Career in Social Work
Social work is not just about doing good deeds and helping the under-privileged. Over a period of time, it has evolved into a profession. As a profession, social work promotes social change, problem-solving in human relationships, and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance their independence and happiness. This is a rewarding career for people who are looking for emotional fulfillment and not just financial gains. Social work can be a rewarding career for students who feel a great deal of compassion towards social issues and are willing to be are willing to be supporter of social causes.
Course Details for career in Social Work
For a career in social work, one needs to complete Master in Social Work (MSW), which is a 2 years course open to all graduates from any stream. But candidates with Sociology background would get some preference. Many government colleges, universities and private educational institutions are offering this course throughout the country. There is also M.Phil. and PhD programs in Social Work offered by many institutions. Besides educational qualification career in social work requires certain personality traits like compassion for the underprivileged and urge to help them, capacity to work hard under far-from-perfect working conditions, patience and dedication.
Career Prospects in Social Work
There are ample job opportunities for MSW degree holders in both the government as well as non-governmental sectors. Opportunity in the governmental sector is mainly in the community development projects pertaining to health, education, rural development, child, woman and tribal welfare etc. Work in NGOs’ can be specific to either urban or rural area. Postgraduates in Social Work also have job opportunities in the industrial and corporate sector. Students opting social work as career may find job in child welfare and family service agencies for providing mental, health, medical, educational and correctional services. Some MSW degree holders can prefer to be self-employed by establishing their own NGOs. Globalization has widened the scope of employment for student opting for social work as their career. They may choose to join international NGOs like Amnesty International, Oxfam and Green Peace etc. New problems relating to environment has further forced social work to transgress its traditional limit. Now many NGOs and government agencies are working for environmental protection and conservation where people from social work background can find a good job.
Based on the nature of work involved, the social work career can be divided into the following categories:
Clinical Social Work: Social workers who venture into this field can work in psychological and mental health care settings or large companies. Their job involves psychotherapy and counseling.
School Social Work: This job involves providing emotional help and problem-solving to prevent family and school breakdown. Counseling the children, home visits, family assessments, making referrals to locality teams etc. is all a part of this job. Discussing and educating on issues like drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sex-related problems and diseases is also the job of a school social worker.
Psychiatric Social: Work: Psychiatric social workers work with disturbed children and teenagers with behavioral problems. They assess and diagnose their problems and help in facilitating a treatment process.
Criminology and Correctional Social Work: People with in this area work in remand homes and prisons to prevent crimes and anti-social behavior is also carried out by social workers. Crime prevention programs are also started by social workers.
Medical Social Work: Social workers, who venture into this area, help patients and their families in coping with stress and other personal and economic problems. Any hindrances that restrain recovery are dealt with by Medical Social Workers. Services for home care after discharge from the hospital, economic help for poor patients and long term care facilities are all provided by them. Also, they help health professionals in treating the patients by providing them with information concerning the social, emotional and economic status of the patient.
Community Organization: Social workers work towards solutions to problems of specific communities. They deal with problems like lack of housing, unemployment, local services etc. They help in distribution of resources and implementing social policies.
Research: Social workers carry out social research to determine solutions to problems like poverty and homelessness. They also research on the causes of social problems and the effectiveness of agencies.
Industrial Social Work: Social workers help ensuring labor welfare in industries and commercial units. Social workers also help people with mental health problems, marriage issues, substance abuse and dealing with diseases like HIV/Aids.
Remuneration of qualified professional social worker varies according to their job profile, qualification and experience. Those employed in government’s community developmental projects have good earnings of Rs 8000 to Rs 10000. Those working for NGOs also have similar pay structures. One can expect higher salary in corporate houses and industries. Salaries and perks are even higher in International NGOs. The Social Workers who are running their own NGOs also have handsome earnings.
Institutes Offering courses in Social Work
There are many institutes in India that offer courses in Social Work. Please click here for a list of institutes that offer various degree courses in Social Work.