What qualities and skills does a social worker need?
What is social work?
At its core, social work is a career field about helping the underserved or disadvantaged and connecting them with needed resources. Typical jobs for social workers are in clinical, child and family services, industrial, and health care settings.
Social Work Skills and Knowledge
If you are interested in becoming a social worker, the following qualities are important to the profession:
- Ability to listen
- Observation skills (picking up on nonverbal cues in particular)
- Written and verbal communication skills
Ron Davis, MSW, LSW, director of the Aultman College social work program, adds that students need to be creative and resourceful. “Clients can have complex problems that involve multiple facets. An individual may need medical attention, assistance with housing, and counseling for mental illness all at the same time. There is not one defined way to help this person. Social workers need to be familiar with the options available and quickly think on their feet – often outside of the box – to assist each person.”
How to become a social worker
If these skills sound like you, your first step is to enroll in a bachelor of social work (BSW) program. It typically takes about four years to complete the degree and the required internship/field experience hours. Following graduation, you can sit for an exam to become a licensed social worker (LSW) and begin interacting with clients (individuals, families, groups).