Supported by a broadening demand for health care and social services, vocational opportunities appear favorable for social workers. The number of overall job openings in this essential field is projected to grow by 19 percent in coming years, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In greater Los Angeles, licensed clinical social workers earn an average annual salary of around $70,000, according to current employment data.
"Social work will be one of the fastest-growing professions in the future," said Tiffini Coleman, an undergraduate field coordinator and lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). "Social workers will be required to provide their expertise in all areas of society, including hospitals, schools, community organizations and mental health facilities."
Coleman said her institution remains steadfast in its quest to equip students with what is required to seek and secure enviable positions within this far-reaching job sector.
"Our mission is to prepare undergraduate and graduate students for strengths-based skilled practice in socially, culturally and economically diverse urban communities," said Coleman, who earned her master's degree in social work from California State University, Long Beach. "Our graduates promote social and economic justice, and facilitate change and growth at all levels of professional practice."
What makes CSULA's curriculum superlative?
"Our institution prepares professional social workers to work across age groups, ethnicities and settings."
How does CSULA help prospective social workers become more employable?
"Our undergraduate and graduate students are placed in professional social work internships, ranging from 14 to 20 hours per week."
What methods are necessary to assure long-lasting employment?
"One way to prepare for a sustainable career is to maintain ongoing professional development. It is very important for social workers to stay on the cutting edge with research and knowledge in the field."
What defines an effective social worker?
"A successful social worker must possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as patience, cultural sensitivity, commitment, flexibility and the ability to cope with traumatic situations."
What is your advice to aspiring social workers?
"This is an extraordinary career that can be both challenging and very rewarding. The use of good judgment is a critical element."
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.
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