Social workers can be compassionate, organized, problem solvers who help clients deal with issues faced in everyday life. Social workers can have great people skills and a genuine interest in helping others better themselves, but can also look to an education to help them prepare to enter the field.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor's degree is almost always needed for most direct-service social worker positions. A bachelor's degree in social work, or BSW, can be a practical way to enter the field, but some employers might also consider applicants whom hold a bachelor's degree in psychology or sociology. The BLS suggests this kind of training can prepare future social workers for roles as caseworkers and mental health assistance, which are both considered direct-service positions.
Other social work positions, including those in clinical health-care settings and in schools, generally require a master's degree in social work, or MSW. Though a MSW builds upon the skills learned in a BSW program, the BLS suggests that a bachelor's degree in social work isn't always a perquisite for these programs.
Both BSW and MSW programs typically require students to complete an internship before graduation. This kind of supervised field work can help directly prepare future social workers through hands-on interactions with both clients and other professionals.
Featured degree programs to help prepare for a social worker career: