College Major of the Month: Social Work
If you enjoy helping others and want to have a career where you can make a difference in the world, then our March College Major of the Month may be an option for you. In honor of National Social Work Month, this month’s featured college major is social work.
What is social work?
Social work is a profession where you help people in need or in crisis and empower them to cope with the situations in their lives. Social workers help develop plans to improve people’s well-being and adjust to life changes and challenges (such as divorce, illness, adoption or unemployment). Social workers also advocate for clients, conduct research and refer clients to community and governmental resources and programs.
Social workers often work at hospitals, clinics, schools and government agencies. Evening and weekend hours may be required. Compassion, listening skills, people skills and problem-solving skills are important for social workers.
What education and certifications are required for social workers?
Courses in psychology, sociology, economics and political science are typically part of social work degree programs. A bachelor’s degree in social work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education is required for entry-level employment in the field. Supervised fieldwork is required prior to graduation. Some social work positions require a master’s degree.
You can now get an social work degree online.
All social workers must be certified or licensed by the state. Some employers may hire graduates from accredited programs only. Licensure often requires graduation from an accredited program.
How much money do social workers make?
The median annual salary for social workers is $42,480, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pay varies based on education and industry (such as health care, school, mental health, etc.). The demand for qualified social workers is expected to grow throughout the next decade.
How should I prepare in high school to major in social work?
Volunteering at a nonprofit social service agency in your community is a great way to prepare for a career in social work. For example, you could volunteer at a local food pantry, women’s or children’s shelter, hospital, nursing home, community advocacy group or even for the American Red Cross. And as always, maintaining good grades in all your high school courses will help ensure you can get into the college degree program of your choice.