Social work is a job for people that desire to greatly improve the quality of other peoples’ lives. Social workers provide support to people, and they assist them with coping with and solving problems in daily life. Relationships, family, and personal problems cause stress for many people; social workers are helpful in suggesting solutions for these problems. Many times people just need someone else to help them brain storm a situation. This is more productive and helpful to them.
Social work positions generally require a degree in social work or a related field. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Social Worker Job Responsibilities
These professionals help people cope with serious issues; for example, a social worker may help someone deal with a disability, social problems, and domestic violence. In addition, the social worker may do research or advocate for certain disadvantaged groups. Most social workers specialize in assisting a certain group or population of people.
For instance, medical social workers focus entirely on providing psychosocial help to families dealing with terminal, acute, and chronic illnesses. In addition, they provide support to caregivers and counsel patients. Some social workers assist with services for senior citizens and those that provide care for them. Many social workers facilitate support groups for adults of aging parents. This support system is very helpful for these caregivers.
Mental health social workers assist people cope with emotional and mental disorders. Some of these services include the following treatments: group and individual therapy, outreach services, social rehabilitation, and crisis intervention. Family and school social workers assist parents and children deal with different problems. They are focused primarily on helping the student attain academic and personal goals. They may work with students with disabilities, students that abuse drugs, or students that are pregnant. Additionally, the school social worker may address truancy issues within a family.
The psychiatric social worker is skilled at managing the cases of mentally ill patients. The social worker works closely with existing family or other supportive individuals. The main job of the social worker is to help the patient cope with their issues successfully. Many times counseling with the patients over a period of time can improve their ability to manage life stressors. For example, the psychiatric social worker can make suggestions that may relieve some stress for the patient. Also, the social worker can make financial referrals that can assist with medicine, rent, mortgages, utilities, transportation, and food. Oftentimes, assistance with these needs can relieve some of the stress from a patient’s life. Those patients that do not have support systems in place may need to be connected to a support group. The connecting of the person with this help can also reduce the stress in their life. Instead of coping with life alone, the person can receive help and support from another source. This is crucial in maintaining a healthy and balanced life.
Social Worker Training and Education Requirements
The social work field is regulated by certain legal guidelines. Thus, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree in social work. Graduates that have majored in sociology, psychology, or another behavioral science field may be qualified for entry level positions in social work. Many positions within the field require a master’s degree. For example, clinical, medical, and school positions all require a master’s level degree. Research and college teaching jobs require a doctoral degree in social work.
During a bachelor degree program in social work, the student will study many social subjects. The student will learn how humans cope and adapt to situations. Psychology courses provide insight into the human mind. Normal and abnormal brain functioning is studied; thus, students become more familiar with certain illnesses and conditions. They are better able to understand mental health conditions that limit the activities of a person. This results in the social worker being able to better relate to persons affected by a mental or substance abuse condition.
Additionally, it is important to attend an accredited degree program in social work. Accredited programs better prepare social work students by requiring a certain number of supervised work hours in the program. These internship opportunities provide valuable on the job social work training.
Social Worker Salary and Wages
In 2008, research indicated that the median salary for most family, school, and child social workers was $39,000 annually. The middle range of social workers earned between $30,000 to $52,000. This figure was largely dependent on education, experience, and industry. The highest paid social workers earn more than $66,000, and the lowest paid earn $25,000 or less.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Social Worker Certifications
The majority of states and the District of Columbia mandate that a social worker be licensed. Every state also requires that a graduate of a bachelor degree social work program have 3,000 hours or two years of supervised clinical experience. This must be completed before the professional can be certified and licensed.
Social Worker Professional Associations
The National Association of Social Workers is the largest professional group of social work professionals in the world. This organization is committed to furthering the professional growth of the profession and its members. The organization also exists to create professional standards. In addition, NASW is committed to advancing worthwhile social policies that affect our nation and world.