Social workers work with people in need of counseling, guidance and therapy. Most of these people have been through a traumatic experience, or have been involved in drugs, alcohol and other forms of addiction, or have been the subject of abuse. Social workers also deal with people living in poverty. Some might think that social workers only deal with child abuse and giving hand outs to the poor, but social workers are, in fact, found in several areas of the community such as schools, hospitals, government agencies, private corporations and non-government organizations. In Ontario, social work focuses more on health care, rehabilitation and counseling.
If you want to know whether social work is for you, consider this information:
- Find out if you have the passion to do social work. If you have a genuine want to help people in need of guidance, then this may be the right career for you. Social workers deal with law offenders and get involved with them to help them cope and regain control over their lives. They also deal with people in distress, those who are in troubled family relationships, abusive marriages and those with abusive parents. On the other side of the spectrum, social workers also facilitate programs for the less fortunate, helping out families develop livelihood, organizing fund raisers to build homes, schools and medical facilities. Overall, social workers have to have the heart to help, but should also be mentally and emotionally tough to handle all the negative situations that they see their clients deal with. It is a very challenging but fulfilling job with a possibility of low pay.
- Complete the educational requirement to become a social worker in Ontario. The basic requirement is to have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. It is advisable to select a program that has been accredited by Canadian Association for Social Work Education. With this degree, you can already work with social workers, but for you to be a licensed social worker in Ontario, you need to gain a master’s degree in social work.
- Gain social work experience through apprenticeship and volunteer work. Some students start volunteering while they are in high school. Peer counseling and multicultural alliances are common in Ontario, and involvement in these groups exposes you to several aspects of social work. Aside from volunteer work, you can also go for supervised internship for a more professional experience.
- Get certified as a social worker in Ontario. Currently there is no required examination since a new system is being developed by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers to certify social workers. So the practice now is to be accepted by the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers and register with them after they have evaluated and accepted your credentials.
As a social worker, you may find a job in health institutions, community centers, schools and other non-government organizations. Corporations that have foundations are also in need of social workers to develop their charity and social responsibility plans.