National Career Outlook
Social work as a profession requires individuals with a strong passion and desire to improve the well-being of humans. Social workers are mainly employed in the health care and social assistance industries and mainly by state and local government that employs 29% of all social workers. This is followed by individual and family services (18%), ambulatory health care services (13%), hospital, state, local, and private (11%), and nursing and residential care facilities (9%) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). Therefore, they work in any institution, organization and/or environment that need social assistance services. Despite having offices, they are often found in the field often working full time and at times in the evening and weekends including holidays depending on the need (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). In 2014, they held about 649,300 jobs in the country.
Entry level positions requirement is a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) comprising of an internship or supervised field work, but individuals with related courses such as psychology and sociology may be hired. BSW is preparation for the student for positions that involve direct provision of services and educate on diverse populations, behaviors, welfare policies, and professional ethics (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). A master’s degree (MSW) takes two years to complete and having a BSW is not compulsory for this program. Individuals with related courses such as those aforementioned including economic and political science may join, but those with a BSW in other programs may complete in 1 year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). Doctoral programs (DSW) are also available, and one must have an MSW to join.
Non-clinical social workers are required to be licensed or certified in most states with the requirements varying depending on the state. However, all clinical social workers must be licensed in all states with exemptions in some states for those working in government agencies (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). An MSW is required for a clinical social worker to acquire a license and two years of supervised experience after graduation followed by passing a clinical exam.
As of May 2015, the median pay was $45,900 with the lowest 10% earning below $28,530 and the highest 10% over $76,820. The overall levels of employment for the profession was projected to have a 12% increase between 2014 and 2024. This faster than any other occupation in the country and will be driven by the increased demand for social services and health care. However, the employment rates will vary depending on the area of specialization.
State Career Outlook – Florida
The scope of work for Social workers in Florida is similar to that of the nation as explained in the question above. This includes the key qualities and skills required for doing the job. Moreover, proficiency is also dependent on the social workers’ area of specializations (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). These social workers are mainly employed by agencies of the government, schools, not-for-profit and private organization. In Florida, within the mental and social health services, social workers are the largest number of professionals providing these services (Stoffle & McPherson, 2016). Florida is one of the greatest states to pursue social work due to the numerous opportunities in the state.
One can become a social worker in Florida using two paths. First is by starting with a BSW then acquiring the MSW and then the DSW or beginning with a different but related course then the MSW and the DSW (Stoffle & McPherson, 2016). With a BSW one can work as a general social worker. However, with a master’s one can opt to work in clinical or non-clinical settings but the ability to get a clinical job in Florida is dependent on the type of license an individual has (Stoffle & McPherson, 2016). Florida has two levels of licensing that are Certified Master Social Worker (CMSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) that require one to have an MSW.
To become a CMSW one should complete the coursework at graduate level and to earn a license as a CMSW one must have earned an MSW from a program that is accredited by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). One also needs to complete three years of supervised field experience and pass the ASWB Masters exams including completion OF THE minor courses tied to the field as provided by ASWB (Stoffle & McPherson, 2016). The CMSW, however, is not licensed to offer clinical services. On the other hand, to become an LCSW, one should have an MSW from a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) program and demonstrate completion of credit hours and meet the requirements as provided by CSWE (Stoffle & McPherson, 2016). Application for the license involves a process referred to as “Applying by Exam” and the candidate should have all ten requirements of the process that include a non-refundable fee of $100 on application and $105 on granting the license. Licenses from other states can be transferred to Florida through a process call “Applying by Endorsement” (Stoffle & McPherson, 2016). These licenses are renewed biennially.
Florida had approximately 9,290 social workers employed by 2014 with most being areas of child, school, and family. However, long-term predictions indicate that areas of mental health and substance abuse will have an expansion of about 23.2%, other areas 15.3% and overall 30% (Stoffle & McPherson, 2016). Hence, the creation of approximately 600m new positions by 2022 in the state.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015, December 7). Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Social Workers. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-1
Stoffle, A., & McPherson, L. (Eds.). (2016). Florida Social Work Licensing Requirements. Retrieved July 8, 2016, from Social Work Guide Web site: http://www.socialworkguide.org/licensure/florida/