FactsHow To Become A Social Worker In The Military

How To Become A Social Worker In The Military


How To Become A Social Worker

Military Social Workers | How to Become One and What They Do

Social workers have an important job that involves helping people and families improve their physical, mental, social, and financial wellbeing. Becoming a social worker can be a great career for those with a passion for helping others overcome challenging circumstances. Learning more about what social workers are and what it takes to become one is a good first step toward deciding if this career is right for you. In this article, we define what social workers do, describe how to become a social worker, and cover some frequently asked questions about this position.

Military Social Work In : Army Navy Air Force Marines And National Guard

Transitioning back to civilian life isnt always easy for veterans, especially those who have experienced a trauma. Unpacking the mental and emotional effects of serving in a war zone can be an important step forward. But to gain the trust of clients, social workers need a deep understanding of military culture.

Being A Social Worker In The Army

Social workers are trained to address human needs. A social worker has the education and training necessary to help people solve, or at least adjust well to, complex social problems. As a subset of broader U.S. society, the nation’s military has also found a need for social workers. For example, the Army supports a corps of commissioned-officer social work professionals.

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Military Social Work Degrees & Education

To become a military social worker, students are required to earn a masters degree. In some cases, the student may opt to study for a Ph.D. if he or she wishes to work in an administrative role. In other, rarer cases, a bachelors degree may be enough to enable graduates to find employment in the social work field, but they cannot establish their own practice. In many instances, those who hold masters degrees may opt to become commissioned officers in the military branch in which they work.

To obtain employment as a military social worker, students must first earn a bachelors degree, followed by graduation from a masters program. All social workers, whether civilian or military, must earn their license by completing both a specific number of academic hours and supervised clinical hours, then sitting the licensing exam. The exact nature of this exam varies by state and jurisdiction.

Training is an ongoing process, including consultation with experts, continuing education, and acquiring experience in the field. With enough experience, a military social worker can advance in rank in their branch of the military. While certification is not, at any point, required by law, it may be required for certain employment positions. A more specific focus in certain areas helps career advancement and brings leadership opportunities.

Military Social Work Resources

Anniversary gift supports military social work ...

Just like there are many tools and programs available for military personnel facing tough times, resources exist to support military social workers. Here are a few of them:

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs : This organization cares for veterans and their families by providing healthcare and other benefits. Their website has many pages with educational materials for both veterans and social workers, along with a comprehensive list of links including staff offices.The National Center for PTSD is a program run by the VA dedicated to increasing understanding and treatment options for PTSD, and offers many resources to help social workers and veterans.
  • National Association of Social Workers : This organization aims to help social workers grow professionally and maintain high standards in social work across the nation. The NASW offers a wide range of educational materials on its website, including a dedicated section for military social workers. They also offer webinars. You can join the association to receive benefits, networking tools, and other professional resources.
  • Military OneSource: This website is a part of the U.S. Department of Defenses network of support for the military community. Itprovides valuable information on topics like housing, finance, education, and employment. Social workers may find it helpful as they guide military individuals and families toward the correct resources.

military resources for social workers.

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S To Become A Social Worker

No one can become a social worker without completing a bachelors degree from an accredited institution. Many students opt to attend programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education , because it guarantees the curriculum meets certain academic standards. Many employers and graduate schools also prefer graduates from CSWE-accredited programs.

A prospective social worker’s path depends on their career goals. Some specialties require a license and an advanced degree. School social workers in some states need a masters degree in social work, a license, and certification from the National Association of Social Workers.

Consider Getting A Master’s Degree

Though you can find entry-level roles as a social worker with a bachelor’s degree, consider earning advanced higher education to refine your skills, further develop your knowledge of social work practices and become an expert in your specific field.

A Master of Social Work Degree combines classroom education with fieldwork in clinical practice. A professional with a bachelor’s degree in any field can pursue an MSW but must take one year of foundational coursework in addition to one year of master’s degree coursework. In relation, those with a BSW most likely already have these skills and can shorten their master’s degree study by one year.

Courses in this study include:

  • Human behavior and the environment
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Substance abuse therapy
  • Social work for older adults

This master’s degree is required for those who want to become a clinical social worker. Many employers in a variety of social work fields also seek professionals with a master’s degree for more advanced positions.

If you intend to obtain your state license afterward, make sure you choose an MSW program approved by the Council on Social Work Education . By continuing your education in the field of social work, you can demonstrate your dedication to the knowledge and practice of your career.

Related:Master’s Degree: Definition, Elements and Benefits

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Which Subjects Can I Study In High School To Become A Social Worker

Are you wondering which subjects you can study in high school to become a Social Worker? If yes, then this informative article is for you. You will be given detailed information about which subjects you can study in high school to become a Social Worker.

Who Is A Social Worker?

A social worker is a professional who helps individuals and families improve their quality of life by ensuring access to basic needs such as food, shelter, and safety. They work to achieve better lives for their clients by analyzing the environment, relationships, systems, and policies that impact their clients lives.

Common challenges that social workers must help their clients overcome include poverty, abuse, unemployment, mental illness, addiction and trauma. Social workers meet with clients and build relationships based on trust and compassion.

They identify the issues their clients are facing and implement solutions such as physical relocation, therapy, coordinating medical treatment, and assisting with employment.

Social workers assist people with a range of educational backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, cultural origins, religions, and disabilities. They recognize how varying backgrounds affect a clients mental and emotional well-being and can guide how the client might respond to treatment methods. Social workers understand the unique needs of the lifestyle sectors in their area and engage with their clients in a culturally respectful way.

Types Of Social Workers

Child, Family And School

Core Competencies For Social Work

Join the Air Force as a Social Worker! WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Youll find a lot of online articles discussing the core competencies for social workers. A lot of them reference lists of human traits such as compassion, empathy, the ability to listen, and more.

And its true that these are all required, but there are more concrete competencies to be aware of. The official site of Boston University notes that theres a national accrediting agency for social work education. The Council on Social Work Education requires all Master of Social Work programs develop and implement an explicit curriculum that prepares graduates for practice by mastering a set of core competencies that includes:

  • Demonstrating Ethical and Professional Behavior
  • Engaging Diversity and Difference in Practice
  • Advancing Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
  • Engaging In Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice
  • Engaging in Policy Practice
  • Engaging with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Assessing Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Intervention with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
  • Evaluating Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

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What Does A Military Social Worker Do

Military social work jobs have a core set of responsibilities focused on supporting and empowering active service personnel, veterans, retired military members, and their families. These professionals provide case management and counseling services while advocating for clients within the VA system. Military social workers also connect clients with helpful resources and services.

Military social workers also help veterans affected by physical injuries access benefits, counseling, therapy, and other forms of rehabilitative support.

In many cases, military social workers assist service personnel, veterans, and family members who need emotional and psychological support. Military deployments and exposure to dangerous and violent situations can potentially lead to issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and suicide. Social workers with specialized training in these issues help clients reclaim control of their lives.

Issues like domestic violence, spousal abuse, and child abuse also frequently touch military families. In these instances, military social workers advocate for victims, guiding them to the protective and legal resources they need. Military social workers also help veterans affected by physical injuries access benefits, counseling, therapy, and other forms of rehabilitative support.

What Are The Job Duties Of A Military Social Worker

Military social workers typically perform the following job functions:

  • Providing counseling services to service members and their families suffering from traumas, losses, deaths, mental illnesses, and psychological disorders.
  • Assessing the needs, strengths, weaknesses, situations, and support systems of service members and their families, in an effort to develop short-term and long-term goals and treatment plans.
  • Developing treatment plans that are designed to improve the mental health and well-being of service members and their families.
  • Helping service members and their families adjust to life changes .
  • Helping military families sign up for government assistance
  • Tracking the progress of service members and their families.
  • Evaluating military mental health services to ensure that they are still effective.
  • Providing direct services to service members and their families.
  • Planning and implementing disease prevention and health promotion programs for service members.
  • Conducting research on social issues, and assisting in the training of medical personnel.

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Usc Center For Innovation And Research On Veterans & Military Families

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is committed to helping the millions of service members and their families struggling to cope with military life. CIR strives to enhance the visibility and impact of research, education and outreach to inform decision-makers on policy issues affecting veterans and their families. Watch this video and learn more about CIR and its mission.

1 Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference

Government Agencies Providing Social Work Services Outside The Va

Introductory Guide to Military Social Work ...

The Department of Veterans Affairs does not have a monopoly on providing social work services to veterans and family members. For example, did you know the Department of Health and Human Services provides some military-specific resources as well as help with government benefit programs overall? HHS offers the following:

  • Adoption services

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Reasons To Consider Va For Your Social Work Career

Since VA is the largest employer of masters-level social workers in the U.S., its only natural that they play a critical role in providing important services for service members, veterans, and their families. When I was preparing for where I wanted to do my field placement in 2009, it was the list of opportunities at VA that really intrigued me. Programs like Veterans Justice Outreach and Health Care for Homeless Veterans piqued my curiosity and felt like a good match for macro, clinical, and rights-based work.

Coincidentally, in late 2009, VA announced its ambitious goal to end veteran homelessness. The plan to address this urgent national priority was outlined in 2010s Opening Doors, the first-ever federal strategic plan to end Veteran homelessness. Utilizing a Housing First model, the HCHV program is by far one of the most fascinating programs VA has to offer its veterans and family members. With its work grounded in an innovative approach to housing veterans and their families, all while working closely with community partners, HCHV teams have successfully and dramatically reduced homelessness among veterans by linking them to safe, affordable housing and a wide array of supportive services. HCHV, along with community programs like Supportive Services for Veteran Families , continues to thrive and have an impact on our nations communities.

2. Training

3. Mobility

4. Salary

5. Benefits

6. Value

7. Opportunity

8. Autonomy

9. Federal Service

10. Reward

11. Veterans

How Can I Get A Job In Military Social Work

Due to the nature of their work, service members and veterans have a unique need to see professionals trained in Military social work.

If you have a passion for helping others and would like to work directly with patients who have served or are serving in the military, choosing this specialty could be right up your alley. Social workers who work with military personnel may help patients who are dealing with emotional or psychological disorders that are common after fighting in war.

Specializing in military social works means you could work with active-duty service members and also with their civilian family members. Read on, and find out what skills and background you need to pursue a position in this sector.

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Responsibilities: What Social Workers Actually Do

Social work is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of careers. At a high level, social workers help people resolve their issues in order to improve their quality of life. But in reality, theres no typical day in the field. One day you might be assessing a familys situation and developing a plan of action, while the next day you could be involved in crisis management.

Social workers are needed at federal, state and local levels, and throughout diverse populations from infants to the elderly and in small towns and big cities. You may work with individuals, families or groups of people.

Some of the responsibilities of a social worker include:

  • Counseling
  • Reviewing and implementing policies
  • Helping people with Social Security or welfare

With the right training and a degree in social work, youll be prepared to help people who are struggling with mental illness, addiction, poverty, homelessness and other matters.

Why Choose A Career In Military Social Work

Army Social Workers

A career in military social work is a privilege to work with the brave individuals who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the freedoms of millions of Americans. The many challenges and hurdles that veterans and active-duty service members face can seem insurmountable. The care and support of military social workers can be as simple as having a conversation and can help decrease the unfortunately high rates of suicide among veterans. Military social workers across the nation are working diligently to address and resolve the many issues affecting U.S. military personnel and their familiesa truly rewarding career, indeed, that is making an impact on countless lives. Start your career in Military Social Work with a Masters Degree in Social Work.

Additional Resources

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What Qualifications Does A Social Worker Need

Social work is a profession that requires graduate status. This means you will need an honours degree or a postgraduate degree in social work. Your degree will need to be approved by one of the following regulators, depending on where in the UK you will work:

  • Health and Care Professionals Council
  • Social Care Wales

What Skills Does A Social Worker Require

You will need many skills to be a successful social worker. A sincere desire to help and to care for others is a beginning, though you will need other qualities too.

There are lots of types of social worker, but there are skills that are required no matter what the route you take. For instance, you will need to be an active listener This means you will give your full attention to people and what they are saying. You will understand the points being made, avoid interrupting, and ask questions if appropriate.

You will also need to be perceptive of social cues. You will be able to pick up the reactions of others and understand why they are acting in this way. This could mean reading body language, focusing on how someone is dressed, or listening to the tone of voice.

Speaking is another crucial skill of the social worker. You will need to communicate information effectively. Being an effective speaker is not just about being clear it is about finding the appropriate tone and register for the individual and group you are working with.

Ultimately, you will need to be a critical thinker and a problem solver. You should be able to respond to each situation, evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and from this discern appropriate action. You will have a desire to keep up to date with all potential solutions, and at times will have the ability to think outside the box.

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