How Do I Become a Social Work Case Manager?

How do I become a social work case manager? It’s a question on a lot of college grads’ minds, especially since Business Insider recently recognized case managing as one of the top ten most popular jobs for recent graduates. This short primer will give you the information you need to plot your course for this career, keeping in mind that when you’ve completed the requirements, you will become part of a workforce that is helping to keep America together.

Get a Bachelor’s Degree

The most valuable degree in the social work field is the Bachelor of Social Work. Students who wish to become social work case managers will need to get an accredited degree that is backed by the Council on Social Work Education, known as CSWE, in order to get the most out of the program. At the undergraduate level, this degree provides the basis for generalist social work practice and is a great place to start for social work case managers. Depending on the state and the program, there is also a chance to have field experience while still attending school, giving students the chance to get an idea of what being a social work case manager is really like.

Work Experience

Students who graduate with an accredited bachelor’s degree in social work will find that the demand for their profession is only growing; entry-level jobs in this field are plentiful in every state and allow graduates to begin working full-time right away. It’s important to remember that every professional will be required to become licensed before working in the field, but work experience is also necessary for licensure. In this case, it’s best that a student find work in the same state in which they earned their degree, making the job hunting process easier.

Become Licensed

There are two licenses available for social work case managers, and each is important in order to begin this career. The first is the licensed clinical social worker designation, known as LCSW, which is a bachelor-level certification that denotes a professional’s eligibility to work in the field. The second is the certified social work case manager designation, known as C-SWCM. Both licenses allow a professional to practice social work in a particular state, although eligibility requirements vary. It is generally thought that most candidates will need at least 3,200 to 4,5000 hours of paid and supervised social work case manager experience in order to qualify for designation.

Optional: Graduate Education

While graduate education is not required to become a social work case manager, if a professional wishes to become a supervisor or an administrator, a graduate degree is the best path forward. The Master’s in Social Work is perfect for case managers because it combines field instruction with advanced courses to prepare them for promotion opportunities. Graduate education also takes less time than undergraduate degrees, and many schools are now providing online opportunities for professionals who cannot afford to go to a campus to earn their degree. A master’s degree can allow students to specialize in what kind of social work case manager they want to be, enabling them to focus on one type of client throughout their careers; general degrees are also available.

Social work case managers are sorely needed in the country, and not just for children. Case managers often work with a variety of clients, all with their own particular needs and situations. It’s no wonder that there’s a shortage of professionals who are eligible to do the job. Now that you know the answer to the question, how do I become a social work case manager, the next question you should ask yourself is, am I ready to leap into this career?

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs