One of the most interesting academic fields is social work that aims at improving quality of life and well-being of individuals or communities through research, policy and community organising. As part of social work, you could be of benefit to people who are affected by poverty, mental or physical disability, social injustice etc. If serving humanity is a career that might be of interest to you, then you should consider pursuing an educational qualification in this field. For social workers, the minimum educational requirement is a bachelor’s degree. But for those who cannot afford to pursue a bachelor’s degree, there is still an option to pursue an associate degree in social work, which might be able to get your foot in the door, in this field.
The associate degree in social work is a two year program, and the prerequisites to get admission to this program are quite simple. Like other programs, you require a high school diploma or its equivalent. You also would require showing your interest in serving the society and you might have a better chance of getting into a school, if you have done any social work at the school level.
The program is usually a pre-social work degree where candidates would learn about behavioural issues, counselling methods, child development, etc. You would also have to learn about few specialty areas relating to elderly people and children as well. The coursework of the associate degree in social work may also include research methods, planning development and social policy. The subjects and topics that might be covered under this program are psychology, biology, philosophy, economics, global social issues, human behaviour and development, cultural anthropology, etc. Multicultural issues, managed care, and child welfare and interventions are additional courses that may be covered depending on the school you join.
As per the statistics from the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), there is an increase in demand for social workers especially in the field of mental health and substance abuse. You might only be able to get entry level jobs in the field, in the beginning. However, if you pursue a bachelor’s degree, you have better chances of getting higher positions that pay well. You may be able to transfer the credits you earned in your associate degree in social work to your bachelor’s degree, so that the duration of the program would be reduced.
The job that you get would also depend on the type of field you would like to work in. There might be certain people who might wish to work with children and elderly people. Some may have interest in helping those who are poor. Candidates might be interested in working with substance abusers or mental health patients. The number of options that you have when it comes to working as a social worker is endless. You would usually find jobs in private companies, non-government organisations or government sector.