ExecutiveChronicles | Things to Know About a Career in the Council of Social Work Education | In the next decade, the demand for health care and social services professionals is expected to increase, and the number of jobs available in social work. Social work jobs have seen nearly twice as much job growth as the average for all occupations.
Besides advocating for community change, social workers help individuals cope with and overcome social and economic difficulties. A career in social work is highly suitable for people who have a strong desire to help others around them. Working as a social worker can be pretty rewarding for those who find it hard to see others going through tough times because they get to make a difference in others’ lives.
Even in the early 20th century, the field of social work had a professional identity. There are more formal standards today. Colleges and universities set specific requirements for social work education. License exams are developed and administered by the Association of Social Work Boards. An essential database of resources is the National Association of Social Workers, a well-known professional association with chapters in every U.S. state.
The good news is that several reputable schools accredited by CSWE can help you earn the degree you need to start working in this field. Moreover, many of the courses are offered online, so you have the flexibility to work while obtaining the education you need. If you intend to become a social worker, ensure that you get enrolled in CSWE accredited MSW programs.
With that being said, today, we’re going to tell you about the different jobs you can do after completing your degree in social work and becoming a member of the council for social work education.
Child Welfare Social Workers
Social workers who specialize in child welfare assist in resolving conflict among families with children. Their role focuses on helping families create a safe and loving environment for children while also acting as the child’s advocate.
Sometimes child welfare specialists are forced to make tough decisions for children, such as deciding if they should remove them from their families. Therefore, social workers specializing in child welfare are crucial for protecting abused or neglected children.
Child welfare specialists interview potential foster and adoptive parents to find a new home for children, schedule visitations and represent children in court hearings when they are removed from their homes. In addition, a child welfare specialist may visit a child’s home regularly to supervise its care.
Medical Social Workers
The medical social worker teaches patients about their entitlements, community resources, and health insurance coverage and helps them cope with the social, emotional, financial, and psychological hardships associated with a serious, chronic, or terminal illness.
Social workers in the medical field come under health care social workers. They provide psychological and social support to patients with severe or prolonged illnesses. Additional responsibilities include:
- Discharge planning.
- Helping patients find other services.
- Setting up support groups.
- Visiting newly discharged patients at home.
Similarly, medical social workers can also provide counseling through individual or group therapy sessions. Therefore, by empowering their communities with knowledge about healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, and access barriers, they can advocate for their patients.
Psychiatric (Mental Health) Social Workers
Psychiatric social workers function to support and provide therapy to people who have severe mental illness and may require hospitalization or other types of intensive care. These social workers are generally known as therapists or psychotherapists.
The primary goal of their work is to improve the quality of life for their patients by helping them overcome mental illness, develop better mental and emotional coping abilities, and adapt to life’s challenges. Therapists help patients identify their goals, overcome challenges and achieve them by providing unbiased, objective, non-judgmental, and supportive guidance.
A crisis counselor’s primary job is to offer immediate support to patients needing psychological assistance and refer those who need longer-term counseling from trained counselors and therapists.
They help people and groups who have just been through a significant crisis get help, bounce back on their feet, and feel more empowered. Crisis counselors usually meet with their patients for brief periods, requiring no more than three sessions. Session lengths can range from 15 minutes up to two hours.
School Social Workers
The function of a school counselor is to guide students in areas such as personal and social development, career development, college admissions, and achieving academic goals. School counselors are employed by public, private and charter schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. School counselors have specific duties by the ages and needs of students they serve.
They work with children of all ages. As a school social worker, you assist students with issues such as discipline and truancy, which can impact academic progress. Furthermore, school social workers advocate for children, connecting them with outside agencies and resources as appropriate.
Individuals and groups suffering from substance abuse can seek assistance from addiction counselors. In addition to listening to their patients, addiction counselors offer coping techniques and sign them up for recovery programs such as twelve-step relapse programs to help them overcome their addiction.
Counselors may also provide support and guidance to the family of addicts and report to the courts how recovery is progressing. Alcohol and drug counselors can work in hospitals, rehab centers, and halfway houses.
Clinical Social Worker
Individuals and families receive psychotherapy from clinical social workers. On top of that, some states allow LCSWs to conduct mental health assessments and diagnose and treat disorders, such as depression and anxiety. These professionals often work in private practices, hospitals, or community mental health programs.
In addition to providing counseling services to at-risk individuals, children, families, and groups, clinical social workers represent and advocate for their patients by providing support, services, and programs. Social workers often collaborate with other professionals, including doctors, nurses, teachers, counselors, and psychologists.
Their duties may include:
- Assessing patients and diagnosing mental illnesses.
- Helping patients identify their goals.
- Determining treatment plans designed to help patients reach their goals.
- Providing counseling as their patients work toward their goals.
The career choices mentioned above are just a few from the lot that an individual can pursue with a social work degree. As a social worker, you may work in various parts of the community. Every social institution depends on social workers for necessary support, information, and representation on behalf of those in need.