Take The Next Step In Your Social Work Career
Many social work or human services professionals hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) which prepares students for entry-level general practice in family services, child welfare, public health and substance abuse.
A BSW degree does not allow graduates to practice clinical social work (which requires a Master’s Level education and licensure exam), many students pursue a BSW as a stepping stone to graduate studies.
A Master of Social Work (MSW) prepares professionals to do advanced specialized clinical work in direct practice or administration. A typical clinical social worker will provide individual, group, and family therapy to develop strategies to change behavior or cope with difficult situations.
Social work is a diverse, challenging, and selfless profession that can profoundly impact every corner of society. It requires a passionate desire to make a difference in individuals, families, and communities.
- Ask a Social Worker: Check out questions already answered, or ask a new one — and have it answered by one of our experts on the MSWcareers.com Social Work panel.
- Find an MSW: Check out our top picks for online MSW programs.
- View Your State’s Licensing Requirements: State licensing requirements for social workers vary by state and can change over time. View your state’s requirements here.
- Sign a Petition: Read about the changes social workers are making across the country. Request to have your own initiative posted.
How Does Social Work Field Placement Work?
One of the single most important components of your graduate study will be your social work field placement, a required component of any graduate social work program carrying CSWE accreditation.
For accredited MSW programs, social work field placement consists of one or two internships, under the supervision of seasoned human services professionals. Many colleges have a dedicated staff member or team who specializes in locating field internships for students. Social work field placement specialists work to find internship opportunities that meet CSWE requirements for supervision and responsibilities, making sure that students will have a quality experience with ample guidance.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Social Worker?
Anywhere from 2 to 4 years, depending on your prior education and experience.
The first step to becoming a social worker is usually to obtain a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited college or university. This prepares students for both entry-level positions in the field, as well as for a Master’s of Social Work.
Most students with a BSW go on to complete an MSW program due to the specialized training and in-depth practice experience it offers. Earning an MSW allows graduates to apply for social work licensure (LSW or LMSW, depending on the state) and eventually clinical social work licensure (LCSW).