In this post, you will discover 10 simple tips to help you take your online social work degree effectively. This would also answer some questions whether a field that requires constant face-to-face interaction could really be taught successfully in a virtual environment.
In addition, At the end of this article, you will be provided 10 effective skills and traits that you must have as a social worker.
Each individual can start their path to becoming a social worker by earning the necessary degree. Most social work jobs require a degree in social work, and most states require a social work degree to become licensed as a social worker. The right degree path depends on your experience, education, and personal goals as a social worker.
Here are tips to help you succeed your Online Social Work Degree
- Check if there are available social work scholarships and resources
Aside from considering the school that you think you fit most to take your online social degree course, you can also consider checking if there are available scholarships and resources under the program. This can help you to save the cost and other miscellaneous fees that you might need to shoulder during your study.
When choosing an online social work education, ensure that the program is accredited, and also that it’s authorized by the student’s state of residence.
- Consider the following factors when choosing a Social Work Program:
- Accreditation – Choosing an accredited social work program prepares each learner for professional licensure and a career in social work.
- Program Concentrations and Specialties – Although all accredited social work programs cover similar core curricula, each school varies in electives, concentrations, and focus areas. Choose a program that matches your interests and career aspirations.
- Field Education – Field education provides students with practical work experience in social work. Each social work program offers different field education opportunities based on location and relationships with community organizations. Find a program offering field education opportunities that match your interests and career goals.
- Preparation for Licensure – In most states, each professional must obtain a social work license to practice as a social worker. Parameters for licensure vary by state, but most applications for licensure must include a passing score on the American Social Work Boards licensure exam. Candidates should research social work programs’ graduate exam pass rate, as well.
- What Can You Do with an Online Social Work Degree?
Social workers help diverse clients of all ages to deal with challenges and find ways to cope with difficult life circumstances. There are a lot you can do when you have a degree in Social Work and can choose which field to specialize. Some includes clinical, healthcare, and mental health practitioners who provide direct services to clients.
While other social workers practice to provide support and programs to specific groups in community organizations and government and nonprofit agencies. Administrators and researchers specializing in public health, healthcare policy, and advocacy to reduce inequality and promote systemic change.
Below are some of the areas you can specialize under a social work degree:
- Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides – Social workers under this category help patients with disabilities, assisting with daily activities such as personal hygiene and housekeeping. Social Workers who considers to enter this field requires licensing or certification.
- Psychiatric Social Worker – These social workers find employment in hospitals and mental health facilities to provide individual counseling and group therapy to patients with psychiatric and emotional challenges.
- Child and Family Social Worker – Social workers under this category provide support and access to resources for children and families, such as medical assistance, family counseling, and addiction treatment.
- Clinical Social Worker – This requires a state license to provide counseling to individuals, families, couples, and groups. Along with offering therapeutic services, they help their clients to access social services, community resources, and other forms of support.
- Healthcare Social Worker – Licensed healthcare social workers assist patients, families, and caretakers, providing support and helping them to connect with needed healthcare services.
- Participate in professional development opportunities.
Joining professional organizations will also add to your student experience. Seeking out these opportunities not only increases the scope of your knowledge and learning, but allows you to build your network, connecting with other agencies or colleges.
- Expand your learning beyond the required curriculum.
You can broaden your student experience by seeking out classes that allow you to gain interdisciplinary knowledge. Do some research to see what relevant electives are offered at your school.
- Seek out research opportunities.
There is no denying that having research experience is a huge asset to any résumé. Whether the research is done with a faculty member or independently, the experience will allow you to gain additional perspectives of the field. To take it one step further, look into professional research that has the possibility of becoming published.
- Develop a relationship with a mentor.
You are going to be required to take academic classes taught by multiple professors. These individuals are gateways of knowledge and experiences in the field of social work. Learn from them. Even though their primary role may be teaching, often professors are still active part-time in the field. They can be a valuable resource to help prepare you for life after you graduate, so take advantage of the individuals who can share their experiences and expertise.
- Track your achievements.
Throughout your education, you are likely to be placed in different roles and experiences that will help you to grow in your career. Whether it’s being a leader of a committee, helping to organize a social work week, or giving a presentation to a university-wide or community audience, all of these roles help to broaden your experiences and skills. Not only will this give you the opportunity to self-reflect after graduation, but it will serve as a foundation for your résumé.
Start a document or Excel file that you can easily update as you participate in different roles. This technique can also be adapted and used after graduation, continuing to keep track of leadership, awards, and more.
- Get experience beyond your field placement.
This is extremely important to keep in mind throughout your time as a social work student. It is important to recognize that even though a volunteer experience may be required on the syllabus, there are other ways to turn this into a deeper learning experience. Keep in mind how the volunteering will contribute to making you a better social worker.
- Continue your hobbies and take care of yourself.
Self-care is a topic well known to social work students and social workers. It is important to make time for yourself. Consider your well-being when you feel overwhelmed with deadlines, upcoming exams, group meetings, and volunteer hours. Learn what you enjoy doing and how you can transform those hobbies in positive outlets. Burnout is common in the social work field, and it is imperative that both students and professionals participate in activities that give their lives joy and meaning.
When performing the balancing act that many students face, make sure you keep your own happiness and well-being in mind.
Best of all, develop good and effective habits that can help you succeed. Here are a few qualities and skills required to be a social worker:
- Stay organized
- Have a consistent workspace
- Manage your time wisely
- Critical Thinking and problem solving
- Being tolerant toward others
- Have a good manner of Communication
- Good listener: much of a social worker’s role is to listen effectively
- Empathy: ability to understand and share the feelings of another
- Social Perceptiveness: Be sensitive to body language, social cues, implications and cultural patterns of behavior.
- Good Coordination: develop ability to coordinate communication and action among multiple parties is a vital part of a social worker’s role in connecting clients with services.
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