How to Become a Social Worker

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the industry and company you apply at.

Those looking for an entry position will likely need a bachelors degree in social work or human services. A clinical social worker will need a master’s degree in social work along two years of supervised work experience. Clinical social workers also need a that is state-approved license. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, then a master’s degree along with intern experience can help you stand out in the hiring process.

Start your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited colleges below that offer programs to help get you started as a social worker.

How Much Does a Social Worker Make? 
$44,200 (national median salary, to see salaries in your state click on the “Best Places to Work” tab up top)

Expected Growth from 2012-2020:
+114,100 additional people employed

Specialization Options:
Management, child welfare, case management, clinical and human services

(all information above provided by the 2012 BLS Social Work page) 

Discover the Best Places to Become a Social Worker

California, by far, employs the largest number of those in the social work field, with over 14,000 positions currently being occupied, and offering a mean annual wage of $62,420. Second to California is New York, with 9,590 positions being filled by social workers, and an average yearly wage of $58,130.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the industries employing the most child, family and school social workers are:

  • Individual and family services 21%
  • State government 21%
  • Local government 19%
  • Elementary and secondary schools 12%
  • Healthcare 9%

Employment and Salary Information by State for Social Workers

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Social Work.  Our detailed employment information is pulled from the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics, a highly credible government website.

Employment and Information Data for Social Work

Why Become a Social Worker

The idealism that sprung from the 1960’s in the United States led to an explosive growth in social services. Now, more than 40 years later the continued need for social workers, who help others with the many challenges faced in today’s society, is once again on the rise.

As the needs for social assistance increase the career demand for social workers will naturally rise and is expected to grow 25% from now until 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are many different roles a social workers plays from crisis management to welfare management to children abuse.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a Social Worker

  • Social Welfare Programs and Policies
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • Social Work Research
  • Diversity, Racism, Oppression, and Privilege
  • Social Work and the Law
  • Clinical Practice with Children
  • Clinical Practice with Substance Abusers and Their Families
  • Clinical Practice with Couples
  • An Introduction to Conflict Management
  • Comparative Criminal Justice

Degrees for Social Work Careers

Certificate degrees in social work are designed for beginning to mid career professionals looking to advanced their understanding and skills of the industry.

Associate’s Degree
A n associate’s degree in social work can prepare professionals for positions many different social work fields such as childcare, elder-care, substance abuse and counseling, community affairs.

Bachelor’s Degree
The Bachelor of Science in Social Work program offers students skills on teaches you how to counsel and serve people within the client’s context – social, economic, and cultural – whether you are helping a child in foster care, a homeless teen mother, an isolated elderly person, or a developmentally challenged adolescent.

Master’s Degree
Some positions, including those in schools and in healthcare, frequently require a master’s degree in social work (MSW). All clinical social workers must have an MSW.