Becoming a social worker takes hard work and dedication. It can be a rewarding career, but not one without its fair share of commitment. Most positions require at least a bachelor's degree. It is also helpful to know a second language to communicate with even more people on the job. Students must complete four years of college, taking courses like criminal justice, sociology, human rights, growth and development, and psychology. They can later go on to obtain their master's degree in social work, but they must be certified and licensed before practicing social work in any capacity, such as within hospitals, schools, government offices, health and welfare offices, and hospice organizations.
In their studies, social workers learn how people interact as a family group and as individuals in society, taking into account various issues such as mental health and substance abuse problems. Many clinical social workers focus on the youth of today's society, as children are often the ones who suffer, both at home and in school. They may offer services pertaining to the welfare system, ethics, family and child issues, schools, and medical care.
Many counselors belong to a national association, dedicated to keeping professionals in this line of work informed. They can also keep up with their clinical certification and licensing through such associations. Many social worker offices and agencies have a 24-hour answering services for emergencies, and some even offer free initial counseling consultations. That being said, most social work services are free for residents of a particular city or state, through public governmental assistance, child protective services agencies, or as part of school offerings.