How to Get into Social Work with a Psychology Degree

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Are you passionate about making a positive impact on people’s lives? Do you have a psychology degree and wonder how you can channel your knowledge and skills into a fulfilling career in social work? You’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll explore the path to getting into social work with a psychology degree, highlighting the requirements, steps, and tips for success.

Requirements for Getting into Social Work with a Psychology Degree

To embark on a career in social work with a psychology degree, certain requirements need to be met. Let’s delve into the essential qualifications and considerations:

Academic Qualifications and Degree Requirements

First and foremost, having a psychology degree is a great foundation for pursuing a career in social work. However, it’s important to research the specific requirements set by your desired job or the state you wish to practice in. Some positions may require a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW), while others may accept a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology as a starting point.

To increase your chances of success, you may also consider pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), which opens up more advanced roles and opportunities for specialization within the field. Remember to choose an accredited program to ensure the quality and recognition of your degree.

Relevant Experience and Internships

Gaining practical experience is crucial in the field of social work. While pursuing your degree, look for opportunities to engage in internships or volunteer work within social service agencies, community centers, or mental health facilities. These experiences not only build your skills but also provide valuable networking opportunities and a firsthand understanding of the challenges and rewards of social work.

Licensing and Certification

To practice as a social worker, licensure is often necessary. The specific licensure requirements vary by state, so it’s essential to research the regulations in the state where you plan to work. Typically, licensure involves completing a certain number of supervised clinical hours and passing a licensing exam. Additionally, some specialized areas of social work, such as clinical social work, may require additional certifications.

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Steps to Get into Social Work with a Psychology Degree

Now that we’ve covered the requirements, let’s explore the practical steps you can take to enter the field of social work with your psychology degree:

Research and Understand Different Social Work Fields

Social work encompasses a wide range of fields and specializations, including child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, healthcare, and more. Take the time to research and explore these different areas to identify the ones that align with your interests and values. Understanding the specific demands and opportunities within each field will help you tailor your career path accordingly.

Networking and Building Connections in the Field

Building a strong professional network is essential for success in social work. Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars related to social work to connect with professionals in the field. Joining relevant associations and online communities can also provide valuable networking opportunities and access to resources. Seek out mentors who can offer guidance and support as you navigate your career in social work.

Applying for Social Work Jobs and Positions

When applying for social work positions, it’s crucial to tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your psychology background and any relevant experience or internships you’ve completed. Emphasize your understanding of human behavior, empathy, and problem-solving skills. Be prepared to discuss your motivations for entering social work and how your psychology degree contributes to your qualifications.

Continuing Education and Professional Development Opportunities

Social work is an ever-evolving field, and staying up to date with the latest research, practices, and policies is essential. Seek out continuing education programs, workshops, and certifications to enhance your knowledge and skills. Engage in professional development opportunities to demonstrate your commitment to growth and lifelong learning.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the job prospects for social workers with a psychology degree?

The job prospects for social workers with a psychology degree are promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of social workers is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for social workers exists in various settings, including healthcare, schools, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

How long does it take to become a licensed social worker?

The time it takes to become a licensed social worker depends on several factors, including your educational path and the state requirements. Generally, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW) takes around four years, while a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) typically requires an additional two years of study. Licensure requirements vary by state but often involve accruing supervised clinical hours and passing a licensing exam.

Are there any specific courses or specializations that can enhance my chances of getting into social work with a psychology degree?

While a psychology degree provides a solid foundation, certain courses or specializations can enhance your chances of success in social work. Courses in human behavior, social psychology, child development, and substance abuse can offer valuable insights. Additionally, pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in your desired field can further strengthen your qualifications.

Can I work as a social worker with just a bachelor’s degree in psychology?

While a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology can be a stepping stone into the field of social work, many positions require a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW) or a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW). However, opportunities for entry-level positions or roles in certain settings may exist with a psychology degree. It’s important to research the specific requirements and job market in your desired area of practice.

Tips and Advice for Success in Social Work with a Psychology Degree

To excel in your social work career with a psychology degree, consider the following tips:

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Developing Strong Communication and Empathy Skills

Effective communication and empathy are at the heart of social work. Strengthen your ability to listen actively, communicate compassionately, and understand diverse perspectives. These skills will enable you to build rapport with clients, collaborate with colleagues, and advocate for those in need.

Building Resilience and Self-Care Practices

Social work can be emotionally demanding, so it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and build resilience. Develop healthy coping mechanisms, establish boundaries, and seek support from colleagues or supervisors when needed. Remember that taking care of yourself enables you to better serve others.

Developing Cultural Competence and Sensitivity

Working with individuals from diverse backgrounds requires cultural competence and sensitivity. Educate yourself about different cultures, belief systems, and social issues to ensure respectful and effective service delivery. Embrace diversity and continuously strive to challenge your biases.

Seeking Supervision and Mentorship Opportunities

Supervision and mentorship are invaluable resources for professional growth. Seek out supervision opportunities to reflect on your practice, receive guidance, and enhance your skills. Engage in mentorship relationships to learn from experienced social workers and gain insights into navigating the challenges and opportunities within the field.


Combining your psychology degree and passion for helping others through social work can lead to a rewarding and impactful career. By fulfilling the necessary requirements, taking practical steps, and embracing ongoing learning, you can successfully enter the field of social work with a psychology degree. Remember, making a difference in people’s lives is within your reach – take the first step towards a fulfilling career in social work today!

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Please consult relevant authorities and organizations for specific requirements and guidelines.

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