An Investigation Into Global Social Work

4 Differences Of Social Work Practice Across The Globe

Wherever you choose to get your social work degree, it’s important to understand the profession as a whole. While fundamentally the discipline of social work is fairly consistent across the world, there are vast differences in the actual practice of social workers stationed outside the U.S.  Social workers inside the borders typically practice in either a clinical setting or in private/direct patient service, working for governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, or in private practice. Working environments are typical office or hospital settings.  However, social workers outside the U.S., especially those attached to nonprofit organizations find working conditions, and their cases, dramatically different highlighted by more stressful conditions in less than ideal environments.

Social Work in Countries After Natural Disasters

Natural disasters including earthquakes, floods and tsunamis cause a lasting effect on survivors that can require years of counseling and working with qualified social workers.  Social workers dispatched to these areas after a natural disaster find themselves in situations with a vast number of people struggling with physical and mental challenges including PTSD, anxiety, and depression.  Working conditions, safety, and health are considerations for workers in these areas.

Social Work In War-Torn Countries

Much like the individuals that survive a natural disaster, people in war-torn areas need qualified social workers to assist in their recovery.  At refugee camps, and within the borders of war ravaged areas, social workers assist survivors through clinical intervention services and counseling.  Safety and working conditions are dramatically different than in the U.S. or other developed countries, and hours are typically longer.  However, many social workers find their cases to be challenging, and rewarding.

Finding Overseas Jobs

For many social workers, finding employment overseas helps to further their career as international experience is highly prized.  Working overseas with a non-governmental organization allows social workers to gain invaluable experience due to the greater exposure to different cases, cultures, and the challenges of working in the field.  For some social workers, a position with the U.S. Military, as a civilian or contractor, gives them international experience, but also the comforts and safety of working conditions typically found in the U.S.  These social workers work on U.S. military bases and serve both active duty military and their families.

Educational Requirements

Social workers educated in the U.S. are sought internationally because of the high standards of education and their expertise.  Within the borders of the U.S. each state does require social workers and clinicians to meet minimum education requirements, typically a Bachelor’s degree, and meet other licensure requirements.  For clinical settings, often a Master’s degree is required.  As the U.S. social work degree programs are heralded across the globe, U.S. educated social workers have little trouble in finding employment overseas. Earn your Master’s degree in social work from UNE.

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