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The Path to Becoming a Successful Social Worker

If you have a passion for helping others in complex situations, becoming a social worker can be very rewarding. But what is social work? And what can you do with a bachelor’s in social work?

When you decide to go into social work, you’re choosing a career focused on helping those who are underserved or disadvantaged and connecting them with the resources they need. Licensed social workers manage cases for individuals, families, and groups in different settings, including the community, a social agency, health care, or government.

Social worker sitting on a couch, talking to a client next to her who sits in a wheelchair

Important skills for success as a social worker include good listening and observation skills, resiliency, self-confidence, and good written and verbal communication. You may work with people one-on-one or in a group setting. You’ll also find yourself with a mix of office work and on-site work.

If you’re unsure of working directly with clients, there are other career pathways to utilize your skills and knowledge as a social worker. These include working at government and non-profit organizations to engage in policy analysis; driving reform at the local level by working with community leaders and residents; and serving in a research role to study the effectiveness of programs and agencies.

There are many different career options within social work. You are sure to find one that fits your goals. Let’s find out how to get started.

How do you get a degree in social work?

At Aultman College, we offer a four-year Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. You can be a full-time or part-time student, starting in the fall or spring semesters. Students accepted into the school are directly admitted into their major. So you won’t have to compete for spots in the program, unlike most other colleges.

Our admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 high school GPA (660 GED) or 20 ACT (1030 SAT or ACCUPLACER Next Gen scores: Reading Comprehension of 250+ and a Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra and Statistics Score of 263+). Transfer students must have 6 or more credit hours of college course work and a minimum GPA of 2.5 based on the most recent college transcript.

Once accepted into the BSW program, you’ll learn how to navigate various systems in the ever-changing health care field through unique classes and field experiences. You will also learn to practice in generalist settings such as child welfare, foster care, community health, end of life/hospice, substance abuse, and domestic violence. We’ll provide many hands-on learning opportunities through our state-of-the-art simulation labs.

And, instead of internship hours spreading over two semesters, you have the option to take a block internship, so your on-site hours are concentrated in one semester. This allows you to do more follow-through work during the course of a given week with clients in the field.

Finally, upon completing all graduation and residency requirements, you’ll be prepared to become a licensed social worker (LSW).

What is the job outlook for social workers?

We’re proud to say that 100% of Aultman College social work graduates found job placements in their field. This is due in part to our partnership with Aultman Hospital. So, what can you do with a social work degree?

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for social workers is $51,760 as of May 2020. This can vary depending on factors such as specialized fields and the state you live in. Here are some annual mean wage examples for Ohio (as of May 2020):

  • Child, family, and school social workers: $48,530
  • Health care social workers: $57,020
  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers: $47,830
  • Other social workers: $55,910

Jobs in social work are expected to grow 12% from 2020 to 2030. This rate is faster than the average for other jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, “About 78,300 openings for social workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.”

We prepare our students to sit for an exam to become a licensed social worker (LSW) following graduation. Our curriculum sets graduates up for success in the health care field at hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient community clinics, and mental health and chemical dependency centers.

One advantage of the Aultman College social work program is that one of the courses can qualify you to sit for an exam to earn your chemical dependency counselor assistant phase I (CDCA-I) certification. These professionals are in high demand at counseling centers that specialize in chemical dependency in the Akron-Canton area.

Ready to Advocate for Others?

If you’re ready to begin your journey toward a BSW, we can help you get there. Apply now to start classes at Aultman College.