From Education to Career: Your Journey to Become a Social Worker

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We've got you covered on what it takes to become a social worker. From social work degree requirements, licensing processes and the different types of social work careers, you'll be sure to find the right fit for your educational needs and professional interests.

What is Social Work?

Social work is a fulfilling and rewarding profession that strives to improves the lives of individuals, families or larger communities by removing obstacles in their everyday lives. Social work is an academic and professional discipline that is defined by the National Association of Social Workers as, "Social work practice consists of the professional application of social work values, principles, and techniques to one or more of the following ends: helping people obtain tangible services; counseling and psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups; helping communities or groups provide or improve social and health services; and participating in legislative processes. The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior; of social and economic, and cultural institutions; and of the interaction of all these factors."

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Social Work Degrees

A social work degree is an essential step to begin your social work career. From an associates degree to a graduate degree in social work, career opportunities exist in a variety of human services fields. Our degree guides will provide you with information needed to find the best degree fit for you.

Bachelor's Degree in
Social Work

A BSW prepares graduates for entry-level social work careers and, in many states, qualifies holders for certain social work licenses.

Master's Degree in
Social Work

A master's-level social work degree provides advanced training in the field, including preparation for clinical social work careers.

Doctorate Degree in
Social Work

Doctorate in social work (DSW) practitioners can work in clinical settings as an advanced practice clinical social worker and can also serve their community in administrative roles.

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Online Social Work Degrees

Prospective social workers are not limited to on-campus programs. An online social work degree also meets the professional standards for licensing and practice. Most students earning their social work degree online learn from the same faculty and follow the same curriculum as the institution’s on-campus students. For many students, earning a social work degree online provides a flexible and accessible path to career advancement.

Explore our curated online degrees database to find the best online social work programs that fit your distinct needs.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Social Work Online Master's Degree in Social Work Online Doctorate in Social Work
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Social Work Licensure Requirements in Your State

Many social work jobs require that social workers are licensed, regardless of degree level. Every state has a social work licensing board that oversees and is responsible for the licensing and regulation of social work educational and professional standards for their state. Find more information regarding social work licensure in your state below.

*Some states have exemptions for social workers to practice without a license or certification. Information regarding these exemptions is provided for applicable states.

Social Work Careers

After earning a social work degree, professionals pursue careers in a variety of fields. Some professionals, such as child and family social workers or school social workers, help children manage problems in their lives. Before completing a social work degree, students should research available specialties to learn about degree and licensing requirements.

Community Social Workers

Specializing in community services and resources, these social workers help clients access support through community programs. Many entry-level positions in this area require a bachelor's in social work degree.

School Social Workers

These professionals work in the education system, helping students manage academic and social problems, including poor grades, truancy, and bullying. Many positions require a master’s in social work degree.

Gerontological Social Workers

Gerontological social workers assist older adults with social, pyshical and functional care. They may provide assistance to the elderly and their families during times of transition and help navigate applications for required services.

Psychiatric Social Workers

Psychiatric social workers provide mental health support, such as psychotherapy. They also offer therapy, medical support, and diagnostic assessments. Most practitioners need a master’s degree and a clinical social work license.

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