When you think of the word “certification” do you think of a degree or certification? Or, do you think of a license or registration card that signifies that someone has been trained? When most people think of a social worker, they think of someone who works with people on the streets or in an emergency setting. There are many people who work in the field with a variety of roles including case management and placement, case research, case coaching, or working with people on the inside. There are also certificate programs available for those who would like to specialize in a particular area of social work such as human development, child welfare, family services, or developmental disabilities.
In addition to the National Association of Social Work Certifications, there are many organizations that offer their own variations of these certifications. Some of these include: the Association for Social Work in Mental Health & Addiction, the American Counseling Association, the Association of Special Education Programs, and the Specialty Certificate in Social Work. The National Council for Social Work Education is the only certifying body recognized by state social service programs. It offers both associate and full degrees in its courses.
The purpose of this list is to assist the employer in determining whether an applicant possesses the necessary work experience and knowledge to meet program requirements. Each of the certifications offered by the National Association of Social Work is valid for two years of work experience. Some programs require additional training or experience beyond the two year limit. The programs are categorized as associate, professional, master’s or doctoral in order of degree awarded.
An associate’s degree in social work is acquired through a combination of on-the-job training and classroom work. Students may earn one, two, four, six or twelve months of work experience. Students can choose to complete either a one-year or two-year program. A certification is earned after completion of the associate degree course. Students have the choice of pursuing either clinical practice or community practice, depending upon their preferred choice of work location and field of specialization.
The first certification listed in the list is the associate of Applied Social Work. This designation is earned by workers who successfully completed the course work required for the program and are certified in social work. These workers can be teachers, counselors, psychologists, or anyone who works in the field of social work. All of those who earned this associate degree are eligible to apply for certification. The requirements are different for each state, and a list of requirements for that particular state can be obtained from the National Association of Social Workers.
The second certification is the associate in behavioral science. This work experience is awarded to employees who posses at least one year of work experience in a related field and who successfully passed the certification exam. Those who became board certified must work for a minimum of five years in employment with an agency in order to be eligible for this designation. Students must work for five years in order to be eligible for this certification. Students can earn the certification in three ways: self-study, classroom instruction or through an internship program. Students have the option of completing the work within a specific time frame or earning the certification in several year increments.
The three listed certifications are the most common work experience that can be used in the application process. Each of the three requires a certain amount of work experience in order to be eligible for certification. Students will want to complete their studies and find work experience as quickly as possible so they can be properly trained by the national board.