How to Get a Degree in Social Work
There are a few ways in which you can prepare yourself for studying social work before you even graduate high school. Taking upper level Spanish classes can increase the number of jobs you qualify for once you earn your degree in social work, and taking other social sciences classes is also highly beneficial for your future in social work studies. If you are interested in child services, you can prepare yourself with experience around youngsters by doing things like babysitting and working as a camp counselor during the summer. Early on in your senior year of high school, you should start applying to colleges and universities with academic departments that will help you shape your career in the field of social work.
The University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work has multiple programs that will further prepare you for careers in social work. The College of Social Work was founded in 1969 and continues to offer its students the opportunity to earn the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work to this day. It boasts that 94% of its students who earned their master degrees in social work found jobs within one year of graduating. In addition to the bachelors and masters programs, doctoral program for social work was introduced in 1987 and continues to this day.
Ball State University has the largest and oldest accredited undergraduate social work program within the state of Indiana. The school also offers a Bachelor of Social Work in Child Welfare that will prepare you for a job working with families at risk within the community. The social work programs at Ball State also require students to complete a field practicum, or field placement program, in the particular career field you’re looking to enter in Indiana or a specific location in one of its surrounding states as a full-time worker at an agency of your choice. This experience may actually open up a career opportunity for you at that agency upon earning your degree.
Oakwood University’s Social Work Department provides students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Social Work. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, so students who graduate from Oakwood’s social work program are considered highly qualified for positions in the field. The requirements of the social work program provide students with advanced knowledge in the subject, including a close look at social and economic justice within the community.
Job Settings for People with Social Work Degrees
People who possess degrees related to social work dedicate their talents and services to helping individuals better themselves and their relationships with others, including friends and family, and many spend their time finding ways to improve neighborhood communities and organizations. Those with knowledge in the world of social work often find themselves working jobs in the areas listed below.
Child and family services centers
Community service organizations
Careers in Social Work
While in the process of earning your social work degree at an accredited college or university, you should also be looking at career options you’re most interested in so that you can mold your studies to fit a better educational experience for a particular career. Some examples and descriptions of careers available in the world of social work can be found in this section.
Note: Many positions require applicants possess a specific license. Please explore requirements further for those positions you are most interested in.
Entry Level Careers in Social Work
The social work bachelors degree is often considered much more valuable than other bachelor degrees in human services, because requirements for this degree are so closely related to specific jobs within the field. You have a much higher chance of landing a job with a social work bachelors degree as opposed to a bachelors degree in health science or psychology. Just a few options for areas of employment for those who possess a bachelors degree in social work are listed here.
Group Home Worker
A group home worker is employed at a home in which a group of unrelated individuals reside who are unable to properly care for themselves. Group home workers have many duties including but not limited to supervising the behavior of the residents, communicating with social services and law enforcement about residents when necessary, and assist residents in learning how to live independently or with reduced assistance and taking them to and from various appointments when necessary. They are very personable and passionate about their job and those whom they serve. A bachelors degree in social work is recommended for a position as a group home worker.
Group home workers can earn around $21,000 annually.
Substance Abuse Social WorkerSubstance abuse social workers assist individuals with the recovery of their struggles with drug or alcohol addictions. These social workers help people cope with the mental and physical effects of withdrawal including drastic mood swings. They are patient and dedicated to their clients’ success and are sometimes inspired to work in this position by direct or indirect previous experience. They are also highly organized and talented in written and verbal communication. A bachelors degree is required, and field experience from placement or internship is highly recommended.
Substance abuse social workers can earn around $40,000 annually.
Advanced Careers in Social Work
Adoption caseworkers assist in the adoption process of children from infancy to adolescence. They are responsible for holding consultations with potential clients in order to determine whether clients are eligible to adopt. After consultations, it is their job to perform home assessments in order to make sure that children being adopted will be placed in safe households. They also perform post-adoption visits in order to observe the children’s progress in their new environments and write up reports based on their observations and interviews with the new parents. A masters degree in social work is often required to fulfill this position.
Adoption caseworkers can earn over $42,000 annually, depending on education and experience levels.
Healthcare Social Worker
Healthcare social workers assist health clinics with providing mental health counseling and counseling services for people who have been negatively impacted by violence or natural disasters. They also provide advice to healthcare professionals and can give referrals to individuals for other services they may need for consolation and recovery. The position usually requires a masters degree in social work and a few years experience within the field.
Healthcare social workers can earn over $55,000 annually, depending on education and experience levels.
Companies that Hire People with Social Work Degrees
Are you still struggling with the question, “Where can I work with a degree in social work?” If you’re looking for specific locations, then check out the list below for a few examples of places that hire people with social work degrees.
The Bair Foundation – headquarters in New Wilmington, PA, with locations across the U.S.; Christian organization offering services in independent living, foster care, adoption, etc.; hires positions for various types of social workers, behavioral therapists, etc.
FirstCall HomeCare – located in Independence, MO; hires positions for home health social workers, physical therapists, etc.
Examination Management Services, Inc. – locations throughout the U.S.; hires positions for litigation services caseworkers, medical records caseworkers, etc.
Solutions for Care – located in North Riverside, IL; nonprofit social services organization; hires positions for adult protective services caseworkers, etc.
With a degree in social work, you are sure to make a difference in people’s lives one day at a time with some of the most rewarding jobs available. Be sure to research all necessary job qualifications and academic opportunities in order to become qualified for a job in the field of social work.