Social work usually involves assisting individuals in need during the most challenging times of their lives. It means helping these individuals through social associations, working on strategies and policies to improve their lifestyles, or providing them direct help while in their work or home environments. That said, many aspiring social workers keep asking themselves whether they have what it takes to become social workers or not. However, one thing is for sure; as burdening as it may seem, this career path has numerous benefits. Moreover, salaries and working conditions can vary depending on the social work subfield you choose.
Whatever the case may be, a social worker’s career isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Moreover, it requires a particular set of skills to become one. For instance, you’ll need to obtain a four-year Bachelor’s degree, followed by a Master’s for better employment opportunities. Some typical social work career opportunities that candidates can opt for include patient care coordinator, case manager, community health worker, mental health counselor, and substance abuse counselor, to name a few. However, if you’re unsure whether a social worker’s career path is right for you, listed below are a few benefits of earning a degree in social work that will help you make up your mind.
You’ll have endless career opportunities
When you obtain a social work degree, endless career opportunities will open up for you. Not to mention, according to the BLS, this field is expected to grow around 16 percent in the coming ten years. Such a statistic ensures that you will have plenty of job openings to choose from when you acquire a social work degree. For example, you can work inside a clinic, go into case management, switch to counseling, or become a welfare administrator. The possibilities will be endless!
Furthermore, while working in the social work field, you’ll get the chance to remain consistent with your career while reinventing yourself as a human being. So, whether you want to assist someone with mental or emotional stress, substance abuse issues, or human rights claims, consider obtaining a master in social work to accomplish this.
You’ll leave a positive impact on the community
Social work is all about helping your community and the people within it improve. It is a social worker’s responsibility to address other people’s needs varying from healthcare to legal help. It is all about assisting them to enhance their natural coping mechanisms while improving their lives in the process. Moreover, becoming a social worker will also allow you to positively affect the community, enabling you to stay mindful of how a person’s quality of life can change instantly because of various external factors.
Social work studies are affordable
Typically, tuition fees for social work-related degrees at top colleges and universities stand at $8000 for state students and $22,000 for out-of-state students. That said, you can find various affordable programs, allowing you to strike a balance between educational quality and cost. Moreover, if you have a busy schedule or are already working, it would be wise to look at one of the many options available online to see if you can find one that fits your schedule and budget. Generally, distance learning opportunities are cheaper than conventional learning in terms of both tuition fees and overhead costs.
You don’t require a bachelor’s degree to enroll in a master’s program
Yes, you read it right! You don’t need to obtain a bachelor’s in social work to apply for a master’s degree. Any bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, irrespective of the field, will enable you to enroll in a social work-related master’s degree program. Moreover, to make things a lot easier, you can utilize your past volunteering experience, motivation letter, or personal essay to show why studying social work means a lot to you. That said, every college and university has its admission requirements and criteria. Some of them include; bachelor’s from an accredited higher education institute, minimum GPA, English proficiency proof such as IELTS or TOEFL, GRW examination scores, and an application essay. Check up with these requirements before applying for higher education programs.
You’ll be able to graduate with a social work master’s degree in two or three years
It traditionally takes around three years to obtain a master’s in social work, especially in the United States of America. However, in some cases, this time duration can be reduced to two years if you hold an undergrad degree in social work and apply for a cohort model. That said, it takes three years to complete a bachelor’s in social work and two years for a master’s program. So, whether you live in the US or any European country, you can rest assured that it won’t take you a lot of time to become a social worker. You’ll be up and running with a social work career in as little as two years.
There is a high demand for social workers these days
Regardless of your location, there is a high demand for social workers on the job market. In fact, as per the BLS, there were more than 680,000 social workers in the US in 2016 alone. Plus, as cited before, this field will grow by 16 percent by 2026. That said, the same trend is noticeable in several European countries. According to a Social Services Europe report, jobs in the social work sector represent around 10 to 19 percent of total employed individuals in Germany, France, Belgium, Finland, and Denmark.
Moreover, social work is also a career choice that kept growing even during the 2008 financial crisis. Some reasons for such growth include; the increase in the number of people suffering from old-age-related medical conditions, a growing aging population, and an increase in unemployment and crime-related problems, to name a few.
If you still cannot decide whether a degree in social work is the right choice for you, one of the easiest ways to find out is by volunteering at your local community center or shelter. Doing so will provide you with a platform to help individuals and communities and place their needs before yours. If you volunteer and it turns out to be a rewarding and pleasant experience for you, consider it a sign and pursue formal education to make a promising career out of it.