How Do I Become a Community Social Worker?

If you want to help build a strong and healthy community where you live, you may be interested in becoming a social worker who works for the city or the state. The main role of a public social worker is to support individuals and family members in neighborhoods to improve the population’s well-being and their quality of life. Professionals who are passionate about helping build safe family atmospheres need to first assess the needs in a neighborhood by working closely with its residents. Here are the steps that you need to take to become a social worker that works with communities.

Step 1: Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work or Another Area of Study

You need to earn your high school diploma or a GED before you can even start to study for a graduate degree. Once you are qualified to apply for admissions, you need to enter into a Bachelor’s degree program so that you can earn your 4-year degree. It’s best to major in a field like Social Work or Psychology so that you can cover the curriculum that will get you into an advanced program.

Step 2: Consider Completing an Internship

Completing an internship with a clinic, non-profit organization or a hospital in a local area can help you build skills while you gain experience. It is best to try and find an opportunity in health services or another type of agency where you can focus on working with families and communities as a whole for the best outcome. Interning also looks good if you want to climb the ladder and build a reputation.

Step 3: Earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work

The next step would be to earn an advanced degree in social work so that you have expert knowledge on how you can help families and communities deal with challenges. If you want to work with communities, you are considered a specialist in the field of social work. That is why it is crucial that you earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) program. In fact, in most states you must have your MSW to become a licensed clinical social worker in any specialty area.

Step 4: Get State Certified

Every state has its own rules and regulations surrounding who can and cannot work as a social worker at a city level. If you want to work with communities, you need to learn how to get qualified to earn your certification through the state. In most cases, you must complete one to three years of field training and then you will be eligible to take a state certification exam. You can check the qualifications in your state by checking with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) or the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

Once you are certified or licensed, you are eligible to start working as a state social worker whose mission is to build stronger communities. If you have not worked as an intern or an entry-level worker, you may need to gain some experience working in health services before you can officially work in social work. Once you have some experience, consider unlocking new career paths in community social work by earning a professional advanced practice credential.