Education and Training Required to Become a Medical Social Worker

Posted in Career Blog

Medical social worker education should ideally teach people how to be caring and compassionate, since they will be dealing with patients during especially stressful times in their lives. Aside from that, many classes tend to focus on some of the bigger social issues such as elder abuse and homelessness.

Important High School Classes
Those who are interested in becoming medical social workers should take as many health classes as possible while in high school. English is also important, as these workers are often required to write reports and communicate with doctors and family members. Volunteering at a hospice center, nursing home or hospital could also be an excellent way to gain practical work experience in this industry.

Medical Social Worker Undergraduate Degree
While working toward a Bachelor’s degree, students could be expected to take classes in anthropology, lifespan development and family as a social institution It can take around four years to complete a Bachelor’s degree unless an individual already has an Associate’s. In that case, it can take two to three years to finish an academic program. The cost of a Bachelor of Science in medical social work ranges from $9,700 to $43,700 for tuition and fees, with books running an additional $400 to $700 annually. Internship programs that stress crisis intervention could also be required before graduation. Students must provide their own transportation to and from internships.

Graduate Degree in Medical Social Work
A Master’s degree program will provide intense coursework in clinical interviewing techniques, patient and family counseling and social rehabilitation. Students will also spend a great deal of time performing research and working with patients in a clinical setting. It normally takes between 18 months and three years to complete one of these programs. It can cost around $43,000 annually for tuition. Fees could rack up an extra $500, while books could be an additional $700 to $1,620 each year.

State Licensing
Each state requires social workers to be licensed. In some states, individuals are required only to obtain a regular social worker’s license, while others recognize medical social work as a distinct specialty. States also have different criteria in regards to the necessary education and experience that’s needed. The cost of taking a licensing exam can range from $50 to $130. Licenses are good for one to two years, and the cost of renewal can be approximately $100.

Continuing Education
Before renewing a medical social worker’s license, individuals will need to complete the required number of continuing education credits as mandated by their state. In most cases, this is around 20 hours. There is very little cost associated with continuing education for medical social workers, as many classes can be taken online free or a nominal charge of around $10. Employers sometimes pay for their workers to attend continuing education seminars as well.
Medical social workers cannot learn everything they need to know through classroom training. For this reason, a formal medical social worker training program at a jobsite is essential for helping these professionals learn the tricks of the trade.

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