How To Get An LCSW Degree

A career as a licensed clinical social worker is often an emotionally fulfilling and yet challenging at the same time. Those in this line of work function with other people by helping them solve challenges in their life. They may work with the elderly, those with long-term health issues or physical disabilities, those working through substance abuse issues, and those with domestic issues such as financial issues, domestic abuse, and other similar situations. Some professionals may be able to work in some areas of social work with a Bachelor’s degree, but generally a licensed professional typically will need to pursue a LCSW degree with a Master’s level education.

The LCSW Job Description

To work as an LCSW, a professional will need to meet your state’s licensing requirements and pass the licensing exam, if state licensing requirements have an exam procedure in place. Once licensed, a professional may choose to work in the government sector, in the healthcare industry, or in the social assistance industry. There are different aspects of social work that a professional may choose to pursue, including:

• Family Social Work: This line of work often deals with families with children, and may include working with abused or neglected children. It may also include helping families in need find childcare or affordable housing, providing stress and anger management workshops, overcoming teen issues like teen pregnancy and truancy, and more.

• Healthcare Social Work: A professional in this aspect of the industry may work to provide those in need with assistance getting to doctor’s appointments, supporting those with terminal illnesses and caring for the elderly, providing assistance in locating affordable housing and healthcare options for those with specific health needs, and other such support services.

• Mental Health Social Work: This line of work provides those with mental health issues with social services. A professional may offer individual or group support sessions, assist with professional or personal issues, and offer assistance to family members of those with a mental health issues.

Obtaining Your LCSW Degree

LCSW Degree - Happy GraduateThose interested in this line of work should take the first step to explore the clinical social work degree program options available. You can find many programs in local colleges and universities, including both public and private schools. A Bachelor’s degree often can provide professionals with the ability to enter into an entry level position in many areas of the industry. Some may consider starting a career after earning a Bachelor’s degree and then pursuing a MSW program online to earn experience while working on a Master’s social work degree. Others may search for MSW schools online and consider obtaining a Master’s degree immediately following a Bachelor’s degree. Many states require a Master’s level degree to obtain a license.

Your Salary

Before entering a degree program and working towards meeting licensing requirements, a professional may consider the LCSW salary. The salary of professionals in this line of work will vary depending on experience, location of the job, the type of social work services provided, and the duties of the specific job. An LCSW degree and the related license will generally allow a professional to earn between $38,000 and $51,000 per year. Professionals in the top 10% of the income bracket earn over $69,000 per year. Those working in hospitals and medical settings generally earned a higher income, with the median income around $51,000 per year. Those working in individual and family services earned the lowest income on average, earning around $38,000 per year. Professionals with experience in the field and moving in managerial or supervisory roles enjoyed higher salaries than those at entry level or non-managerial positions. It is interesting to note that about a quarter of workers in this line of work are union workers. Social work is a field with a great outlook as there is a growing need for professionals to fill job openings in areas across the country today. This demand is expected to increase in coming years.

Pursuing a Career After Obtaining an LCSW Degree

In order to pursue a career in this line of work, an interested candidate will first want to review schools that offer an LCSW degree in social work. Before beginning an educational program, it is advisable to become familiar with state licensing requirements. Those working towards becoming an LCSW will want to ensure that educational pursuits are in line with state licensing requirements. Many schools offer live, traditional classroom education as well as online licensed educational formats, too. It may also be helpful to review some job descriptions in the local area to explore work opportunities available after earning a Bachelor’s degree. In many cases, earning real-life job experience in the field while working towards a Master’s degree online can help a professional advance more quickly in his or her career.