The social services career field is expanding as the demand for qualified workers rises. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that jobs in this field are expected to rise by over ten percent by the year 2024, so if you are considering earning a master’s degree in social work, the effort may well be worth it. While your approach to social work may be unique, there are several key skills you should work toward improving to be highly effective in this challenging field.
1. Emotional Awareness
While a master’s degree in social work can provide you with many learned skills, the ability to read people’s emotions and react accordingly on a professional level is something you will need to practice daily. For example, a mediation and negotiation class from ACU may help you work out a conflict between a man and his spouse, but gauging which emotions are in play and how they are affecting the situation requires the ability to empathize, which may be just as important as logic when it comes to resolving conflict during a case.
2. Time Management
The demand for social workers is heavy across the country, so when you do find employment, chances are your caseload will be considerable. Each case comes with its own set of circumstances that include home visits, paperwork, phone calls, and filing, so effective time management skills are crucial for you as a social worker. You may have to prioritize the details of each case in order to remain organized and have enough time to offer each of your clients, meet family obligations, and for socializing.
3. Effective Communication
If you are still in the planning stages of continuing your education, then you may be interested to know that Case Western’s social work degree program is fully online and can help you improve your communication skills. The ability to communicate effectively is a critical skill for you to have as a social worker, as you will probably be working with a diverse group of people who may all take in information differently. Finding ways to let them know how you may be able to help them and setting clear boundaries, both verbally and in writing, may help you be more successful with each individual case.
Being able to communicate effectively as a social worker will probably not begin and end with your clients. You will also have to report your findings and solutions to other people involved in the case, to health care providers, and to your superiors. This may require clear and concise writing abilities, which is a skill you can practice each time you prepare an email or a written report.
4. Critical Thinking
There is a great deal of emotion involved in social work. However, thinking critically about each case is a skill that will be important to you as well. The ability to examine each case from a logical perspective may allow you to see solutions you may not have considered before.
Pursuing your master’s degree in social work may help you become a success in this challenging field. Education, along with practicing a few critical skills may enhance your ability to help your clients and lead to a fulfilling career.