If making a difference in your community by helping those who are at their lowest points in life is your passion, then this could be the degree for you.
A Bachelor of Applied Social Science is also known as social work. A social worker is someone who helps people cope with life’s challenges in a professional capacity. If you are committed to serving people, helping the community and assisting those who are in desperate need to help – obtaining a Bachelors in Applied Social Science and Community Service may be for you.
Social workers help people in many situations, from fostering children and adoption to helping people cope with a terminal illness. Social workers also work with many populations – including children, people with disabilities, and people suffering from addiction.
What does a social worker do?
There are generally two different types of social workers: Direct-service social workers and clinical social workers.
- Direct-service social workers:
Direct-service social workers can take on a wide range of specialisations. For example, child and family social work or school social work. Social workers in the direct service field are the bridge that connects people and services, such as medical services and adoption services. Direct service social workers often do initial screening for people to determine if the person is eligible for a certain programme. They can also refer individuals and families for other services that they need. Direct-service social workers have a variety of duties which is often dependant on the setting and the population being served. It is important to note that they may be allowed to do some counselling, but they are not allowed to do psychotherapy which is used to treat mental disorders by psychological means rather than medical means.
- Clinical social workers:
- A clinical social worker is someone who can work with people who have psychiatric conditions.
- These social workers are trained and they can perform psychotherapy and even make diagnoses.
- Many clinical social workers may work in a hospital where they oversee discharge planning and counselling families who have experienced loss.
- Clinical social workers can diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders – including anxiety and depression. They will often need to assess clients’ histories, backgrounds, and situations to understand their needs, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
- They are also available for helping those who have been diagnosed as terminally ill find other support structures. Hospital-based social workers may assess patients’ psychological health and even diagnose secondary mental conditions.
- They will also develop a treatment plan with the client, doctors, and other healthcare professionals.
Passion not a paycheck
Choosing to pursue a career in social work is choosing to pursue a passion. This is not a job which will result in a large salary. Social workers tend to be extremely dedicated people who provide invaluable services to families and their local communities, yet it is still a profession which is known to have very low pay.
Regardless of this, it always depends on which branch of social work you choose which dictates your salary. Social workers will not be able to make a good salary if they work, for example, at a homeless shelter. On the other hand, a social worker who works for a private organization may earn more.
Studying social work
Since working as a social worker means that you will be interacting with people who are in-need daily, it is important to have the relevant skills to help people to the best of your ability. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for many entry-level jobs as a social worker. However, if you have an undergraduate degree with a major in psychology or sociology you may still be hired by certain agencies, especially small community agencies.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in clinical social work, you will need a Masters in Social Work for positions in health and mental health settings.
Bachelor of Applied Social Science in Community Service at DC
Damelin College (DC) offers a new course in Applied Social Science and Community Service. If you have a compassionate character you can build and develop a career in social work which is both rewarding and fulfilling. Each module in this degree unpacks the structure, operations, and policies of society and teaches you about research techniques and ethics.
This degree is ideal for social and community specialists working in the South African development context of HIV/AIDS. Its unique electives include a module in palliative care (care for the terminally ill and their families), ideal for social workers and directors working in geriatric care (geriatric care is a specialty that focuses on health care of elderly people). If you would like to expand on your skills in advocacy, counselling or conflict management in South Africa or globally, then this degree is a perfect fit.
A social worker is vital to a functioning society and community. It is a job that requires passion and commitment to helping people selflessly and patiently. Find out more information about career options here. If you are interested in pursuing a career as a social worker, make sure you watch this amazing video on Social Work: