In our discussion today, we’ll give you a guide on becoming a medical social worker.
If you’re here to find more details about the profession, including medical social worker schooling, then you’re more than welcome to join us.
In addition to that, we’ll also talk about medical social work certifications, academic essentials, programs, etc. But before then, let’s have an overview of the occupation.
How to Become a Licensed Medical Social Worker
Medical social workers act as middlemen between the people and the health system. Perhaps it’s because of the valuable assistance they provide to the community.
They help people in society understand medical diagnoses. In addition, they make treatment decisions and find sources of support and resources to care for clients.
What Is Medical Social Work?
Healthcare social work or medical social work is an academic field that focuses on promoting and protecting people’s health in the environment.
These professionals work in various settings, such as hospitals, recovery homes, mental health facilities, and many more.
Other jobs you can do in this line of expertise include standing up for the rights and needs of clients. You can also educate them on their health conditions and assist them in navigating through other complex medical conditions.
At some point, you can provide guidance and support to clients dealing with chronic and terminal illnesses.
For those who desire to be an expert in this field of expertise, the steps below will guide you.
Obtain a Degree In Medical Social Work
The lowest certification required in social work from candidates is BSW. Undergrad courses in this field of expertise focus on case management proficiency.
This is critical to the success of medical social workers. MSW certificate is needed for those who will want to attend a high-level job and salary in their respective workplaces.
Earn Some Experience
Most employers require employees to acquire a certain level of experience in a clinical setting. It could be in the hospital, clinics, recovery homes, etc.
As a scholar, areas in which you can gain experience include field internships while attending school or volunteering with nonprofit agencies.
Acquire Medical Work Permit
Before you are eligible to work as a certified social worker, you must obtain a clinical certification. All 50 states issue these credentials in the US.
The permit allows you to provide numerous services to the population.
These include therapeutic diagnosis, counseling clients with mental and psychological issues, referring clients to resource services, etc.
Receive An Additional Advanced Certificate
An advanced health certificate is a way to add credibility to your professional proficiency. To get these additional credentials, you can enroll for NASWS and C-SWHC upon completion of your MSW.
What Kind of Degree Do I Need to Become A Medical Social Worker?
There’re three essential degrees needed for medical social workers in the US.
They are BSWs, MSWs, and Ph.D. in medical social work or other similar courses. Most social workers opt for BSW as this is the minimum certification for social work proficiency in health.
However, if you plan to work in a clinical setting, you must obtain an MSW. An advanced search will expose you to real-world experience, understanding, skill, and values.
More so, it’s not a bad idea if you pursue your studies at the Ph.D. level. You will get a promotion in your workplace, and your payment will also increase.
However, whatever type of degree you want to get should be certified by CSWE. Only certificates issued by this agency will be eligible for a State license.
Healthcare Social Worker Educational Requirements
Fundamentally, BSW is the most minor academic requirement for experts in the medical field.
Social workers with this qualification are most often qualified for lower-assistant positions. If you want to work at advanced levels of the community, you need to hold an MSW or Ph.D. in social work.
An additional essential academic requirement for a medical social worker is practical experience. You must have at least 400 to 1,400 hours of internship under the supervision of a certified social worker.
Internships are generally acquired during undergrad and postgraduate studies.
A state license is an essential condition for a medical social worker. Only holders of this license may work professionally.
Beforgettinget such a title, you must present BSW or MSWis certified by CSWE, as mentioned earlier.
Lastly, while some states may require GRE results, others will not. This result is a credential to secure entry into a graduate school in the US.
Medical Social Work Programs
They’re essentially two kinds of medical social work programs.
They’re traditional and advanced standing studies. Conventional research is designed for academics with no education or social work experience.
As such, its study syllabus includes both introductory and specialized courses.
The Advanced Standing program, on the other hand, is open to social workers who have social work experience. As such, its syllabus does not include introductory courses.
You’re to offer only specialized courses throughout your work term.
Other programs you may encounter include state-level mixed MSW, MSW flexible option sequence, advanced clinical hybrid MSW, Master of Science in Social Work, etc.
However, you should know that both programs may finish full-time or part-time. Those who enroll for either of these programs full-time will complete earlier than those on part-time.
How to Become a Healthcare Social Worker in the USA
As mentioned earlier, you must hold a state permit before working as a certified medical social worker. Each province has its standards for social work permits.
However, we’ve outlined the general standards for obtaining such a permit. The steps below will guide you through the process.
- Obtain the license form from the relevant department in your province and fill it out. Take note. It’s going to cost you some money. The fee is usually around $70
- Now, you sit for the ASWB license exam, with about 170 questions. The exam fee is around $230-$260, depending on the permit.
- While waiting for the result to be out, you can receive a temporary permit to practice. This credential typically lasts a year.
- Upon successful test, you’ll be awarded a permit to work in any part of the US.
However, you should note that you must hold a BSW or MSW to qualify for a permit. Then you must also complete additional hours of field experience under a certified medical social worker.
Venturing into this field of study is rewarding. That’s because there are many employment options available. More so, the wage of social workers working in the health sector is handsome.
Whatever drives you to consider a career in this line of study, you can see there’s so much involved.