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How to Earn a License in Social Work

Higher Education Articles August 12, 2013

Social work is an extremely rewarding career, as it will help you make a difference in your community, caring for the underprivileged and those in need. Just think of how exciting it would be to be involved day-to-day in making the city you live in safer and more giving with available resources. Of course, social workers must be licensed in order to practice this field, and that’s regardless of education.

Licensing Information for Social Workers

Licensing verifies that the individual has met all necessary qualification, including education, as well as experience. Now, it is true that licensing requirements will vary from state to state, but most of these licensing standards are universal in theory. For instance, practically every state requires that an applicant for a license has a bachelor’s degree. The career fields can be either sociology, psychology or a related subject. If you are seeking a higher level license, then you will want to complete a doctorate degree in a related field or a Master of Social Work degree. This type of degree takes approximately two years.

Remember, there are actually a few different types of licenses available for this career path, and they all directly affect the level of education and expertise of the training. These types of licenses might include Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. There is also a Licensed Master Social Worker and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In order to receive your license, you not only have to complete the coursework and finish the exam, but also have to complete at least 2,000 hours of psychology work, learning hands on in an office environment. This training will cover psychotherapy, diagnosis and assessment. This is a three- to six-year period of training. At least 100 of these hours would have to be under direct supervision.

In addition to completing basic requirements, the state must also determine that you have a good moral character, a legal adult, can meet all clinical exam requirements, and have also completed a special training course in identifying and reporting incidents of suspected child abuse. This training must be given by an approved provider.

Career Outlook for Social Work

How much can you expect to make in this career field? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top ten percent of these workers made over $70,000 a year, which is promising indeed. Even the lower end median salary was over $42,000 per year.

All in all, you will find this career extremely rewarding to individuals who want to help families and underprivileged individuals back on their feet. Don’t feel that you have to invest your entire life in schooling before you can start work. Actually, earning a graduate degree might be enough to gain an advanced license, and meet with people face to face as an official social worker. For more information, contact your college of choice, which offers a variety of psychology programs at different degree levels.

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