Social workers are needed in our society to provide support and assistance to underserved communities. Their roles are important as they educate clients and offer counseling or therapy to those in need. Social workers also provide access to resources on state and federal levels.
To assess what an individual, group, or family needs, these professionals must explore intimate facets of their clients’ personal lives. That includes the dynamics of a marriage, the family structure, and parenting skills. Social workers have the challenging job of assessing their clients’ thoughts, feelings relating to addictions, and more. The clients’ well-being is always front and center for the social worker. Therefore, they must be comfortable dealing with people of all ages and stages of life from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Social work is currently one of the fastest-growing occupations as many feel the need to uplift and be of service to others. Now is the time to pursue a social work career if you reside in Colorado. Job opportunities are abundant, with social work being one of the top 15 positions. The requirements to become a social worker in Colorado are more extensive than in other states, ensuring they are highly qualified. The state values prudence and wants only the best working with its citizens.
Social workers can be found anywhere that serves those in need. With a field offering such diversity, it’s not difficult for someone interested to find an area to specialize in. Human service agencies and medical and education facilities employ social workers to assist their clients.
Those with private practices often specialize in psychiatric, child and family, geriatric, hospice social work, and more. In Colorado, independent social workers have access to exclusive positions and must obtain a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.
If you’re certain social work is the field for you, consider these things before paying for an accredited program. You should first identify your ideal job and become familiar with its educational requirements. Some positions only require a bachelor’s degree, and others where you will need a master’s degree.
Individuals seeking a bachelor’s degree should look into regionally accredited colleges and universities. They can also check with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for accredited programs in their area. These options meet the obligatory standards employers require and prepare you for entry-level positions. Clinical practice requires you to continue your education and receive an MSW.
Exams are given at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Those with a BSW are permitted to work in positions that don’t directly serve clients. These include program managers and case managers. You won’t need to pass an exam to hold either of those positions.
The process for obtaining an LSW or LCSW license is much more demanding. A master’s degree is needed, and students must pass the Mental Health Profession’s Jurisprudence Exam. There are several other steps we’ll explore in detail in other sections of the guide.
Most of Colorado’s social work programs offer financial assistance to students. When considering which program to enroll in, research and identify how well the school supports the specialty.
Find all social work schools in Colorado, here.
As you pursue your studies, one thing to keep in mind is that the CSWE does not accredit programs for associate or doctorate degrees. If you are interested in finishing one or both of these degrees, you should confirm the school you attend is regionally accredited.
The cost for a social work degree varies depending on the institution, your state of residency, and the level of education you wish to complete. Private institutions are much more costly than public colleges and universities. If you live in Colorado, you’ll pay in-state student rates, which are less than rates for out-of-state students.
Don’t forget to also factor in exam, application, and licensing fees when working out your budget. You’ll be charged a fee for the application and the Mental Health Profession’s Jurisprudence Exam. There is also a cost for the state license, ASWB exam, required continuing education (CE), and renewing your licenses. The applications for LSW, LCSW, and SWP licenses are $70, while the Mental Health Profession’s Jurisprudence Exam is $18. The ASWB fee is $25, the LSW and LCSW ASWB costs are $260, and the SWP is $230. Renewing the LSW and LCSW license is $67, while the SWP renewal is $51.
While the fees will add up, the work you’ll be equipped to do for your community is priceless and worth every penny spent. Helping families and individuals navigate the world successfully is a fulfilling and rewarding career choice. If you possess the desire and compassion needed in this field, don’t hesitate to join and make a difference in the lives of others.