Discovering your passion
As a part of the military community, you are well aware of the unique challenges military families face on a daily basis. A career as a social worker will allow you to use this personal understanding to relate to those you are assisting. Having natural compassion toward others and a drive to assist them in finding the solutions to some of the challenges are qualities that may make a career as a social worker successful and rewarding. If you are considering a career as a social worker, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Take self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with this career path.
Education and training
Once you have made the decision to pursue a career as a social worker, you can explore the many tools and resources on MySECO to assist you in achieving the education requirements necessary to practice in your profession. Most entry-level administrative positions require a bachelor’s degree in social work, and some employers may hire applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology. If your goal is to practice as a clinical social worker, then you can expect to spend an additional two years working to obtain a master’s degree in social work.
College Scorecard is a great starting point for researching and selecting an education institution. When you visit College Scorecard, search by program/degree, location, size and more to find a program of study near you. You can also use the Scholarship Finder on MySECO to assist with finding funding relevant to the military community to help pay for classes.
Depending on your specific field of practice, you will also be required to have specialty certifications and licenses. In all states, clinical social workers must have some form of licensure or certification. Because licensure requirements vary by state, you will need to contact your state board to find your specific requirements.
Visit the Association of Social Work Boards for information about regulatory licensure board by state. You can also visit the Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.
If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $1,000. Learn more.
Once you are confident that you have the necessary education and licensure requirements, it’s time to find a job in your occupation. One of the first places to look is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search. Hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers, including the following:
- DaVita Inc.
- UnitedHealth Group
- Loyal Source Government Services
- Chenega Corporation
- The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine
- General Dynamics
- Kaiser Permanente
You can also search for social worker positions using the MySECO Job Search Tools, which include the following:
Professional organizations and networking
You may wish to consider joining a professional organization in your career field to gain a better understanding of current industry trends in social work. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals in your industry will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview or restart your career at your new location. They may provide important information about the social work field, such as new technology, continuing education and practicing self-care while helping others. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
To explore additional information related to starting your career as a social worker, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Enter the keywords 'Social Workers' to learn more about the occupational overview for your specialty field.
If you need additional information on obtaining the proper license or certification as a part of your specialty field, review the Advantages of Licensure article in the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO.
You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Coaches are available to review your resume, practice interviewing, discuss networking or assist you in understanding employer requirements for this field.