Licensed Clinical Social Worker Degree – What is a social worker and how do you become a social worker? Social work is a profession that helps people overcome obstacles to healthy, happy and independent living, such as inadequate housing, substance abuse problems, domestic violence, physical or mental disabilities or unsuitable parenting. Social workers deal with these barriers in a variety of settings – including schools, homes, hospitals and residential settings. They represent a wide range of clients, from newborns to the elderly. Social workers can be employed by government departments or private agencies.
Answering the question of what a social worker is, we must also discuss the function of human services. Human services are a set of services offered by public and private agencies to improve the living situation of clients. Human services often cover the same tasks as social work. These two terms can often be used interchangeably. The difference between social service professionals and social workers is that formal “social workers” must be licensed or certified by the state in which they work. In contrast, social service professionals can include many people who work through government agencies, hospitals, government-funded housing or clinics, and some criminal justice agencies.
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Each college offers a specific set of course requirements, but social service students typically take general education courses in the liberal arts and humanities. To provide students with hands-on experience, many social service/social work programs incorporate fieldwork into their curricula. Students may be granted a supervised position in service-related work and awarded credit for their internship obligations. Some degree programs offer specialized courses in gerontology, child welfare, substance abuse, or other areas.
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If you are completely new to the field, you can start your education with an associate degree in social services. Associate-level programs may be offered as A.A. degree (Associate Professor of Art), A.S. degree (Associate Professor) or as an A.A.S. degree (associate professor of applied sciences.)
Applied science degrees are typically designed for students who will “apply” their education through direct client work. Graduates of applied sciences can become paraprofessionals working in social services. After learning case management practices and counseling/rehabilitation techniques, these graduates will be prepared to provide care in halfway houses, shelters, or group homes.
A.A. and like. Human services degrees, on the other hand, may include more general education or administration courses. These programs may be aimed at students who plan to work in an office environment, as opposed to group homes or hospitals. A.A. programs can emphasize the business side of human services – including technology applications, government regulations, and public policy. But sometimes colleges simply choose to name their programs one way or another, and the specific initials are not intended to denote a specific type of professional training.
By itself, an associate’s degree will set you up for entry-level roles in social work. High school graduates typically work as aides under the supervision of licensed social workers, psychologists, or nurses. Whether you’re leaning toward direct customer service or a more administrative career, you should talk to different admissions counselors to make sure these differences apply to the programs you’re considering. Counselors can tell you what jobs other graduates have gotten and how many have continued their education in the field.
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If you already have an associate’s degree and/or already have some experience in the service industry, you may want to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Even if you have neither, you can still transfer to a graduate program, but you need to be doubly sure that you have invested in the field and understand what kind of career you want.
At the undergraduate level, degrees classified under the human services heading are beginning to take on different slants and concentrations. Some are essentially psychology degrees, some are essentially business degrees, and still others are essentially sociology or criminal justice degrees. Because there are so many career sectors in social services, undergraduate students should be prepared to focus their research based on their career goals and the types of clients they want to help.
If you are considering becoming a licensed social worker, check out the tips below. If you’re interested in other roles in the human services sector, a bachelor’s degree can help you pursue a career in adoption, family planning, foster care, the correctional system, victim advocacy, or nonprofit work for any number of charities.
As with a bachelor’s degree in human services, you’ll soon find that master’s degrees emphasize specific professional areas. Students can focus on topics such as marriage and family services, nonprofit management, health and wellness, or executive leadership. These degrees are doubly beneficial because: a.) most leadership roles in social service fields require a master’s degree; b.) specialized training helps job candidates stand out from the competition. Social service employers look favorably on degrees that emphasize industry competencies, as opposed to general business skills.
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A Doctorate of Social Services (or DSV in Social Work) is the highest level of study in this field. PhD graduates can move into land management executive positions or even teach human services at the college level.
States have different requirements when it comes to licensing social workers. There are different ones in a given country
Licenses you can get. For example, the state of Massachusetts issues four different social work licenses – including Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSV), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSV), Licensed Social Worker (LSV), and Licensed Social Worker (LSVA). .
Various abbreviations – LCSV, LSV, LGSV etc. – can mean different things and be accompanied by different requirements. After researching the social worker categories in your state, you’ll likely find that there are significant differences between local social workers—in terms of education required, job opportunities, job responsibilities, and average salary.
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It is usually possible to become a licensed social worker if you have a degree and some supervised clinical experience. Some states may additionally require a master’s or bachelor’s degree from a CSVE-accredited college. In other words, you may need a specialized BSV or MSV degree from a state-approved program, as opposed to a more generalized human services degree. Most states also require a standardized test. Once licensed, your state will likely require you to complete continuing education requirements (one-on-one courses or seminars) every two to three years.
Broadly speaking, there are four levels of licensed social work. Not all states recognize all four levels, but it’s still useful to understand what they are. Note that your state may use slightly different initials for these categories. For details, check your state’s social work licensing requirements on the ASVB Regulatory Board page.
According to the Center for Clinical Social Work (CCSV), “Clinical social work is a mental health profession whose practitioners, who have obtained a degree in social work and supervised training, possess a specific set of knowledge and skills to assess, diagnose, and alleviate problems, disorders, and conditions that hinder the healthy bio-psychosocial functioning of individuals – individuals, couples, families, groups – of all ages and backgrounds.”
In other words, clinical social workers are similar to counselors or therapists. But instead of earning a degree in psychology, they earn MSV and DSV degrees through the college’s social work department. Although they study human behavior, psychotherapy, and social development, clinical social workers are better equipped to help clients access public resources or establish “therapeutic life management” in tandem with regular counseling intervention.
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Yes and no. As noted above, states have different requirements for their licensed social workers. There are different types of social workers in this country. In some cases, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in social services can serve as a viable stepping stone to social work. In other cases, students should limit their degree search to BSV and MSV programs that are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSVE). If you are sure you want to become a licensed social worker, contact your state board and inquire about acceptable educational paths to becoming a social worker.
Correctional professionals are similar to probation officers, except they also take an active role in helping offenders build stable, productive lives. Correctional professionals work with convicted felons, exonerated offenders, and offenders serving time. They develop and implement rehabilitation plans based on offender histories and diagnoses. Rehabilitation can take place in or out of correctional facilities and may include psychological counseling, vocational training, addiction treatment, or anger management. Correctional workers may be employed by public or private agencies, and their work day may include contact with the court system, parole boards, psychologists, corrections officers, family members of offenders, and others.
If you focused your social services studies on child and family welfare, you may enjoy working as an adoption coordinator. Adoption agents may work for government agencies or private organizations, some of which facilitate international adoption. If you speak another language, you can be a particularly valuable resource for parents and governments trying to coordinate the ideal placement.
Most agencies will require a degree in social work or a related major, such as social services. If you want to manage a
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