A bachelor's degree in social work or a related field is required to begin a career as a child social worker. Those interested in working with children may want to select a program with a concentration in children or child welfare. After completing their degree, social workers must be licensed by their state.
Child social workers help children and families improve their quality of life through community services and counseling. These workers must have at least a bachelor's degree to become employed. However, a master's degree is required for certain positions. Both graduate and undergraduate programs require significant hours of field experience. Licensure requirements vary by state.
|Required Education||Bachelor's; master's required for some positions|
|Other Requirements||License may be needed, field experience required for degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for child, family and school social workers|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$42,350 for child, family and school social workers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Education Requirements for Child Social Workers
To become a child social worker, formal training and education is necessary. Many students enter the field with a bachelor's degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. While a degree in general social work is acceptable, prospective child social workers may want to look for programs that offer concentrations in children or child welfare.
Many of these undergraduate bachelor's programs require the completion of general education and introductory social work courses in the first two years. The final two years of a program are devoted to upper division social work and to the completion of significant hours of field experience, in which students work under the supervision of experienced social workers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master's degree in social work may also be needed for many positions in health care settings, and it is required for clinical work. Graduate programs offer concentrations in child welfare, but they may also offer concentrations in clinical or administrative social work. These programs also require significant field experience for graduation. Licensure is also often required for a child social worker in many states.
A child social worker helps children, as well as their families, improve the quality of their lives by providing services such as counseling. They also seek to assist students with their academic pursuits. Child social workers may work for government agencies or at public or private schools.
According to the BLS, there is expected to be a faster-than-average 12% overall employment increase for social workers and a 6% increase for child, family and school social workers between 2014 and 2024. While social workers may be in demand to work in schools, budget cuts by governments may limit the number of job openings.
The BLS reported that the median annual salary for child, family and school social workers was $42,350 in May, 2015. However, those working for elementary and secondary schools were the highest paid in the field, earning an average annual salary of $60,750 in the same year.
Child social workers primarily work with children and their families. Their goal is to improve the quality of life for the child and family through counseling. They may also link children and families with community resources that can help them deal with specific issues.