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How to Become a Social Worker for Children

by Lesley Barker, Demand Media

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 282,000 child, family, and school social workers in the United States in 2006. The Bureau also projected this number to increase by 19% before 2016. Social workers who help children earn an average of $48,000. It takes at least a bachelor's degree to get an entry level position as a social worker. Each state also has some licensing, registration, or certification protocol.

    Items you will need

    • Bachelor's Degree in Social Work (BSW)
    Step 1

    Earn a bachelor's degree in social work or in a related field. This can include psychology, sociology or some other social science major. Many social work positions require a master's degree in social work.

    Step 2

    Apply for a job as a social worker to work with children in a school, hospital, adoption agency, child protection agency or other nonprofit organization. In addition to an interview, the hiring process includes a criminal background check from a local police department as well as a fingerprint check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These checks are standard safeguards to keep child abusers away from children. You must also provide a resume and references.

    Step 3

    Meet your state's requirements for certification, registration or licensing as a social worker. Most states require that candidates complete 2,000 hours of supervised clinical social work experience to become certified. If your goal is to provide private practice as a social worker for children, you likely need to have this certification as well as an MSW degree to become a psychotherapy provider whose services qualify for medical insurance coverage.

    Step 4

    Join the National Association of Social Workers. This professional affinity organization provides additional credentials for social workers who work with children. It also links you to experts who can advise you on questions about the profession as well as to publications and conferences. Whenever you need to find a new position as a social worker for children, you can leverage your network of colleagues in this association.

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    About the Author

    Lesley Barker, director of the Bolduc House Museum, authored the books "St. Louis Gateway Rail—The 1970s," published by Arcadia, and the "Eye Can Too! Read" series of vision-related e-books. Her articles have appeared in print and online since the 1980s. Barker holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Washington University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Webster University.

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