High school marks the beginning of many interests, often including contemplation of a college major. A career in social work can be indicated while a student completes a high school diploma. Becoming a successful social worker requires a passion for helping others. High school subjects needed to become a social worker are also requirements for high school graduation and college admission.
English, Speech and Language Proficiency
The ability to effectively apply written communication is important for the social work professional. These skills are learned through English, speech communication and language classes. Report writing is a major task for social workers. For example, those who work in adult and child protective services are required to interview witnesses and clients and compose reports on cases. Since these accounts become a permanent part of a case file, they must be written clearly and free of grammatical and punctuation errors. Language courses are among the most popular elective classes to take in high school to become a social worker. Some students take language courses to build cross-cultural communication skills with clients who are not native speakers of English.
Sociology and Social Problems
Sociology and social problems are excellent classes to take in high school to become a social worker. The study of how society functions allows social workers to apply theory behaviors and social phenomenon. Future social workers will find a basic overview of how sociological elements such as gender roles, cultural norms, race, ethnicity, and social stratification apply to the field and intersect. An area found in the profession is the study of the family. Studying the sociology of family helps social workers understand the types of families in society and how they differ.
APA Psychology Courses
Psychology allows social workers to get a mental picture of the client. For those interested in working in the mental health and cognitive disabilities areas, psychology allows students to see how biology and psychology connect. The American Psychological Association oversees the content of high school psychology courses. High school-level psychology coursework mandated by the APA that could be helpful in the social-work career includes psychological disorders, biological basis of behavior, cognitive learning, and personality and assessment.
Family and Consumer Science
Home economics, child development, food and nutrition, family relations, and clothing and textiles are areas that fall under the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) umbrella. High school students are able to taste their first experience in social work through FCS coursework. Depending on their specialization, social workers may teach parenting classes and educate families on proper nutrition. Taking FCS classes also helps a social work learn ways of budgeting and cutting household expenses, which aids families living in poverty. A social worker with a master's or higher-level degree can apply family relations concepts to counsel problematic families and individuals.
United States History
Classes in U.S. History provide a foundation for comprehending the evolution of the social welfare system, which is discussed extensively in college level social work programs. High school history classes provide students with a background in the emergence of the social-service system in the United States. For instance, social workers are expected to be familiar with the Social Security Administration created through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. In addition, the health programs Medicare and Medicaid were created by the Great Society of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Finally, the foundation of the United States’ first "social welfare” institution was Jane Addams’ Hull House in Illinois.
- Social Security: The Social Security Act of 1935
- Big Future by the College Board: Child, Family, and School Social Workers
- Loyola University Chicago: Bachelor of Social Work
- Bloomington Public Schools: Secondary Family and Consumer Science
- History.com: The Humble Chicago House That Started a Movement
- APA: National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula