Social workers are trained individuals who help people in their communities deal with such issues as unemployment, inadequate housing, substance abuse, familial problems and mental illness. In order to gain social worker certification and become eligible to work in the field, individuals must earn at least a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. A master's degree in social work is usually required for state licensure as a clinical social worker. Some programs offer training in specialized fields.
After earning their certificate, graduates may earn social worker certification or licensure to become registered social workers in a specific field, such as family services, child welfare, gerontology, policy planning or public health. Additional certificate programs that are similar to those for social workers include programs for substance abuse counselors, family counselors and public policy planners.
Online programs are available.
Certificates in Social Work
The core curriculum for social worker certificate programs includes a general overview of social work; however, elective courses are also available for additional training in a specific area. In addition to social work field practice, many programs also cover such topics as these:
- Social work with individuals
- Cultural diversity
- Research methodology
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Social workers hold jobs in a variety of environments, and they are trained to offer professional advice on personal problems, finances, emotional disorders and more. Combining a social worker certificate with a bachelor's or master's degree in social work can prepare students for entry-level positions or career advancement opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job growth in the social work field would grow by 12% from 2014-2024, which was faster than average. The mean annual salary for mental health and substance abuse social workers was $47,190 as of May 2015, reported the BLS. Healthcare social workers earned an average of $54,020 per year, while child, family and school social workers averaged $46,610 annually.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education
Requirements to become a licensed or certified social worker vary by state; however, students may need additional clinical experience to become a clinical social worker. Social workers are also required to complete continuing education credit hours to stay licensed, which are offered through private and nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities. The Master of Social Work (MSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work programs are also available for students pursuing career opportunities in supervising, management, research, teaching or consulting social work positions.
Students interested in learning about social work will have options to engage in Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. Continuing education is available in Master of Social Work (MSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work programs.