A social worker takes all counseling jobs, and then takes that counseling a step further. A social worker works very intimately in a client’s life, and helps to sort out or deal with a variety of problems. A social worker can be a depression counselor, or a marriage and family counselor, or they can be much more.
Social workers work with children and adults, and they strive to help their clients cope with a sudden, drastic change in their lives—the death of a family member, divorce-related issues, social problems like bullying, or harassment. Social workers are also there to help people deal with life-threatening or life-changing illnesses—whether they are the ones personally facing the illness, or if it is a family member facing these particularly trying times. Basically, a social worker helps someone adjust to their environment—whether they wanted things this way or not.
If you decided to choose this as your career, you would not meet any difficulty as you searched for employment. Social workers are needed, and you could choose to live almost anywhere, and become employed there. As more and more people discover that help can be found in this particular field, the need for professional, knowledgeable social workers grows. Most social workers are employed in health care or social assistance facilities, as well as in state and local government agencies.
The minimum educational level required to enter this work field is a bachelor’s degree, usually in social work. Other majors, however, such as psychology, sociology, or any other related major, may start you out on a career as a social worker. There are some prestigious agencies that will only hire you if you have a master’s degree in social work. If you decide you want to become a teacher, or do social work, you will probably need a doctorate. A social worker will need a special license, or be certified to practice in that state. Requirements to gain a license or become registered vary from state to state.
If you are considering a career as a social worker, then you can relax—you already meet one of the requirements! If you are thinking about becoming a social worker, then you already realize that you have the desire to help people—which is the core work of a social worker. Some other helpful-for-your-success-skills include emotional maturity, and the ability to handle a situation responsibly. The people you are working with need your help, and you will need to be mature as you offer your assistance. That is vitally important! Being able to be objective will also help you a considerable amount. Arguing couples will come to you and demand that you declare one of the two is completely wrong. You will need to be objective, and help them both see where fault or true problems really lie. Along those same lines, sensitivity is needed. You are discussing intimate problems with suffering people, and you will need to be compassionate and sensitive. Some people have understanding natures, and others don’t—but if you become a social worker, you will need to develop sensitivity.
You will need to be able to work marginally in an independent fashion. You will have superiors in the sense that you are employed, but your clients are your own. They are looking to you, and you need to be able to handle that responsibility. Good communication skills are completely necessary, as you will be discussing issues and offering solutions. You need to be able to pass along ideas in a clear manner, and be able to listen just as clearly. You will also need to be able to work amiably with co-workers and clients alike—maintaining good relationships with those you work for, and with, is important to your survival in this field.
It is estimated that the field of social work will increase and broaden faster in the next ten or so years, than any other field. Social workers are definitely needed! Your yearly salary as a social worker depends on what aspect of this field you choose to focus primarily on. Child, family, and school social workers make roughly $37,500 a year, while medical and public health social workers make about $43,000. Mental health or substance abuse social workers make about $35,000. Almost any other social worker in other, more specialized, fields make around $43,500.
All social workers have the opportunity to make real differences in real lives, and they are in high demand.