How Do I Become a Military Social Worker?

Becoming a Military Social Worker

If you have a desire to support military family members you may be interested in a career field which may be extremely gratifying for you as well as for families who will benefit from your services. Perhaps you are asking yourself, “How do I become a military social worker?” Military social work is an incredible career field to pursue and includes a variety of main tasks that involve helping families on a very personal level.

Military social workers support family members by helping them cope with emotional hardships during cases of deployment, as well as other hardships such as traumas, financial hardships, anxieties, domestic violence, or substance abuse. Military social workers help to improve the lives of service members and their family members by offering emotional support and practical solutions to help them through life’s challenges. In order to be fully prepared for this career, specific training is required. Let’s dig deeper into specific steps involved to become a military social worker, including: education, training, and licensing.


In order to receive an entry-level degree in military social work, you will want to pursue a bachelor’s degree (BSW). You may be required to complete clinicals before graduation. This particular degree prepares you to counsel and support service members as well as their families.

In most cases, however, students are required to earn a master’s degree (MSW) if you want to work with families with more complex issues such as mental illnesses. With the master’s degree, you may offer assessments and go on to become a commissioned officer. You may even desire to move beyond the master’s and continue in the field to pursue your Ph.D. in order to obtain an administrative role.


Beyond your degree, you may need additional training to help you grow in your career choice. Training and consultation with experts is an ongoing process and you may do this through gaining additional certifications as well as through volunteering. You may, for example, decide to volunteer to work for families who cannot afford to pay for counseling services. Advancement in the field is possible by obtaining more experience through volunteering.


Each state has its own set of rules regarding licensing. In every state, you will need to be licensed in order to operate as a military social worker, so this is worth researching your state rules to determine the requirements. In most cases, you will need a master’s degree, plus two years of clinical experience after graduation. At this point, you will be eligible to take the license exam, and upon passing, move forward with your career as a military social worker.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Masters in Social Work: 2018

The outlook for social work positions in the military are expected to increase by 18% by 2022. Becoming a military social worker can be an incredibly challenging, yet rewarding career as you set out to assist military personnel and their families. Taking steps toward education, training, and licensing will be your first steps to success in this exciting career. Taking these basic, foundational steps will be necessary in embarking on a new career if you’ve been wondering how to become a military social worker.