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How Do I Become a Social Work Supervisor?

Jennifer Leigh
Jennifer Leigh

Become a social work supervisor through a combination of education and experience. The position requires that an individual have a certain number of hours in the field as well as experience doing supervision under the guidance of others. It takes a number of years to gain the necessary training needed to become a social work supervisor. Different states might have particular requirements needed for licensure, but this can vary. A social work supervisor makes sure that social work trainees are doing their work correctly and ethically, so this person needs to be morally sound and have the ability to watch over others.

Most jobs will ask for at least a master's degree in social work in order to become a social work supervisor. A doctoral degree is not always required but can be helpful in gaining a position without having a lot of prior experience in the workforce. In order to get a master's degree, both a high school diploma and undergraduate degree are needed. The undergraduate degree does not necessarily need to be in social work but could be in the fields of psychology, education or liberal arts. An individual should check with the department of social work at the graduate school of his or her choosing to find out the exact requirements for entry into the program.

A social worker working with a teen.
A social worker working with a teen.

Guidelines vary by state, so it is necessary to check with individual organizations to find out what their requirements are for these types of positions. Become a social work supervisor by completing the necessary required hours providing clinical social work services and supervising others. This combination provides a well-rounded practical education in both social work as a field and the supervision process.

Social work supervisors follow a code of ethics regarding their behavior in order to make sure that they are doing the job correctly and effectively. Since supervisors in this field watch over others performing social work duties, they need to be able to recognize when behavior is unhealthy or harmful to the people they are trying to help. This is done through consulting with others in the field and seeking counseling to make sure they are mentally sound and making good decisions. Good observations and communication skills are needed in order to effectively speak with clients, colleagues and employees.

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    • A social worker working with a teen.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      A social worker working with a teen.