Foster Care Social Workers are often considered to be child, family, and school social workers. It is the responsibility of the Foster Care Social Worker to help improve a child's welfare by assisting to improve the social and psychological functioning of the child within the foster care system. Foster care social workers must also be specifically trained and be licensed to practice in the state they live.
The first step towards getting a job as a social worker is to earn a bachelor's degree. Most commonly, social workers get a bachelor's degree in social work but this is not required. Other degrees that are acceptable include psychology, sociology and other related fields.
Classes for a bachelor's degree in social work may include human development, contemporary families, social work and family violence, and society and mental health. They also commonly include field experience classes, where students work under professional social workers in the field and learn more about practical application of their classes.
Although a master's degree in social work is not required to work in the field of social work, many positions require an individual to have an advanced degree.
An advanced degree gives an individual more options employment options and offers more opportunities for advancement and direct clinical practice. Generally, a Masters of Social Work program requires 900 hours of supervised field work or an internship.
While each state requires a certain number of hours of field work in order to obtain the required licensing to practice social work, not all state requirements are the same. For a complete listing of each state's licensing guidelines, please visit the Association of Social Work Boards website (see Resources below).
All social workers must take and pass the National Social Work Licensing Exam, which is given by the Association of Social Work Boards. In order to register for the test, individuals must first apply with their state board of social work. The licensing exam has five levels, so you should check with their state to find out which is required in the state where you live.
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