A master's program in social work program last two years and includes a supervised internship. Upon completing a program accredited through the Council on Social Work Education, candidates are able to sit for state licensure to become a Licensed Master's Social Worker. In addition, graduates are able to apply for advanced certifications such as a Qualified Clinical Social Worker or Diplomate in Clinical Social Work. Employment for social workers is expected grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016, according to labor statistics.
School districts employ master's level social workers to help students adjust to life's situations that might impact learning. Marion County (Fla.) Schools has a School Social Work Services Department that deals with issues that might come up. The department assesses the needs of the student and provides referral to community services that will put the student back on the right track. In addition, according the department's site, social workers create intervention programs for students dealing with issues such as truancy and homelessness.
State and local governments employ social workers in areas such as health and human services and adult and children protective services. For individuals who currently work in these programs, a master's degree can help the professional step in a supervisory role or deal with the heavy workload that accompanies the job. In addition, coursework in a graduate degree allows the professional to gain a better understanding of issues related to social policy.
Medical centers and mental health and psychiatric hospitals are needed in these facilities to help individuals deal with traumatic episodes in life. For example, psychiatric hospitals employ social workers with master's degrees to counsel patients with depression or dealing with death, divorce or abuse. At hospitals, social workers aid patients by helping them adjust to life after undergoing major surgery or experiencing the birth of a child. Both stressors require counseling to help individuals adjust to life's changes.
Senior care homes and mental and health and mental retardation companies use social workers to handle case management and counseling. Also, master's degree social workers with a set amount of work experience are able to enter into private practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, credentials are important for those in private practice. Some health insurance providers require social workers to have them in order to be reimbursed for services. Most private practitioners are clinical social workers who provide psychotherapy.
Called to Teach
After years of master's level practice as a social worker, some decide to work as at a college or university. Many two-year colleges offer substance abuse counseling programs, and they could help social workers with expertise, a license or credential in the area to enter into academics. To become a professor at a university, a doctoral degree in social work is the most fitting route. According to the National Association of Social Workers, more than 8,000 social work professors are teaching in the United States today.
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