Working with the elderly is a challenging and rewarding career. Most elderly are confined inside nursing homes, hospitals and organizations that cater to these elders' health and wellness. A number of them are not supported by their family and will live there for the rest of their lives. They are being taken care of by nurses, doctors and social workers. And just recently, most parts of the United States have been in need of social workers because abandoned elders have been increasing in number.
Here are the steps on how to become a social worker for the elderly.
- Get a Bachelor's degree. Most people interested in social work aim to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in sociology or human services. Human services is also an option for a Bachelor's degree because the opportunities are aligned to federal programs, state agencies and private and non-profit organizations.
- Earn a Master's degree. A Master's degree in social work is required in the United States in order to get licensed. Internships and practicums are included as you work towards your degree. It is ideal to choose areas like nursing homes, senior centers or assisted living centers in order to cope easily with the needs of the elderly in your community.
- Be a volunteer. Volunteers need to complete a specific number of hours incorporating all of the things they have learned while obtaining their Bachelor's and Master's degrees. After these social service jobs without salary, you are one step closer to your license. But as you are working for your license, have the initiative to look for placements such as school social work or a nursing home in your community. Practice what you have learned and integrate love and social care as you engage with them.
- Take the national social work exam. Being a social worker is a serious career and it is required for every graduate student to receive his or her license. The Association of Social Work Boards organizes the exams for social workers. Log on to this website (aswb.org) and learn how to apply and take this exam in order to get your license.
- Apply for a license. Specifically take care of the elders in your community and apply for a license in your state. Since you have finished all four steps above, it is now your chance to have your own license for the state where you plan to practice social work jobs. Immediately check what requirements are needed in your state because each state has different requirements that need to be submitted. You can often work with the elderly with certain human services degrees, but you'll need to be certain your education meets the qualifications for licensure. Some resume formats vary from state to state.
Since you have completed the steps mentioned, you are now free to choose the organization or the area you want to practice. Engage in your work with love and compassion. Apply all of the things that you have learned: do not hesitate to give your clients love; be patient with them; and give them courage to live, act and enjoy life, and you will enjoy success as a social worker with the elderly.