Social Work Training Programs and Courses

Most social workers need to complete an advanced social worker training program to secure attractive job opportunities in the field. Social workers typically have at least a master's degree in social work (MSW) and can also complete specialized training and social work courses in a certain specialty. If you are thinking of entering the field of social work, you'll need to familiarize yourself with your state's licensing, registration, and certification requirements. Many states only grant licenses to those who have a master's degree or higher, and they may have additional requirements for work experience and industry experience.

Social Worker Training Requirements

You will need at least a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) to enter the field at the entry-level. If you plan on pursuing a master's degree in social work, you don't necessarily need to have a bachelor's degree in social work – many students have a bachelor's degree in a related field such as psychology or sociology, and then take advanced courses and classes that pertain to their specialty of interest. Keep in mind that advanced education and experience is required for licensure in most states. Your state's Department of Health determines how many credit hours and training yours you need to complete in order to meet basic requirements for licensure; these typically vary from state to state.

Social worker training programs at the master's degree level focus on clinical skills and working directly with clients. Students enrolled in theses social work courses and programs have the chance to complete supervised field work and a practicum. This allows them to work in a face to face setting with clients, learn how to work with different types of individuals and groups, and also get some real-world experience. Oftentimes, the agency they are earning work experience credit hours with can serve as a reference for future employment. Advanced social worker training programs also typically include field seminars and the opportunity to work on projects where the student studies human behavior and applies research methodology to solve problems.

Types of Social Work Courses and Programs

Social work courses and programs for generalists at the bachelor's degree level prepare students for entry-level positions in their field. These courses also provide the groundwork for a master's degree and advanced training the student wants to pursue.

Common types of social work courses and programs include:

  • Social Work Practice
  • History and Philosophy of Social Welfare
  • Social Research Methods
  • Diversity and the Struggle for Human Rights
  • Issues in Social Welfare
  • Human Behavior and Theory
  • Social and Economic Justice

These courses introduce students to the field of social work and also give them a chance to learn some basic problem-solving skills and research methods. Some schools offering social worker training programs also require students to complete field assignments or fulfill an internship component. Internships can be one of the best ways for students to acquire hands-on work experience and gain valuable skills they can use throughout their careers. Students leave these programs with a broad range of experience, including working with child welfare agencies, medical and psychiatric hospitals, and substance abuse agencies.