Are you a naturally caring and empathetic person? Is helping others your true calling in life? Do you want to make a difference in your career? If so, you should seriously consider becoming a social worker. In this role, you will have the capacity to aid individuals and families who are in desperate need of assistance. This will provide you with job satisfaction on a day-to-day basis, and, on top of that, it will also help you grow and develop as a caregiver.

Becoming a social worker isn’t going to be easy, and it certainly isn’t going to happen overnight. If you’re serious about following this difficult yet rewarding career path, be sure to heed the following advice.

Here are three things you must do to become a professional social worker in the U.S.:

1. Receive a formal education

Your core values, ethics, and general temperament will all play a major part in your ongoing success as a social worker. These personal attributes will not, however, be enough to land you a role in the caregiving sector. In order to obtain employment in this field, you need to showcase a whole host of qualifications. First and foremost, in this instance, this means enrolling on a B.A. in social work.

On this type of learning program, you will be taught all about the importance of community outreach. You will learn how to implement change at the community level, which in turn will aid you in your bid to provide social care to a diverse range of patients. Once they see that you have this level of knowledge and experience on your resume, potential employers will find it much easier to trust in your capacity for community caregiving.

2. Complete fieldwork

Fieldwork also referred to as practicum, is something that you will be expected to include on your resume when you first apply to become a social worker. This will prove to potential employers that you are a dedicated caregiver, and, more importantly, it will showcase the fact that you understand the day-to-day demands, challenges, and rigors of professional social work.

For advice on how to get the most out of your fieldwork in the social work sector, check out this insightful article on the matter.

3. Choose your social work pathway

As early as you possibly can in your career, it’s highly recommended that you choose a social work pathway. This will clarify what skills you need to hone in order to provide an efficient and effective service time after time, which in turn will aid you in your attempt to maximize your professional potential going forward.

There are plenty of social work pathways for you to embark on, some of which include:

1. Clinical social work

2. Macro social work

3. Educational welfare social work

4. Medical social work

5. Mental health social work

Put the above advice into practice, and you’ll be sure to lay a solid foundation for your ongoing career in the social work sector.