Learning how to become a social worker is a long process. The job of a social worker is a very respectable career involving the care of a variety of vulnerable types of people that live in the UK. This is most commonly a community based profession that deals with struggling groups such as the elderly, children, mental illness sufferers, individuals with substance abuse problems, and families dealing with foster care. A social worker in the UK may also require you to become involved with very disheartening situations, but this can also be rewarding since this provides you with a great opportunity to help these needy individuals and really change their lives. There are many factors to consider when considering how to be a social worker.
Personal Qualities that make a Successful Social Worker
A social worker must be able to handle a wide variety of situations. They must be good at dealing with a wide variety of personalities as well. A strong desire to help others will definitely be needed as this is the main goal of a social worker. You must also be objective, as many situations that you may run into can result in conflicting decisions especially if you want the best for everyone you are dealing with. In many cases you will experience situations where you do not agree or approve of a person’s values. You must however try and counsel them in a non-judgmental way. Empathy is a fantastic quality to possess because you will be dealing with people that are going through difficult problems in their life and trying to understand what they are going through can help you to better communicate in a way that makes them feel more comfortable. As a social worker you should respect all forms of religion, race, sex, and gender. All these differences play a role in people’s morals and how they relate to one another. It is imperative to understand this prior to dealing with a particular situation. Many time people don’t consider these traits when figuring how to be a successful social worker.
Education is Important if you want to be a Social Worker
Social Workers may work for a wide variety of organizations but there are certain standards of education that most of these organizations require. When considering social worker training there are a large variety of routes that one may take when pursuing this type of career. Most curriculums in a social worker program will require you to study the history of the practice as well as policies upheld by today’s social workers. Your path should begin with a bachelor’s degree in social work and to some this is the end of the path, although this is not recommended. Many of the premier jobs require a person to gain further education in related fields such as psychology or sociology or to specialise into one particular field. A masters degree in social work will provide students with a much more intense study in this field and will be much more highly looked upon by employers. No matter which degree you pursue, to be a social worker in the UK you will need to obtain a license to practice. The UK requires around 3,000 hours of supervised work in the field or two years of experience. An exam is also required to obtain this license and you must re-certify annually.
Opportunities for Social Workers
A social worker can specialize in both children and family social work or in primarily adult services or primarily working with children. Which ever option you choose will have an impact on who will employ you. It is estimated that the need for social workers in the UK is growing and this field is one of the fastest growing fields in the country. Organizations such as schools, charities, local authorities, and independent organizations are the primary places that a social worker may gain employment. The NHS also takes on social workers for a wide variety of differing employment. This may include psychiatric hospitals, medical hospitals, or health trusts. Psychiatric hospitals also have a need for social workers that may specialize in dealing with substance abuse and the effect it can have on families. Elderly homes are yet another care facility in need of social workers as senior citizens deal with a specific range of different type of problems. Foster homes and adoption agencies too have high demand for social workers since the process of adoption can be difficult to a child and a social worker will be required to help both families and the child involved to adapt to this process.
Social work can be an intense and frustrating career but at the same time one of the most rewarding. You will have a direct impact in people’s lives and aim to help them to look forward to a brighter future. Becoming a social worker is a long process that requires self discipline and intense studying but is one of the few jobs that let you interact with people that are in true need. Make sure that if you are in fact pursuing this career, that you take the time to research how to be a social worker and every aspect related to ensure you choose a type of social work that will be the most rewarding and provide a career that makes you happy, as well as the people you help.