Posted on: 19th Dec 2018 698 Views

How to become a social worker in Ireland – Qualification & Experience

This is a guide on how to become a social worker in Ireland and what qualifications needed for this. Here you will find a quick detailed description of the social worker such as what is social work, what does a social worker do, why one should become a social worker and what are the steps to become a social worker, what qualification needed to become a social worker in Ireland? It also includes a thorough explanation of what is the difference between the other helping professionals and a social worker.

How to Become a Social Worker in Ireland

What is social work?

Social work is defined as a broad profession which is encompassed with the different kind of professionals who are working to serve the need of people. The social workers are working to improve the quality of life of the different people just like any other helping professionals including nurses and teachers.

Professional Social workers are helping people to overcome their life’s difficult problems and challenges. Now you must be thinking, if this is all a social worker does then what does a social care worker do or what is the difference between social worker and social care worker. A social worker’s profession gives emphasis on social justice and the model of social work is focused on the person-in-environment.

A social worker just not helps an individual to solve their internal problem like a counsellor; they also help the individual to examine their relationships, community aspects, family issues, and other policies and system that are affecting them and help them to address their all problems.

 What does a social worker do?

A social worker helps moderately to address individuals, families, groups, and couples’ problems. A social worker provides proper counselling to their clients; provide the case management service to resolve their any kind of problems including abuse, poverty, unemployment, trauma, mental illness, addiction, educational issue and many more.

Generally, a social worker works with a non-profitable organization such as school, government agencies, hospitals, etc. for the common goods. Most of the social workers work with some organizations, communities and government agencies.

A social worker advocates for their client, fight for their injustice and inequalities. They follow legislative advocacy and policy analysis to meet the client’s needs.

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How Social Worker differ from Social Care Worker?

Social work is something that can be entitled as a “profession” whereas social care is a “job”. To understand customarily, practising for a profession needs a social work masters Ireland that is what exactly true in the present situation. If one aspires to become a social worker, he/she needs to pursue a degree in social work from a university. In case, one already has a degree in social work, he will be required with an MA or if he has any relevant experience or an equivalent qualification, he would be able to pursue a shorter term course in order to convert into a qualified social worker.

On the other hand, if one aspires to become a social care worker, he doesn’t need a qualification or degree from a university for that at all. Rather he can get on the job training and earn essential skills of a social care worker as well as a sort of experience that he can transfer it into a social worker qualification as discussed earlier as well.

While social workers are to deal with the systems at a broader scale, on the other side social care workers give emphasis on personal care & social needs, working with individuals, and helping to identify the availability of new and diverse options for them while providing essential services such as shopping for food, performing the care plans made by the social workers for the people to get healthy as well as independent.

Although the social care workers can eventually convert into social worker, it is totally different and vital job but equally respectful in terms of hard work and efforts. In addition, the social worker Ireland salary is almost similar to the social care worker salary Ireland.

Why one chooses a career as a social worker?

There are numerous reasons; one should choose social worker as their career. Some people choose it as their career because they are helping people from past and they would like to help others in the future, some choose this as they have a huge interest in helping people on a strong issue like mental illness, abuse, addictions.

This career has great future opportunities with high social worker salary and this is among those professions which are developing day-by-day.

If you have decided to choose this exciting field and want to become a social worker but you have no idea what steps you need to follow to become a social worker in Ireland then here, we are presenting some steps to become a social worker.

what qualifications do i need to be a social worker in ireland

If you are considering becoming a social worker then first, you need to avail the necessary degree. Below are some educational paths that can fulfil your desire of becoming a social worker.

  • Bachelor’s degree: The first step of getting into the social work profession is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in social work from the college and university in Ireland such as University of Dublin, University College Cork, and Dublin City College, etc.
  • Bachelors of the social work program prepares a student to become a professional social worker and journalist in the social worker’s field by giving them relevant education. A student learns the social worker practices by practical and theoretical learning and gets real-world work setting experience. Once you will get a bachelor’s degree then you will be eligible to work as a social worker.
  • Master’s degree: Whether a student completes his bachelor’s in social work or in another field, he is eligible to apply for a master’s degree course in social work. There are a huge number of colleges in Ireland which provides online and on-campus masters in social work.

If one student has completed BSW prior to applying for graduate school then he may eligible for advance one-year’s social work graduate course rather than they have to complete a 2-year course.

The curriculum of the graduate social worker course is combined with classroom learning with field learning. One can choose a clinical focus or macro concentration as per their interest. By learning these courses in social work, students will get knowledge of a wide range: Psychology, Legal Studies, Creative skills (Music, Drama, Art), Sociology and Social Policy, and Principles of professional practice etc.

In Ireland, if you want to practice as a social worker then the minimum required qualification is 3-year, level-7course. If one gets a level-8 qualification then it can lead them to a management level course.

  • Get your license in your state: Once you have completed your degree courses, you are required for the social work licensing to ensure safe professional practice. There are numbers of licensing available such as initial license, licensure for a clinical social worker, and license in a social worker with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree.
  • Initial License: One bachelor in social worker requires becoming a licensed social worker as per the state and is referred to as a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW). To get an initial license, one has to work under the administration of a clinical social worker.

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  • Master License: One who wants to apply for the master or graduates social work license must have an initial license and a degree in social work can apply for a master or graduate social work license, is referred to as Licensed Master Social Work (LMSW). One has to complete field experience and an examination to get this license.
  • Clinical License: One who wants to apply for the clinical license must have a degree in social work and a current license to become a clinical licensed social worker, who is referred to a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). To get this license, one should have years of experience of working and successful completion of the examination.
  • License renewal: All licensed social worker in Ireland has to pay fees annually which are required by the state. Several states require social worker’s to complete a continuing education course for license renewal.
  • Endorsement: There is no such procedure to transfer one state social work license to another state. States require submitting certain information and transcript to apply for the license of that particular state.
  • A social worker in Ireland can apply for extra accreditation and certification through the NationalAssociation of Social Worker.
  • Obtain employment: A social worker plays a very important role, which plans and provides the care to the clients and fulfils their social and needs.

There are many different areas to work as a social after getting a BA (Hons) Level-8 degree including work in detention schools of young people; help for homeless people, alcohol and drug-addicted people; adoption and fostering agencies; women’s-refuges; care of people with physical or intellectual disabilities; probation and welfare agencies and travel centres; children and adolescents in residential care; school completion programme.

The students who pursue a master’s in social work programme has more opportunities such as therapeutic childcare, child protection, young and youth studies, addiction studies, guidance counselling, social work, child, family and community studies, play therapy, occupational therapy, counselling and psychotherapy.

A social worker has never lasting career opportunities to work.  Moreover, there are some benefits to choose social work as a career:

  • You will never get bored: Every day comes with a new challenge in the social worker’s field. Though you have meticulously planned for your next day, you will definitely find unexpected challenges, which will never let you bore.
  • Diverse career opportunities: Social work has great career opportunities, when you get training of social worker then you will get knowledge of many areas and aspects of the profession so you choose any career.
  • You’ll discover new things about yourself: Social work is a field which will make you learn many new things. When dealing with the new situation, you will discover many new things within you. You will get to know your strengths and weakness.
  • You will get a chance to change someone’s life: While working for someone who is homeless or one who is addicted to drugs or one who is sexually harassed then you are the one who will be fighting for these people live and will be responsible for these people’s life improvement.

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