A person who wants to become a medical social worker faces a lengthy education. While some people might find job opportunities after earning a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW), most hospitals and other agencies look for employees to hold a MSW or master’s in social work. In addition to this degree requirement, in places like the US, social workers must be licensed and will need to complete 3000 hours or more of supervised training to become licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs). With the master’s degree and licensing, people will have greater opportunities to become a medical social worker in settings like hospitals, extended care settings and private and public health-oriented agencies.
Not all people make the decision to become a medical social worker in their undergraduate studies, which is perfectly fine since many MSW programs do not require a BSW, though they do require a bachelor’s degree. Most programs will want demonstration of experience in social work, and having worked at any form of social agency can be very attractive on college application resumes. It’s a good idea to get either paid or volunteer experience prior to applying to MSW programs. Of course, having a BSW is certainly not unattractive, and some MSW programs are even shortened if a person has prior training in social work.
In almost all MSW programs, students will take a certain amount of required courses and then be allowed to take some electives. When possible, choosing electives that focus on how to become a medical social worker can be of use. Many MSW programs also require students to work a certain amount of hours in designated agencies. When given a choice, the MSW candidate might choose agencies that have the most to do with hospital social work, though this choice isn’t always given.
Once the MSW is achieved, it’s easier to become a medical social worker. Since most people will then begin licensure hours, the goal is looking for work in the medical field. When possible, find supervised work at hospitals, medical facilities, or other medically related businesses that will help fulfill hours requirements. With full time work at a hospital, it’s possible to achieve licensure in a couple of years and to get on the job training for work. Most people find that much of their training comes from work on the license, and this training assures others of their experience in a specific area. Essentially, they become a medical social worker through their training choices.
After licensing, the next step is finding work. This is fairly easy to do in many different locations. Particularly if people wish to work directly for hospitals, they can look to local hospitals or centers like convalescent homes as places to get work. With appropriate experience, degrees and licensing, this work is often not hard to find in most suburban and urban areas. Job boards designed for the medical social worker may also be useful in securing employment.