March is national social work month. What a great opportunity to explain the field of social work and the role of social workers in today’s society!
Many people misunderstand exactly what social work is and the positive contributions that social workers make to the world. Some think social workers are mainly local volunteers or community activists. Although these individuals may have the same intentions as social workers in terms of helping community members, they don’t necessarily have the extensive education, professional training and credentials required to obtain a license to practice social work. The table below contains the requirements necessary for an individual to obtain a social work license in the state of Massachusetts. As you will see, this is not an easy feat!
|License Type||Education Requirement||Supervised Experience
|Licensed Social Worker (LSW)||Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work||Three years, full-time supervised experience. A minimum of 3,000 post-degree hours.
|ASWB National Bachelor Social Work Exam|
|Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)||Master’s Degree in Social Work||Three years, full-time supervised experience. A minimum of 3,000 post-degree hours.
|ASWB National Master Social Work Exam|
|Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)||Master’s Degree in Social Work||Three years, full-time supervised experience. A minimum of 3,000 post-degree hours.||ASWB National Clinical Social Work Exam|
Social Work in Senior Care
There are many challenges in meeting the social, environmental, psychological, economic and healthcare needs of older adults. Social workers in the field of geriatrics can help adults and their families maintain well-being, overcome problems, and achieve maximum quality of life during their later years. In essence, social workers serve as “advocates” by providing a vital link between older adults and the services they need.
The “graying of America” has emerged as a popular phrase in recent years. Not surprisingly, the number of older adults continues to rise. Statistics project that by 2030, Americans 65 and older will actually outnumber their younger counterparts. This is why it is vital to attract younger social workers to the field of geriatrics. We are very fortunate to have a robust internship program on the North Shore Campus that has been in existence for the past 15 years. The social work team derives a great deal of satisfaction in training social work interns from Salem State, Boston College, Simmons College, and Boston University.
I am so proud to be a part of the social work team at Chelsea Jewish Lifecare! On the North Shore Campus, I have had the pleasure of working with the social work team at the Jeffrey & Susan Brudnick Center for Living. I have a great amount of respect for the caring and compassionate ways they provide support to both our short-term patients and long-term residents. Additionally, I sincerely admire how well our social work department promotes resident independence, autonomy and dignity.
My hope for the future is to continue working with social work interns from area colleges and universities. Our goal is to promote social work in geriatrics as we prepare for a huge influx in seniors over the next two decades. To all of my fellow social workers who specialize in geriatrics—thank you for helping to make the lives of our older adults the best they can be!
Happy Social Work Month!