An Online Degree in Social Work: Make a Difference on Your Own Time
Earning Your Degree via Online Study is a Flexible Way to Give Your Career a Boost
A career as a social worker is an incredible way to make a difference in the lives of people who really need your help. Whether you want to help children, families, or the elderly, a social work or human services degree is an excellent way to put your fingerprints on the lives of people in your community. Still, it is a very emotionally demanding career that requires patience, communication, and conflict management. Choosing a degree in this field allows you to learn the skills to become a highy-paid specialist, while providing you the flexibility to work at your own pace. read more »
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People who are best suited for the role of a social worker are kind, compassionate, and organized. They are empathetic, as they spend much of their time listening to problems and concerns of their clients. Even so, the most successful social workers develop a thick skin to deal with the often emotional and stressful circumstances that they deal with daily. Organization is a key component, as they often deal with many clients at one time, and must maintain paperwork in order to meet state and federal regulations.
Roles and Responsibilities
The main duty of a social worker is to match those in social need with the resources and opportunities that will help them to be self-sufficient. Sometimes a social worker helps unemployed community members train for and find jobs. They may assist families who are experiencing financial difficulties to access food, clothing, and housing. In some instances, a social worker may be called into emergency family situations (such as abuse or neglect), and help individuals connect with legal resources, temporary safe houses, or emotional counseling. They may also specialize in a number of unique assistance roles, such as drug and alcohol abuse intervention, child welfare, or policy and administration.
Those involved in social work may often spend their time in offices, typically on a 9-5 schedule. Here, there manage files, make phone calls, and create action plans to procure services or assistance for their clients. Social workers can also work outside of an office. Often, they are required to do home studies to assess the safety of a living space, and may be called on to intervene at a home, school, or business in regards to an emergency situation.
Pay and Career Outlook
This is a field that is expected to increase dramatically over the next eight years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for social workers is expected to drive a 19% increase in jobs in the field, which is much faster than the average. However, pay for these jobs varies from specialty to specialty. For example, mental health and substance abuse social workers earned an average of $39,980 in 2012, while those involved in hospital work earned over $56,000.
What really differentiates the job opportunities across this varied field is education. While entry-level workers only need have a bachelor's degree in order to begin their career, they are also at the lowest end of the pay scale, making approximately $30,000 per year. On the other hand, those who obtain a masters can make between $60,000 and $70,000 per year. A traditional or distance learning masters also allows the student to build on their basic knowledge and prepare for leadership positions in areas like Clinical Practice or Administration.
Benefits of Online Study
Regardless of whether you are pursuing a bachelors or masters degree in social work, there are major benefits for completing your program online. Many top-level schools offer a degree via distance learning. Not only are many of the schools prestigious, but the online format provides you with the flexibility to work around home and work responsibilities. In addition, many of the programs work with you to set up local internships in order to prepare you for state or national certification. Truly, online, distance learning study can be the best choice when you want a nationally recognizable degree on your own terms.