Social workers are employed to support and protect vulnerable people. The role can be both challenging and rewarding but requires an individual employed in this field to have a high level of commitment, dedication and motivation. In this article on can you complete a social worker degree online information has been given on the benefits, number of credits and the study material.
The role of a Social worker is such that they are trained to assist people who may be having difficulties in their lives, or whose behaviours and actions may cause harm or potential problems for others. Social workers assist people in living independently with the provision of necessary help support and care. Social workers are dedicated and committed professionals who work with individuals, families and even groups who may be experiencing problems or issues, disadvantages or social difficulties.
In order to be employed as a social worker, individuals will require a qualifying degree. This can be done at a university or educational institution although relevant courses are also available as distance learning and hence may be completed online.
In the UK the Open University offers a distance learning qualification in BA (Honours) in Social Work, a qualification which is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Completion of a course such as this entitles an individual to apply to be registered as a social worker. Some courses offered by the Open University will require an individual to work within a social care agency and course attendance would require support from their employer.
The benefits of an online or Open University course are that individuals can continue in employment whilst also undertaking study and earning a salary whilst learning. Studying whilst in employment and work based distance learning, helps develop an individual’s knowledge and practical skills to deal with issues within a social work environment.
There are many online courses that combine study and practice learning to assist with preparing individuals for a career in a social work environment. Some social work degrees (online) are approved by Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). When individuals graduate they are then eligible to apply to register with the HCPC and operate and practice as a social worker.
Social work academic qualifications give an individual knowledge and thorough understanding of the nature of social work and the relevant skills needed to be an effective social worker.
There are free Diplomas in Social Work Studies available as an online course. These are ideal for any professionals who are already working in a health-related or care-giving occupation but who want to obtain additional qualifications or learn more about social work in general. This is also beneficial as a free resource to give those interested in social work as a career an insight. Learning outcomes for an online diploma often include helping individuals understand social work within a society and the importance of such. Individuals can gain knowledge and understanding of components required for good practice in a social work environment and become aware of rights. Individuals will be able to understand the day-to-day experiences of a social worker.
The Open University online degree in social work usually consists of three stages which compromise of 120 credits which is the equivalent to 12 months of full time study.
This can be done on a part time basis where students can obtain 60 credits. However, this is a lot more time consuming and can take on average approximately 6 years to complete.
The first stage or year of a course would consist of providing students with an underpinning knowledge of social work and specific study skills needed to assist with course completion. The course content will cover different perspectives and perceptions of how social care forms part of society and is a good introduction to students who want to progress and register in a profession as a social worker. Some examples of the type of course content covered are:
Introduction into social care – which could involve looking at case studies and how social work is provided and received in community and social settings as well as in hospitals or via a GP.
Social work practice – this could involve social work standards, best practice, codes of practice policy and procedures and how these are applicable in a working environment
During stages 2 and 3 or more commonly known as the 2nd and 3rd year of study, individuals will be encouraged to relate studies to own life experiences. Furthermore individuals will be equipped with more in-depth knowledge and understanding of other important issues such as child protection, working with the elderly and any associated legal frameworks relevant to social work. During these stages individuals will be provided with opportunities to put knowledge and new skills into practice, attending placements and practical workshops. These aspects assist confidence building.
Regardless of what approach is adopted to become a social worker, the courses all have similar aims and learning outcomes such as equipping individuals with the relevant knowledge and understanding, key skills, cognitive skills and practical skills specific to a social work environment. As with any qualification, learning and understanding increase as an individual works through. Even when completing the course by adopting a distance learning approach, individuals are provided with relevant support and personal tutors throughout the duration. Tutors will provide students with relevant feedback and assist with resources if required.
Prior academic study at a university may count as a credit towards an Open University qualification and hence would reduce the number of modules that an individual would be required to study. In essence study can be transferred to contribute to another qualification. Credit transfers should be applied for well in advance. It is usually advisable to apply approximately 4 weeks before the closing of registration. A number of details will be required in order to apply for a credit transfer such as the subject that was studied, where and when the course took place, and any evidence of study completion such as a certificate of letter of confirmation. Prior study will be compared to criteria for a chosen qualification and an individual advised of the decision and whether a transfer of credit is appropriate and acceptable.