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What Will It Take To Have A Career In Social Service?

July 30,2010 by: Maxim Thomas

One of the first question individuals ask when wanting to enter Social Service is what requirements and / or training is necessary to be able to qualify for this job?

The first thing you need to do, as an aspiring social worker, is to choose what particular job or specialization. There are several choices and job options in the field of Social Services, among them: sociology, social work, psychology, and counseling, case management, mental health, volunteer management, domestic violence, employee assistance, mentoring, community development, developmental disabilities, criminal justice, child welfare, and substance abuse treatment.

Once you’ve identified your own choice of specialization, you will be able to know what type of training to get. A four-year bachelor’s degree is required. It is also the minimum prerequisite – a Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) degree. With the specialization you have in mind, you could choose corresponding majors. For instance, if you want to specialize in psychology, mental health or developmental disabilities, you might want to major in Psychology or Psychiatry.

Other majors for several of the entry-level jobs are also available, and it would be the best option to major in the field most directly related to the kind of Social Service job you want to have. In some of the positions, however, particularly those jobs in health institutions, clinical settings and school settings, a Master in Social Work (MSW) is required. Typically, the higher the school level is, the higher advancement is required of the Social Worker. So then, administrative and supervisory positions require advance trainings and degrees while teaching and other positions in university or college settings require Ph.D. in Social Work, or a Doctorate in Social Work (DSW). If you intend to go into private practice, a master’s degree would be necessary.

The next step is Licensure. To be able to practice professionally and acquire a professional title, a license or certification is necessary. Inquire what requirements your state has, as requirements and specifications vary from state to state. The standard requisite is 3,000 hours or two years of clinical experience supervised by professionals. During this time of clinical experience, skill will be measured and evaluated. Emotional maturity and adequacy will also be gauged. The Social Worker’s mental and emotional health is highly important. Not all who pass in terms of skill are necessarily emotionally healthy and mature, and can fail the Licensure “test” if the person does not exhibit mature emotional behavior.


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