Jobs in Social Work for People Without a Degree

Are you lacking a degree, but still interested in social work for a career? Don't worry - there are several options for those without any kind of degree who want to get involved in social work.

Career Options in Social Work Without a Degree

Although social workers need a bachelor's or a master's, pursuing a career in the social work field does not necessarily require any kind of college degree. Several entry-level positions can be located with a high school diploma, and in some cases, a certificate will improve your chances of securing employment. The careers in the list below can all be obtained without earning a degree of any kind.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor $41,070 22%
Social and Human Service Assistant $31,810 11%
Childcare Worker $21,170 5%
Teacher Assistant $25,410 6%
Community Health Worker $37,330 15%

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Social Work Jobs That Don't Require a Degree

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

Counselors in substance abuse and behavioral disorders evaluate the mental and physical health of those with addictions and behavioral issues to see if they are ready for treatment. They can also teach the families of clients about the effects of these conditions. These counselors help to develop coping mechanisms and strategies for the behaviors of clients while they undergo treatment. It is important to note that many, but not all, substance abuse and behavioral disorder positions do require a bachelor's degree. However, counseling positions are available in certain organizations and jurisdictions depending on state and company requirements, and some jobs require only a high school diploma plus certification.

Social and Human Service Assistant

Social and human service assistants work directly with social workers to develop treatment plans for clients. Assistants may be involved in the 'grunt work' of social work, such as daily activity assistance with meals, bathing, and transportation. They can also coordinate the different services that are provided to clients. Job duties will vary depending on the environment in which an assistant works, which can include dealing with the elderly, combat veterans, and the mentally ill. High school diplomas are usually a requirement, along with some on-the-job training.

Childcare Worker

Workers in childcare are directly responsible for the children under their supervision. They may instruct them on good hygiene and activity organization, depending on the age of the child. If the child is young enough, diaper changing may be necessary. Childcare workers will also have to monitor the long-term behavior of children, including any apparent behavioral, developmental, or emotional problems. Workers will directly engage in activities with children and make sure they get enough rest at the same time. While some states and jurisdictions have no formal education requirements, there may be certification necessary.

Community Health Worker

Community health workers will collect data and have conversations with community members about any concerns raised about health. Findings from this data will be reported to health educators, as well as healthcare providers. They can also provide counseling outside of a formal session, and act as an advocate for individual as well as community needs. Community health workers need to have a high school diploma, and some positions might require a postsecondary certificate that takes a maximum of one year to obtain.

Teacher Assistant

Teacher/teaching assistants (TAs) work under the direct supervision of licensed teachers. Certain TAs might work specifically in the world of special education. They help to enforce the rules of a classroom and assist teachers with tasks such as record keeping, lesson preparation, and equipment setup. Teachers can also use feedback from their assistants to make improvements to the classroom experience. While some college education is usually required, an actual degree is not needed to become a TA in some school districts.

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