Child Social Worker: Education and Career Profile

A child social worker is required to have some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

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 (2012-2022)* 15%
Median Salary (2013)* $42,120 annually

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 (www.bls.gov). 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.

Career Profile

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 19% overall employment increase for social workers and a 15% increase for child, family and school social workers between 2012 and 2022. While social workers may be in demand to work in schools, budget cuts by governments may limit the number of job openings.

Salary Information

The BLS reported that the median annual salary for child, family and school social workers was $42,120 as of May 2013. However, those working for elementary and secondary schools were the highest paid in the field, earning an average annual salary of $60,480 in the same year (www.bls.gov).

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