A patient and their loved ones often require more than medicine to heal their wounds and fulfill their needs. Social Workers help individuals cope with problems such as inadequate housing, unemployment, financial mismanagement, serious illness, disability, substance abuse, etc. They also work with families that have serious conflicts, including those involving child or spousal abuse. Mental health social workers provide services for persons with mental or emotional problems, services such as individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and training in skills of everyday living. Medical social workers help patients and their families cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses and handle problems that may stand in the way of recovery or rehabilitation. They also advise family caregivers, and counsel patients and help plan for their needs after discharge by arranging for home health services.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for liscensure, but a master’s in social work (MSW), which includes four years of undergraduate work and followed by two years of graduate work, has become the standard for many positions. Accredited programs require 900 hours of supervised field experience. An applicant for certification to practice as a social worker must be at least 19 years of age and have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from an approved program.
- Auburn University – Social Work Program
- Jacksonville State University
- University of Alabama – School of Social Work
- University of North Alabama – Social Work Department