Caseworker Degree, Licensure and Certificate Information
Prospective students who want to become caseworkers can enroll in an undergraduate certificate program in case management, which meets the education requirements to work in a human services setting like a mental health center, long-term care facility, and more. Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in human services provide advanced studies that can lead to a career as a caseworker. There are many caseworker positions that do not require certification or licensing.
Certificate of Completion in Case Management
In an undergraduate certificate program, the curriculum consists of studies in social work and client management. Students learn assessment and interviewing techniques and develop the skills required to manage a diverse group of clients. Human services oriented, the program also focuses on professionalism, ethical decision-making, and cultural sensitivity.
By the end of the program, students are able to relate to clients, provide emotional support, and assist clients in improving their quality of life. The program concludes with an internship experience. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate. A school may require students to be concurrently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.
Case management courses teach interpersonal communication skills, motivational techniques, and crisis management. Coursework includes topics, such as:
- Job development
- Case plans
- Domestic violence
- Substance abuse
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Social and human services assistants earned a median annual salary of $28,850 and held approximately 351,400 jobs in the U.S. in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that jobs in this field were expected to grow 28% between 2010 and 2020.
Associate in Science in Human Services
Human services students learn to work with people facing issues like poverty, mental illness, abuse, developmental delays, and more. This program explores human services as a field that helps individuals and families improve their lives in the face of considerable personal difficulties. Study areas include the history of human services in the United States, public health, client relations, and more. Students participate in a field experience at a human services agency towards the close of the program. Prospective students are required to hold a high school diploma or GED certificate.
Coursework examines the role of a human services worker and their relation to individual clients. Course topics in the program include:
- Managed care
- Suicide prevention
- Group evaluation
- Family dynamics
Popular Career Options
Graduates go on to human services careers at social service agencies, mental health centers, group homes, and more. Career options for graduates include:
- Family advocate
- Activities aid
- Respite worker
Bachelor of Science in Human Services
Students in this program are prepared to develop treatment plans, assess and interview clients, and manage cases for individuals with varying degrees of need. The program's curriculum focuses on helping people cope with a variety of issues, including mental illness, trauma, aging, and more. Other areas of focus are research, ethics in the human services profession, and social science. The program culminates in an internship experience. Admission requirements are the same as in the previous programs.
Coursework includes studies in behavioral science, client diversity, and statistics. Topics of discussion might include:
- Ethnic groups
- Criminal behavior
- Community services
- Program planning
Popular Career Options
Graduates are qualified to work for social agencies like child and welfare services, departments of mental health, and in a variety of other settings. Caseworkers may find positions within the correctional system, but may be required to have a bachelor's in criminal justice as well. Potential job titles are:
- Mental health worker
- Social work assistant
- Life skills counselor
Certification and Licensing Information
There are no standard licensing or certification requirements for caseworkers. Certification requirements for caseworkers depend on the field and the agency or organization where a caseworker is seeking employment; many caseworker positions do not require certification or licensing.
However, a position may require that an applicant is a LSW (Licensed Social Worker). This would require a master's degree in social work. Other certifications that may be specified in a job ad for a caseworker are LCP (Licensed Professional Counselor) or LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist). Therefore, it is important that a student considers first where they wish to work on graduation in order to take the right courses and degrees.
Graduates of a technical certificate or an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree in human services, criminal justice, family and marriage therapy, psychology, social work, or counseling are eligible to take the Human Services - Board Certified Practitioner examination. It is offered by the National Organization for Human Service's (NOHS) Center for Credentialing and Education (CCE). In addition to the formal education requirement, candidate must have the required number of years of experience. Certificants are required to submit proof of 60 continuing education hours every five years to maintain certification.
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