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How to Become a Social Worker

Deepa Kartha
Have you ever thought about a career as a social worker, but wondered how to go about it? If you think you are hardworking and have the determination to work in difficult situations, you can surely take up social work as a career.
A social worker is a person who works for the welfare of people who face certain problems in life. They not only strive towards the betterment of individuals, but also for the society as a whole.
Earlier, social work was considered to be a service done to the society by retired people and the wealthy. It was purely voluntary work done in spare time, and also just for the sake of helping others and to get a sense of satisfaction.
However, with the advent of various courses in this stream offered by professional social organizations, youngsters also have started looking at it as a serious career option.
To enter this field, one needs to have excellent organizational and interpersonal skills. It is likely that one will have to work with a variety of people, including children, aged people, alcohol or drug addicts, victims of crime, etc., and will have to learn to deal with them patiently.
It can happen that while working, the individual will encounter a variety of emotional issues that plague these people. Due to this, it is important that an individual who aspires to follow this career should not only be passionate about helping others, but should also be mentally strong.
Experience is the most important factor in this field. Doing voluntary social work while studying at high school will be beneficial for your future career.
Once you finish your high school studies, you can take admission in a college that offers a bachelor's degree course in social work (B.S.W). To enroll in this course, it is important that you score well in high school.
These programs not only give a person the required qualification in social work, but also the necessary field experience.
If you are already working in some other field, you can still work for a social cause. The minimum qualification required is a bachelor's degree in any field. But it would be beneficial if you do at least a diploma or a foundation course in social work.
One can choose to work in social agencies, health care settings, schools, criminal justice settings, etc. The nature of jobs you take up may be as counselor, care worker, residential worker, teacher of special educational needs, and so on.
A Master's degree course in social work (M.S.W) is important if a person wants to progress in his/her career. Many institutes also offer a doctoral degree in social work, which is necessary if you want to undertake jobs as a researcher, administrator, lecturer of social work, policymaker, staff trainer, etc.
This is also a lucrative job where a graduate can earn approximately USD 40,000 a year, which obviously increases with qualification and experience.
A person taking up a job as a social worker must have the genuine interest in helping others, should be ready for hard work, and should be committed towards work. It is a great career option as emotional satisfaction of helping people and bringing a positive change in their lives is coupled with a lucrative job.