How to Become a Social Worker After High School

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Social workers meet with people in need to discuss options for help.
Social workers meet with people in need to discuss options for help.

Becoming a social worker after you finish high school can be a rewarding and worthwhile endeavor. Social workers provide important services to those who cannot help themselves. Whether they be children, disabled or destitute, social workers help these individuals have a fighting chance in society. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for social workers should increase by about 16 percent from 2008 to 2018, a rate nearly double the average for all other professions. Training to become a social worker after high school requires education and preparation.

Instructions

    • 1

      Enroll in classes and complete your general education requirements. You can do this at either a community college or at a four-year institution where you plan to complete your bachelor's degree. General education courses are the foundational courses you will take during the first two years of your undergraduate education. They provide you with foundational knowledge needed to obtain a bachelor's degree while preparing you for your upper-level studies during your junior and senior years of college. Courses will include areas of study like English composition, history, college algebra, biological and physical science, literature, sociology, psychology and even philosophy.

    • 2

      Complete a bachelor's in social work (B.S.W.) degree. You will need to complete your bachelor's degree in social work at a school that has received accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Most bachelor's degrees in social work are similar because most strive to seek accreditation from the CSWE. Your bachelor's degree program will introduce you to a broad foundation of studies in the field of social work and will include both practical courses and courses in social work theory.

    • 3

      Complete your internship as required by your bachelor's degree program. Most bachelor's degree programs in the field of social work require you to complete an internship so that you gain practical experience before entering the field of social work. Internship programs can vary, but they usually require a minimum number of supervised hours working in the field under the direction of a licensed professional.

    • 4

      Gain experience working in the social work field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most states require approximately two years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience before you can be licensed to work as a social worker.

    • 5

      Social workers must be licensed in all 50 states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the requirements can vary by state. Most states will, however, require at least the minimum of a passing score on a licensing exam after the experience and education requirements have been met.

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