Social workers help people cope with and solve various social and emotional problems. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) state that social workers offer services such as counseling and therapy to families, groups, and individuals in a number of areas. Some common areas of practice include behavioral health, aging, adolescent health, bereavement, diversity, equity, peace, and social justice. Social workers normally work in clinical settings such as hospitals and mental health clinics. They also work in offices and help non-governmental organizations (NGO). Social workers are different from NGO volunteers because they are trained professionals and provide counseling services in a number of areas, while volunteer NGOs do not normally treat or diagnose patients.
Social Work Degrees
Social work degrees are offered at various degree levels to meet the educational requirements and career aspirations of students:
An associate's degree program normally requires two years to complete. It is for students who want to explore the field of social work, but want to be sure if they are interested in the field. With an associate's degree in social work, graduates may find jobs such as administrative assistants and entry level personnel in NGOs and other social work organizations.
Bachelor's degrees are suitable choices for those students who wish to carry out practical social work. A bachelor's degree program in social work typically takes four years to complete. Graduates from bachelor's degree may find jobs such as social workers, counselors, and psychiatric aides.
Master's degrees are for those students who want to acquire some social work experience and pursue a career as a clinical social worker. This degree takes two more years after a bachelor's degree, and opens up a number of job opportunities. Graduates may find jobs such as school counselor or clinical social worker.
Doctoral degrees are for those students who wish to perform advanced research on social work, rather than practicing clinical social work. A doctoral degree program may take four to seven years to complete. Career opportunities for doctorates in social work include university professor or researcher.
There are a number of specialization options for students in social work. They may choose specialization areas such as military social work, community planning, and social justice. They are offered courses that give unique perspectives on issues, and also train students in social work requirements. Specializations can lead to specific careers. For instance, students interested in veteran's affairs may choose a specialization in military social work instead of a general degree.
Online Social Work Degree
Online social work programs offer similar theoretical content as that of on-campus programs. However, the method of instruction is different and much more flexible. Online students use learning resources such as video lectures, live chats, discussion threads, and E-books to complete courses. Online courses may also be cost effective because students do not need to pay for costs related to commuting, dorm room accommodation, or textbooks. The tuition costs of online programs may also be less, due to their cost efficient setup.