Social Workers are responsible for performing a large spectrum of jobs that range from giving support to people facing difficult situations, significant change or emotional stresses in their daily lives to diagnosing behavioral, mental or emotional health disorders in struggling individuals clinically. As a social worker, you need to help people cope with their situation, advocate for people in need and seek means of support and seek valuable resources for the people affected. The two articles that will form the research for this paper will be Victor Okeke’s – ‘Government And The Challenge Of Drug Abuse In The Country’ and Brian Handwerk’s – ‘Over a Quarter-Million Vietnam War Veterans Still Have PTSD’ (Okeke, 2015; Handwerk, 2015). These articles discuss two of the most important areas of social work, substance abuse and veteran affairs.
Military and Veteran Affairs Social Work.
Military jobs come with its stress attached; both current and past soldiers have caused turmoil in their personal lives through stress from the time of duty. Veteran and military social workers need to help both officers returning home and those who have been deployed. The social workers also need to help the family members of these officers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stressors and implication of home returning and role adjustments. Social workers also need to handle possible substance abuse by the military officers suffering from PTSD
Several soldiers come home from field duty with PTSD, some carry the guilt of their actions in combat, others have nightmares of daily strikes and missions and some fail to adjust to the routine life back home. It is the job of social workers to assist these officers in handling their stress and ensure they avoid using any harmful substance to overcome their pain and anguish. They also need to guide them through their transformation from life on the field to their actual normal life with their kith and kin (Bernhagen, 2014).Mental Health & Substance Abuse Social Worker. Social workers, who help patients and addicts with mental health and substance abuse problems, need to provide both short-term solutions and long-term plans for combating their horrors and overcoming their problems. These patients and addicts have their own horrors of demotivation, euphoria, constant hyperactivity, low morale and behavioral considerations. These social workers also need to coach the family members of these patients and addicts and teach them the actions they should take to help their loved one. Mostly, these social workers have to work in rehabilitation centers or mental health institutions and need to offer their consultation of the patients/addicts health, medicinal solutions and discharge plans from the centre. Through, support and accountability, these social workers press on to help individuals explore methods to overcome addiction or overcome debilitating mental health and guide them to lead a normal life (Bernhagen, 2014).
Plan for Career Preparedness
Social workers serve communities, families, and individuals. They are administrators, supervisors, and managers. They work as educators, researchers and therapists. To become a social worker, I will start by working on a social work degree from a university or college program that is accredited with the official education body (Council on Social Work Education).
BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) is the undergraduate degree and the graduate degrees are MSW (Master of Social Work) and DSW (Doctorate in Social Work). To work as a therapist, I would need an MSW degree. Therefore, after completing my BSW, I will enroll into a college or university accredited with the Council on Social Work Education. These credentials will certify that I have achieved professionalism and competence as a social worker has achieved competence and professionalism above a state license or college degree (NASW, n.d.).
On the basis of specialty, social workers can work as public servants in community centers, government agencies, hospices, hospitals, career centers and mental health clinics. I would like to help cases of veterans PTSD and substance abuse by assessing their situation and build plans for addressing their needs. Working as a social worker, I would need to perform face-face meetings, managing crisis situations, resource assessment and advocating for the client’s well being. I would need full understanding of the code of ethics, opportunities and policies in the field. Finally, a license is needed for practicing, and social work can be done in a group or managing patients face to face in a personal practice. Since, I am planning to start my own personal practice; I require a license to operate from the ASWB (Association of Social Work Boards). This license will be taken a few months before the final semester or graduation from the MSW degree. I will be starting my career by working in a social work organization to understand the industry and plan my future as an independent practitioner.
Finding a job as a social worker starts the similar way as other jobs, preparing the CV, cover letter and presentation skills (Fanning, n.d.). Building network is also important to start a job search as finding a job can be eased through references. The next step in registering on job search sites where several organizations post their jobs. This works as one of the best ways to gain a job. Finally, using social media can also be helpful as several organizations are active on social media networks such as LinkedIn and they are actively looking for new and passionate employees.
Social Workers have the career option to work in several fields, substance abuse and veteran affairs are two of the several options. Social workers need to manage differing problems and addictions through their skill set and involving the patient’s loved ones. To work as a social worker, it is important to get a degree in the BSW and MSW courses from a college or university accredited with the Council on Social Work Education. Finally, in case you want to practice as an independent social worker and handle cases, one on one, you need a license from the Association of Social Work Boards.
Bernhagen., L. (May 2, 2014). 7 Types of Social Workers Who Specialize in Helping Others
Retrieved 24 July 2015 from,
Fanning., J. (n.d.). How to Revolutionize Your Social Work Job Search. Retrieved 24 July 2015 from, http://mswonlineprograms.org/job-search/
Handwerk., B. (July 22, 2015). Over a Quarter-Million Vietnam War Veterans Still Have PTSD. Retrieved 24 July 2015 from,
NASW. (n.d.). Careers in Social Work. Retrieved 24 July 2015 from, http://www.naswdc.org/pubs/choices/default.asp
Okeke., V. (July 20, 2015). Government And The Challenge Of Drug Abuse In The Country. Retrieved 24 July 2015 from,