Gone are the days when an individual could become a social worker simply because he had an earnest desire to help others. Indeed, being well-equipped with empathy is still the first prerequisite to establishing yourself as a social worker. But, owing to the contemporary competition of this field, you have to follow a proper pathway.
Many people become social workers through a shortcut. However, more often than not, their success proves to be short-lived, and they are forgotten as if they never existed in the first place. So if you are aiming for an illustrious career and really want to make a difference, stick to the following roadmap. Rest assured, you won’t set a foot wrong.
1. Identify your social work specialty
Our society undergoes a variety of issues. Some of them are quite visible on the surface, while others are immersed in different layers. Social workers have to deal with all the problems in order to make the world a better place.
Having said that, every individual is encompassed with limited capacity. Therefore, it would be a wise approach to dedicate yourself to one social cause instead of flirting with too many fronts. For example, if you have substance to become a solid advocate of the LGBT community, make it your specialty. Likewise, if you think working for senior citizens goes best with your personality, choose that line.
A fair proportion of social workers are not clear-headed, even after having done online masters in social work. They poke their nose into too many affairs and consequently fail to capitalize on their talent. Make sure you don’t fall for the same trap.
2. Earn a bachelor’s degree
Having a proper academic background is very important for a social worker. Governmental and non-governmental organizations hardly entertain candidates who fall short of this basic qualification. Broadly put, all your skills will come to naught if you don’t manage to pull off a bachelor’s degree.
Sometimes students don’t realize that they are the right fit for social work until they are done with their graduation program. In that case, if you have already earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, political science, human development, and other related disciplines, then you don’t necessarily have to worry about your future. All these fields overlap with social work to a great extent.
3. Capitalize on the academic years
This step is going to play the most critical role in shaping up your career. So as soon as you get admission in a bachelor program, you will have to adopt the following habits to become more productive:
- Time management: Being a social worker, you will be burdened with multiple clients every now and then. Needless to say, this is going to be a tough nut to crack if you subscribe to poor time-management skills. That’s where academic years can help you to groom for the future. Develop the habit of maintaining a to-do list. It will ensure much-needed clarity of thought. As time goes by, you will feel empowered to deal with several challenges at one time and, that too, with equal authority.
- Organization: Time management and organization are often used interchangeably. However, they are two separate territories. A professional social worker has to get into the thick of things. Hence, it becomes indispensable for him to stay on top of the paperwork despite having heaps of documents. You can attain this level of proficiency only if you practice being organized during schooling years. Try to put your assignments, notes, and presentations in an orderly arrangement. If possible, also try your hand at the filing system. These apparently minor routines will heavily pay off in the long run.
4. Complete a master’s degree
As a common practice goes, higher qualification leads to better skills, and companies engage in a rat-race to recruit you. Sometimes they even expand their financial reach to take you on board. The same stands true for a social worker.
Having a master’s degree by your side means you are more likely to receive better career opportunities, such as getting hired for clinical work. According to well-established numbers, a clinical worker’s annual wages are more than 60000 dollars.
The master’s degree will not only guarantee a comfortable lifestyle and job security. There is more to it. The degree will put you in an authoritative position where you can serve millions of people because you will become part of decisionmakers.
Provided the unending list of perks and privileges, it is highly recommended to get enrolled in the master’s program. If attending physical classes is not feasible, hunt for a suitable online course.
5. Get your license
In the majority of the states, the license is mandatory to step into professional life. Since the requirements vary from state to state, you can get in touch with the Association of Social Work Boards for assistance.
There could be many other technical things that may confuse you during the process. The best way to confront this issue is to work under an already licensed social worker. He may also be very helpful in providing you some financial compensation.
6. Look for the job
Once you are done with formalities (education and certifications), it is time to jumpstart your professional career without further ado. In all likelihood, you may be offered a less-esteemed position for your first job. Well, there is nothing to feel demotivated about that because the first job is always demanding regardless of the profession.
Whether it is a contract based or part-time opportunity, just hang in there and try to accumulate as much experience as you can. Moreover, keep on expanding your network by going to events and offering services voluntarily. You will see yourself steadily moving up the ladder after spending a few rough years down the road.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Pursuing a career as a social worker is more challenging today than it was ever before. Not because our society has fewer evils to deal with but because the community of social workers is at the helm of professionalism. But you can successfully navigate through all the challenges by walking the tight line of the above measures.