricula. And they all combine field education with classroom learning. Some universities offer strong clinical programs while in some universities, the focus is put on systematic issues such as social justice and poverty. Making your choice correctly according to your interest can be essential for you.
Prepare Yourself Well While In School
Based on your interest, make choices regarding specialized certifications and courses. If you are more into clinical social work, you should take more classes of clinical. If you are more into macro social work, it is better to go for elective in advocacy, etc. This will help you to polish your marketable skills.
Learn as much as you can from your internships and practicum placements. Be sure to build opportunities for your future. Always keep learning and seek guidance from your superiors. Always remember that you are positioning yourself for future employment.
Start looking for a job before you graduate. There are many opportunities available, especially in summers. Make sure that you do proper research on the licensing process of your state to start the process of application as early as possible.
Get Licensed In Your State
To ensure safer professional practice, it is essential to get licensed in your state. Every state has its requirements for licensing each level of social work. Generally, there are four levels:
- Bachelor’s level – Baccalaureate Social Work Degree (BSW)
- Master’s level – Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW)
- Advanced Generalist – MSW with the addition of two years of non-clinical experience of supervised social work.
- Clinical: MSW with the addition of two years of direct clinical experience of supervised social work.
In many states, you are required to get yourself licensed before you start your career as a social worker.
Find Yourself a Job
Once you are done with all these steps, you can finally begin your career by finding a job. The process of finding social work jobs is identical to finding a job in any other field.
Social work is a respected profession all over the world, and the people who are working as social workers are becoming the voice of the people who have never been heard. This profession, like any other, requires dedication and passion for bringing the required changes.