Social Worker Job Description

The very word ‘social worker’ is enough to make one understand what this individual does. A social worker is one who contributes to the society by looking after the needs of people who need help. This term is a wide banner that encompasses many ways to deal with social problems, with the ultimate goal of pursuing social justice, and ensuring development that enhances quality of life. Earlier, social work was mainly linked with the idea of charity work at a local level, but with time social work also focused on individuals, family, society, social policy and causes, public administration and development. Social work was no more restricted to a community or a particular place. Social work is now organized into a local, national, and international level, and has moved on from being a ‘rich man’s passion’ to a full-fledged career for many. But before one becomes a social worker, one needs to understand that fitting into the mold of one, is not all about the degrees one holds. Here we will take a look at social worker job description and the educational qualification required to become one.

Educational Qualification

To be a social worker, especially with a registered body, one needs to hold a college degree, and/or a master’s or doctorate in social work. Degrees are usually a Bachelor of Social Work (BA, BS or BSW) degree, a master’s (MA, MS or MSW) or the doctoral degree (Ph.D. or DSW). The degrees include subjects like human behavior, practice, rehabilitation measures, disaster management, ethics, statistics, finance, etc. There is no particular strict compulsion from where one obtains the degree as long as it is valid. Certain countries ask for registration or licenses, especially where funds are involved, for tax purposes. Internships and field training is not compulsory but a desirable requisite for getting into a reputed social services organization. Even a Major in psychology, sociology, and other related fields, or related experience may qualify one for some entry-level job.

Job Description

Under most circumstances, a social worker will have his/her job description and requirement all worked out. They are involved in such a wide range of jobs, that it is difficult to tabulate their job. However, a few of the job pointers are universal in this profession. They help people cope and solve issues that are a cause of concern; be it personal, professional, familial, or a larger societal issue. They even work with law enforcement agencies that deal with domestic abuse and child abuse. They are also involved with disaster management, where they help people to cope with natural or man-made calamities. While some, are also involved in health care, helping individuals cope with disability, life-threatening diseases, or societal issues of addiction, substance abuse and inadequate housing or unemployment. To become a good social worker, the individual should have empathy, tact and patience. He/she should also be sensitive and have the emotional maturity to handle people’s problems. Since the job involves getting into other people’s lives and problems, it can be an emotionally draining job. So one needs to have the resilience to handle and cope with any difficult situation.

In most cases, social workers specialize in one area of life and help improve the quality of life, and are known by the kind of social work they do, like child and family social workers are mostly known as child welfare social workers, family services social workers, or child protective services social workers. Paperwork and constant update of rules and regulations surrounding their arena of work is also one of the things that a social worker has to work towards. They either work in the field or in a facility. There are sometimes no fixed hours, they need to be available as per requirement of the crisis at hand. They also participate in community meetings and gatherings. They volunteer their service, sometimes even pledging their expertise to nonprofit agencies and organizations.

Job prospects are expected to be favorable. Many job openings will stem from growth and the need to replace the ones who leave the occupation. However, competition for the job is expected in cities where training programs for social workers are prevalent. Opportunities should be good in rural areas, which often find it difficult to attract and retain qualified staff. Job prospects may be the best for those with a background in gerontology and substance abuse treatment.

Being a social worker means long hours (more than the mandated 40 hours/week), lack of resources and frustrating cases. One needs patience, consideration and compassion to do their job well. Job prospects for are expected to rise, and so is the salary. Presently a social worker salary ranges between USD 23,442 to USD 53,040 per annum. However, this depends upon the nature of work and where one is being employed. After understanding what the job of a social worker entails, if this is the profession you choose, be ready for long hours, but a highly satisfying and fulfilling career.