How to Become a Hospice Social Worker

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A hospice provides care for terminally ill patients until they die. Social workers who work with hospice patients will assist their clients and their families in a number of ways, such as helping them find money to pay their medical bills. Hospice social workers also help their patients by counseling them on end of life issues and by directing them to support groups that can help them accept their fate.

  • Earn your college degree and major in social work. You will need top grades to get into a good social work master's degree program.

  • Complete a social work internship. You should begin the internship during your senior year of college. Your university’s career services center can help you set up an internship.

  • Enroll in a social work master's degree program. Graduate and earn your Master of Science in Social Work (M.S.W.) degree.

  • Find an internship in a hospice setting. Work at this internship while you are earning your master’s degree.

  • Gain two more years of social work experience after you finish graduate school. You will need to be supervised during this time by a licensed social worker.

  • Take and pass the social work licensure exam. You can find information about taking the exam in the website of the Association of Social Work Boards (see References).

  • Apply in hospices to work as a social worker. Send applications to hospice facilities near your area. You can also join organizations such as the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) and National Association of Social Workers (NASH) to widen your network and to keep abreast of developments in the hospice social work field and possible job opportunities.

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