Ever wonder how long does it take to become a social worker? I did when I was considering a different career and did some research on how many years of school and what a case worker does.
I looked into licesed, certified, and child social workers information. I found out about what it takes to be a social worker. The minimum amount of education to become a social worker is a bachelors degree.
What degree do you need to be a social worker?
To become a social worker, the required educational background is a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW).
However, employers whose clients require psychological intervention and behavioural modification, such as institutions for mental health and drug rehabilitation facilities, may require graduates of bachelor’s degree in psychology.
It normally takes four years to finish a BSW, inclusive of around 400 hours of supervised field work.
The following are some standard courses required in a BSW program:
- Principles and Practice in Social Work
- Issues in Social Welfare
- Social Work Practice in Research
- Introduction to Social Welfare and Human Services
- Human Behaviour Theory
- Statistics for Social Work Research
For entry-level positions, such as caseworkers and home counsellors, a BSW degree is normally the minimum educational requirement.
How many years of school to become a social worker?
Question: I have a bachelors degree but want to upgrade jobs. How much schooling to be a social worker in management?
For those who aspire for higher positions, such as therapy provider and administrative officer, an MSW or a Master’s Degree in Social Work may be required.
It normally takes two years to finish and will concentrate on advanced courses with around 900 hours of supervised field work in the area of specialization chosen. Some of the usual courses are:
- Social Work with Children and Adolescents
- Child Abuse and Neglect
- Human Behaviour and Environment
- Practice in Home and Community Settings with Older Adults
Doctorate degree In for the long haul
Social workers who wish to join the academe as faculty members must start obtaining their Doctorate in Social Work (DSW or Ph.D.), which takes around four years to finish.
While the Ph.D. program concentrates mainly on research, a DSW curriculum is typically clinically based.
It is at this level where students are carefully trained and moulded to become great leaders in the profession.
Not only are they trained to teach others to become effective and valuable social workers, but also to understand the essence of advancing their profession through painstaking research.
Basically, it takes 4 years to finish a bachelor’s degree in social work.
As in other fields of education, a masters’ degree takes around 2 years. A doctorate will require 4 long years.
The Council for Social Work Education is the authorized accrediting body for both bachelor’s and master’s levels in social work.
A list of existing social work programs is available on the organization’s website; simply look for the Directory of Accredited Programs, which lists schools to become a social worker
Requirements for admission
Students of social work acquire training and education in both the classroom and in the field; they undergo an internship program for practical application of the theories and concepts they have learned in class.
Schools, colleges or universities offering BSW programs vary in their requirements for admission.
Some schools may require students to complete the school’s prerequisite courses; other schools may require proof of creditable hours of coursework. Most schools require an interview prior to admission.
On the other hand, a BSW degree is usually not a requirement for admission to an MSW course, except in an advanced existing program where one is required.
A four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and a passing score for GRE or Graduate Record Examination generally meet the requirement for admission.
For applicants to doctoral programs, an MSW or a master’s degree in a related field is typically required. Admission also requires an interview and a passing rate for the GRE.
You can visit About.com’s Graduate School Site for information regarding graduate school admission.
After graduating from any of the social work programs earlier mentioned, secure the necessary and appropriate license to practice as a social worker. Licensing requirements may differ by state.
Most states, as well as employers, require completion of supervised work experience.
Licensing generally requires a social work degree and training earned from an accredited program, completion of the minimum number of hours of supervised experience, and taking and passing a written test.
Visit the website of the National Association of Social Workers for the list of licensing agencies. There are four licensing categories:
- Bachelor’s licensure – BSW is required
- Master’s licensure – MSW is required
- Advanced generalist licensure – MSW and 2 years supervised experience are required
- Clinical licensure – MSW and 2 years clinical experience are required
Continuing education is required in maintaining a license to keep social workers abreast of innovations and updates in their field.
What does a social worker do?
Social workers are professionals who work for organizations or agencies to help people deal with difficult situations. They are usually employed by the social welfare department, rehabilitation facilities and charitable institutions that look out to help people go through traumatic events, catastrophes, mental illness, substance abuse, problems in the family, poverty, and other difficulties in life.
Some people are made for this kind of work. It requires a natural interest in people and the motivation to improve the lot of others.
Apart from these personal traits, social workers must undergo specialized training and education. Licensing is required by most states.
I hope this answers your question about how long does it take to become a social worker.