There are times when you don’t need to complete an accelerated social work degree online to get the skills you need. Instead, many accredited colleges and universities offer certification classes that allow you to attend only a few hours and earn a certification that will allow you to achieve your goal.
One example of this is fulfilling the continuing education requirements to maintain your current licensing. Many licenses require several continuing education classes per year. A certification will allow you to remain in compliance with your state’s requirements and keep your license current and up to date.
Certifications are also used when an employee must stay up to date on new processes and techniques that are used as part of their duties or responsibilities. Taking the time to earn your certification allows you to show your employer that you are serious about your job and are willing to do whatever it takes to continue to produce the highest quality of work possible. Certain certifications must be renewed every two or three years as new information is released or the old information becomes outdated.
What About Social Work Specializations?
You may also get a certification after a generalist bachelor degree, if you want to specialize in areas like
- mental health
- social welfare
- social justice
- clinical social work
- child advocacy
- child welfare
- substance abuse and addictions
- social work practice
- social policy
- human behavior
- human rights
Often these certification programs can be done part-time while you work and will use your field experience to add credit hours.
Will a Certificate Count Toward an MSW?
Many post-bachelor certificate programs will give you credit hours that you can transfer to an MSW program as well.
Even if you don’t have a bachelor’s, some online MSW programs don’t even require a bachelor’s to apply. Higher education doesn’t have to be intimidating; your GPA is less important than your field education. Social workers with advanced standing can get through their fieldwork or practicum more conveniently. You can get field placement in your current workplace.
Going on from your BSW degree to an MSW degree is an important step. A clinical social worker may not think they need to know research methods, but it’s an important prerequisite for a master of social work program. Admission requirements are less stringent for working professionals, and many online MSW programs don’t require the GRE exam. Online students can choose concentrations like public health or choose a generalist practice. Online or in-person, you can complete the process in as little as one year.