Social Worker Certificate Program Information
Social workers are trained individuals who help people in their community deal with such issues as unemployment, inadequate housing, substance abuse, familial problems and mental illness. In order to gain social worker certification and become eligible to work in the field, individuals must earn at least a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.). Many go on to earn a master's degree or a graduate certificate.
Social Worker Certificate Programs
Social worker certificate programs cover human behavior, social environments and laws, communication techniques, social welfare policy and more. Students gain basic training in social policy and justice used with organizations in a variety of communities.
After earning their certificate, graduates may earn social worker certification or licensure to become registered social workers in a specific field, such as family services, child welfare, gerontology, policy planning or public health. Additional certificate programs that are similar to those for social workers include programs for substance abuse counselors, family counselors and public policy planners.
The social worker training and studies certificates are offered through bachelor's and postgraduate degree programs. Many certificate programs require students to have prerequisite coursework in the social sciences, such as sociology, psychology or anthropology, as well as requiring English and mathematics courses.
The core curriculum for social worker certificate programs includes a general overview of social work; however, elective courses are also available for additional training in a specific area. In addition to social work field practice, many programs also cover such topics as these:
- Social work with individuals
- Human behavior
- Cultural diversity
- Research methodology
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Social workers hold jobs in a variety of environments, and they are trained to offer professional advice on personal problems, finances, emotional disorders and more. Combining a social worker certificate with a bachelor's or master's degree in social work or another academic discipline can prepare students for entry-level positions or career advancement opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that job growth in the social work field will grow by 16% from 2008 through 2018. The average annual salary for social workers was $39,530 as recently as May 2008, reported the BLS (www.bls.gov). The BLS notes that elementary and secondary schools employ the highest number of social workers.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education
Requirements to become a licensed or certified social worker vary by state; however, students may need additional clinical experience to become a clinical social worker. Social workers are also required to complete continuing education credit hours to stay licensed, which are offered through private and nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities. The Master of Social Work (MSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work programs are also available for students pursuing career opportunities in supervising, management, research, teaching or consulting social work positions.
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