Social work is a field that many people believe requires a master’s degree at minimum in order to have a career, but this isn’t necessarily the case. While many positions ask for a master’s degree or higher, there are many job opportunities for those who chose not to go past the bachelor’s degree. Clinical social work may not be an option, but plenty of other jobs in social work are. Social work jobs may be in a number of different areas from mental and physical health to issues around poverty, education or domestic violence, to name just a few.
A bachelor’s degree in social work qualifies many people to be a case worker or case manager. A case worker might evaluate candidates for different types of government assistance programs such as food stamps, housing or job training. Case workers could work in mental health facilities, hospitals and even prisons. Some case worker positions could require additional licenses or certifications depending on the state requirements and the job itself. This career is a good choice for those who would like to do work similar to that of clinical social workers without going on to higher education.
Mental Health Assistant
This position may include work with people who have substance abuse issues as well and involves working closely with a diverse group of people. Mental health assistants, substance abuse counselors and the like may work in residential facilities or in outpatient programs. Setting up one’s own practice or many areas of counseling within social work require a master’s degree, but these areas generally do not, and therefore they can offer excellent opportunities for those who enjoy the counseling aspect of social work but do not wish to work on a master’s degree.
Those with a bachelor’s degree in social work who would prefer to work more with groups than one-on-one with individuals can become community organizers. This will still involve work with individuals, of course, but community organizers focus on helping groups organize to take action and assists those groups in advocating for housing, jobs, education and other necessities. A community organizer may also coordinate groups of volunteers. Community organizers can be influential in changing local and state policies and can do a great deal to benefit the lives of a large number of people.
College costs are rising, and increasingly, people are graduating with an enormous debt load. The above jobs allow social work majors to work in their field without accruing further debt in graduate study, and given the cost and time needed for a master’s or higher, they also give people an opportunity to learn more about the field before committing to further study. A bachelor’s degree in social work combined with work experience in one of the above jobs would position a candidate well for acceptance into graduate school later. However, those who decide to remain in the above fields without going on to further education will enjoy interesting and rewarding employment in social work as well.
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Social Worker Carrie Watson has written several articles based on her years of work experience and has contributed to the best bachelor of social work for those who want to further their education and embark on a career in social work.