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How to Become a Social Worker

Do you want to make a difference in people's lives? Social workers are agents of social change for the betterment of the world. They help those in need in schools, hospitals, communities and more. Social workers need to be sensitive, emotionally strong, open-minded, objective and responsible. Being a social worker is a selfless struggle that can lead to a very fulfilling and satisfying career.

Here's how to become a social worker:

  1. Volunteer or intern as a social work aide to see what the job is like. Social work can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, so it makes sense to make sure you really want to become a social worker before proceeding to the next step.
  2. Earn a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Majors in psychology or sociology may qualify you for some entry-level positions and can lead to a master of social work degree, but most social work jobs require at least a bachelor of social work degree.
  3. Start your career in a direct service position. A bachelor of social work degree will allow you to work as a caseworker, mental health assistant, group home worker or residential counselor [BLS].
  4. Consider learning a second language. Over 15 million people in the United States speak Spanish as a first language and don't speak English well. Over 20 million others speak another language besides English at home. [BLS]
  5. Obtain state licensing or certification. Although licensing requirements vary from state to state, every state requires social workers to be licensed. Check your state's licensing requirements. [ASWB]