How To Become a Professional Social Worker

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As a social worker, one carries an important role in helping the community. Social workers are a special class of workers in that their work demands a lot from them --- physically, mentally and emotionally. They are there to assist various people with different kinds of problems. Some of these problems include unemployment, substance abuse, housing and shelter concerns and domestic problems. Social workers are the first people to respond in times of crisis. They are the first to offer guidance, support and services in broad and varied ways. Hence, their job is definitely not an easy one. To become a social worker, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Training. Social Work operates on a wide field, which means that you can either get into a family career, a child career, a community career or a counseling career. If you are interested in becoming a social worker, the job demands you to have a social degree, such as a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work, to be able to enter the field. If you are already a degree holder in nursing, psychology, behavioral science or sociology, for example, some agencies will only require you to get training as a Social Worker. This should be enough to complement your credentials.
  2. Attitude. Most of the time, it would seem as though social workers do their work voluntarily, even to the extent of opening up their own homes to those in need. Because this is the case, becoming a social worker requires a selfless attitude, first and foremost. An effective social worker must also have committed energy to do this kind of work.  He must have this mindset of putting others first before one's own needs. 
  3. Organizational skills. A social worker must also have excellent problem solving skills, discipline, a knack for time management, and good communication skills, as social workers will often act as liaisons and consultants for their wards. They must be competent team players since they will also need to coordinate and work together with different agencies. Many social workers work closely with other charitable organizations, government agencies, schools and hospitals.
  4. Exposure. When you already a degree holder, your next step is to get into actual training by doing a lot of voluntary work. Exposure is very important to a social worker's effectiveness and you can only gain this by going through different community care groups, residential homes and similar agencies. The training you will achieve doing this will help you figure out your strength as well as your weaknesses, thus giving you a better understanding of how you can use your skills in helping others.
  5. License and certification. The state where you plan to work as a social worker will have to require that you get a license and a certification. Usually, apart from the degree you hold, a two-year clinical work experience is required in order to obtain this. Eventually, you should get an advance degree or a master's degree in order to have a clinical position. Programs like this require a minimum of two years and some fieldwork.

Social work is a job that can be extremely challenging, heavy and stressful. But there are still plenty of people interested in becoming social workers because the bottom line is that this job also has plenty of rewards when it comes to finding a purposeful life.


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