One distinct feature of college education for social workers is field placements. In addition to classroom learning, all graduate students have field-based assignments, which give them the chance to apply their knowledge and skill in an actual environment. By working in one of the many fields that offer social services, including but not limited to homeless shelters, addiction treatment facilities, and medical clinics, the students gain practical experience that helps them prepare to be licensed and certified. Students also learn that social services are a very complex area of study and can be highly rewarding.
When a student completes their social service degree, they are able to take part in many different types of programs. In fact, the degree can lead to numerous employment opportunities, since most of these positions require both fieldwork and clinical work. Some of these opportunities include social worker assistants, program managers, and community health workers.
While field placements offer great potential to further a social worker's career, it is important that students are aware of the fact that this does not mean that field placements are the only factor in their success. Students must also be prepared to work hard, stay focused, and be dedicated to their career goals. Students must also be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in the field, as well as being committed to the people that are being helped. Social workers must be self-motivated, since the more time they spend volunteering in their field, the more time they will have to dedicate to their careers.
As previously mentioned, field placements are important to students, as they can get valuable work experience. Many students will also begin to volunteer in order to gain experience and build contacts. Students will likely find that they enjoy this type of volunteer work and may even decide to become full-time volunteers in order to gain even more exposure and work experience.
The field placements may prove useful, but students should also keep in mind that this is just the beginning. They must continue to learn new techniques and skills, while at the same time, maintaining their current skills. Field placements will help students to build upon the knowledge that they already possess.
These skills and knowledge are what make social workers so . . . . . . valuable. Although field placements are important, they should not overshadow the main purpose of the program: learning the skills and knowledge required for a career as a professional social worker. Once a student has completed his or her field placements, they will be ready to start searching for a job, should they choose to pursue a social worker career path with any agency.