Social Work Degree

In order to become a social worker, one must have either a diploma or a degree in social work. After completing undergraduate studies, many social workers proceed to masters and post-doctoral programs. Many scholars claim that social work education is a lifelong process that never comes to an end.

How to Become a Social Worker

Social workers undergo rigorous training both in college and in the field. Many social workers begin their career in high school where they volunteer to be aides to social workers. From high school, most of those who still have an interest in the field proceed to college where they complete a bachelor’s degree in a social work program. There may also be a requirement for social worker certification, a regulatory measure taken by almost all the states. This certification not only minimizes abuse of social workers’ professional positions, but also ensures that professional counseling is given to those who need it. The requirements for this certification vary from one state to another.

Social Worker Degree Curriculum

Some examples of common classes in the curriculum of a social worker degree program include:

  • Foundations of Social Work Practice
  • Social Welfare
  • Foundation Fieldwork
  • Models of Intervention
  • Human behavior
  • Foster Care and Adoption

After completing classwork, one is expected to undergo field training that puts classroom knowledge into practice via real life situations. This is the most challenging part of the entire curriculum.

Social Worker Degrees and Certifications

Upon successful completion of the social worker degree curriculum, one can apply his or her skills as school social workers, substance abuse social workers, medical social workers and public health social workers. Some counseling psychologists and probation officers also begin their careers with a social work degree. Social work is a promising field because there are many people who need professional help and it is also a well-paying job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of child, family, and school social workers were $39,530 in May 2008. Medical and public health social workers earned an average median salary of $46,650. The average median salary for mental health and substance abuse social workers was $37,210.