Social work aims to help those members of our society who need it the most. There are a variety of ways to reach that goal, and social work provides a number of avenues to get there. You can work directly with individuals and communities or assist agencies and nonprofit organizations with program development and implementation.
If there is a particular segment of the population that you want to engage in, social work allows you the opportunity to specialize in that area. You’ll receive training on different techniques and methods to use that are specific to helping them with common issues.
The elderly are one group that experiences several transitional issues as they age. Things like their mobility affect where they can live and how often they can shop. Normal everyday activities become difficult to carry out, and it gets frustrating for them to admit they need help.
Social workers can find housing and elderly care facilities where medical professionals are on staff 24/7. They can also arrange for the client to have food delivery services drop off groceries or other items they may not be able to get themselves.
Those who choose to work closely with children and families are able to help them apply for benefits that they may not have known they are eligible to receive. If a family struggles to put food on the table although the adults work every day, they may qualify for food assistance from the state or a nonprofit organization.
Child care is another issue that plagues certain communities. There are families who are unable to afford the rates many daycares or after-school programs charge. A social worker can locate a cost-effective solution that’s right for everyone. They are also trained to recognize child abuse and neglect and recommend when a child should be removed from an unsafe environment. They find foster families who are able to care for children when their parents or guardians cannot.
A social worker will not just abandon the family after removing a child; they will work with the adults to resolve matters that negatively affect their household. If substance misuse is an issue, they will recommend a rehabilitation program and even work with the staff to develop a plan for treatment. Follow-ups will be conducted to ensure progress is being made, and when the time is right, the family is reunited by the social worker.
Many people get into the field because of the experiences they’ve been through in life. They have a real passion for helping others and want to see people overcome difficult situations. Others want to give back to the communities that do not have the resources and access to opportunities they had when growing up. No matter your reason for wanting to get involved, if you want to make a tangible change and have the patience and empathy to make it happen, then pursue a career in social work. Vermont is a great place to live and full of people who can benefit from the skills and knowledge social workers bring to communities.
In Vermont, the Office of Professional Regulation (OPR) handles the licensure process for social workers. If you want to begin your social work career, you can practice entry-level work with an associate’s or Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. As long as the associate degree was earned in a human services-related field, you can provide generalist social work services. While a bachelor’s degree may open up more job opportunities, you’ll need a Master of Social Work (MSW) or doctoral degree in social work if you want to attain licensure in Vermont.
BSW studies consist of courses to prepare you for most generalist positions in the state. Courses include psychology, human behavior, sociology, and research methods. MSW programs concentrate on advanced practices to prepare you to work directly with individuals, groups, families, and communities.
You can enter an MSW program with a bachelor’s degree in any subject; however, a BSW will qualify you for advanced standing. It typically takes two years to complete your Master of Social Work degree, but the advanced standing status will allow you to take an accelerated path to earn your degree. That means you can graduate in one year and begin the licensure process.