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Information on Social Work Licenses

Higher Education Articles August 24, 2013

Social workers are among the hardest working and most sincere people in any psychology-related field. Although they are often vilified from the perspective of parents (who worry about their children being unjustly taken away), it is far more often the case that social workers are the one party interested in helping out the underprivileged of society.

Social workers provide a number of services to individuals, groups and communities. They often help people obtain needed services, offer counseling and even therapy sessions with individuals and families who are suffering. Much of the job is in problem solving, helping others cope with problems, seeking available solutions and promoting the most humane systems with available resources. Graduating students may find the social worker path extremely accommodating, though registration and licensing are an essential part of getting started.

Educational Requirements

Social work begins with a solid education and usually a high-level doctorate degree at that. Graduates can pursue a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) or a D.S.W. (Doctor of Social Work), though some will find entry-work with a master’s or bachelor’s degree. The most interesting aspect is that licensing on the state level is not standardized, and in some cases, social workers can acquire a license with only a bachelor’s degree. The difference between the Ph.D. and other degrees are that between research and a “generalist” area of practice. While standards differ, licensing is required in most states, as is certification. This may also be accompanied by a pre-licensure examination administered by the Association of Social Work Boards.

In addition, educational and training prerequisites, usually applicants must be 21 years of age or older, have good moral character, meet examination standards, and complete additional coursework on the subject of reporting child abuse, according to state standards. Educational standards are proven by presenting evidence of educational level by an accredited organization.

Career Outlook for Social Work

Social work is a fast-growing field, according to sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which states that the profession is growing faster than the average job, in the field of psychology. The licensed social worker is expected to be knowledgeable in most areas of psychology, including child psychology.

And not surprisingly, given the bad publicity the profession has endured because of extreme cases of negligence, now practically all states are requiring additional training to ensure proper counseling, family care and adherence to protocol. The direction of stressing licensing, more than ever before in the modern age, is to prevent abuse of the social worker position that often happens with unlicensed, uncertified and unqualified workers. Training with a reputable university, working towards social work licensure can help solidify your future. The higher standards of the profession also ensure the continued existence and growth of this particular aspect of psychology.

If you want to help the underprivileged and contribute towards a better world even within your own home town, this is an excellent career path. Start your career right with an education that leads right along smoothly to licensing and certification.

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