What degree do you need for a job in social work?

Question:

What degree do you need for a job in social work?

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Answer:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic's Occupational Outlook Handbook provides the following information on the educational pathway for becoming a Social Worker:

  • A Bachelor Degree in Social Work (BSW) is the most common academic requirement for entry level positions in Social Work.
  • Some employers may hire individuals who have a Bachelor Degree in a related field (Psychology, Sociology, etc).
  • The BSW will prepare individuals for direct-service level positions (mental health assistant, case worker, etc).
  • The BSW programs focus on the topics of diverse populations, social welfare policy, human behavior, and ethics in Social Work.
  • BSW post-secondary programs typically includes a supervised internship or practicum program.
  • The entry requirements for entering a Master Degree Social work program usually includes a bachelor degree with classes that focus on psychology, sociology, economics, and political science.
  • A Social Work Bachelor Degree is not required for entering a Master Degree program but some programs allow individuals who this degree to finish the Master's program in 1 year.
  • There were more than 500 Bachelor Degree programs and more than 200 master degree programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education in 2017.
  • After obtaining a Masters Degree it is typically required that individuals complete 2 years of supervised training and experience before becoming a Clinical Social Worker.

For more information on becoming a Social Worker check out this article: Social Worker: Summary of Career Training for Social Workers.

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