Graduation with a social work major occurs after successfully completing all of the requirements set forth in this handbook and the appropriate UM catalog. Upon graduation, students should consider themselves a professional social worker, prepared for entry-level generalist social work practice. Students sincere about their interest in social work as a career, and who have taken full advantage of educational experiences and opportunities at UM, will undoubtedly find a job in an area of social work in the State of Alabama. Students who approach their job and career in a professionally responsible manner will find that becoming a professional social worker is an exciting, lifelong project.
Employment opportunities are available in a number of fields. In recent years, many UM social work graduates have found employment in the health care field including hospitals, nursing homes and public health departments throughout the state. A number of recent graduates have found employment in mental health and child welfare.
Graduate education in social work is the choice of some students after graduation from UM. Most UM social work graduates who go on to obtain a Masters of Social Work (MSW) are accepted for advanced standing degrees. This means that they are able to complete their MSW in about half the time that it would normally take individuals without a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. Graduate social work education provides an opportunity for further study and skill development in a specialized area. If students are interested in graduate education in social work, it is important to investigate a number of schools. Graduates of the UM Social Work Program have attended graduate school at the University of Georgia, Tulane, University of Tennessee, University of Pittsburgh, University of Alabama, University of Akron, Alabama A. & M., Rutgers, Florida State University and Case Western Reserve.
One of the first things that students do upon graduation, which can be started during a student’s last semester, is to apply for licensing. This involves completing some forms and preparing for the licensing exam. Students receive information regarding this process throughout the social work curriculum. Licensing is important for a number of reasons. The most immediate reason for new graduates is that many jobs require that one be licensed. It is also an important source of professional identification. The Social Work Program provides many resources to help social work students and graduates prepare for the licensure exam including study materials and practice tests.
Most social work graduates consider it important to join the National Association of Social Workers (http://www.naswdc.org/). Joining NASW and participating in local unit meetings is a good way to meet local social workers, find out about local job opportunities, and is generally a good way to get involved in the social work profession.
From time to time, the Social Work Program will call on alumni for assistance and feedback. This help may be in completing surveys, giving financially to the Program, notification of employment opportunities or speaking with students. The social work faculty makes every effort to stay in touch through the Social Work Newsletter. No matter what students decide to do after graduation, they should consider the social work faculty as a source of information and support.