How Long Does It Take to Become a Social Worker?

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The length of time it takes to become a social worker depends on the type of work one wants to do in this field. Various areas of expertise require different levels of education.

Interviewers

Bachelor's degrees are required for interviewers for programs like food stamps and other government entitlements. It is not always necessary that the major focus is social work.

Caseworkers

The same requirements and length of time for interviewers apply to many types of caseworkers. In fact, interviewing and working social service cases often are one and the same job. However, organizations that oversee the social work field are encouraging all who enter the field to obtain a Master's degree.

Counseling

Government agencies and private institutions generally must employ counselors that have a Master's degree and meet standards for licensing in the field. This means at least 6 years of education after high school.

Specialized Professionals

Some social work requires professionals like nurses, doctors, lawyers and psychiatrists. Certain professionals in the field may be required to hold post-graduate degrees. Therefore, the wait after high school for these positions could be 8 years or longer.

Variables

Fulfillment of education requirements is not the only factor that determines the length of time to become a social worker. There is also the variable of time spent actually finding employment in the field. In difficult economic times, many organizations freeze hiring of new workers.