Social Worker Qualifications
A bachelors degree in social work is typically the minimum educational qualification for an entry-level social worker position. Some employers may also consider applicants with a degree in a closely related field, such as psychology or sociology. A bachelors degree will include coursework in diverse populations, human behavior, and social welfare policy. This will prepare you for positions in direct-service, like a caseworker or mental health assistant. To work as a clinical social worker, or in many schools, you will need a masters degree in social work. In a master program, you will learn additional skills, such as clinical assessment, how to manage large numbers of clients, and supervisory skills. Almost any major can qualify you to enter a social work masters degree program, but you should have already completed some coursework in psychology, sociology, economics, and political science. All states require licensure or certification, though qualifications vary by state.
A successful social worker should have genuine compassion and empathy for their clients and the interpersonal skills needed to develop a strong and productive professional relationship. You will often be managing multiple clients at the same time, so organizational and time-management skills are essential. Social workers also need to be excellent listeners. It will be your job to hear about the challenges your clients face in their lives, assess their problems, and suggest innovative solutions.
Extensive supervised fieldwork or internships are part of any accredited social worker degree program. The qualifications to become a licensed clinical social worker typically include two years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience after completing your masters degree.
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