Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) is a four year degree program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills in social work practice, social welfare policies and human welfare. It helps students understand the different units of society, such as families and communities, the problems and issues that surround them and the possible solutions that can empower and improve their way of living.
The BS in Social Work program teaches students important skills in assessment, interviewing, service planning, case management, crisis intervention, problem solving, program evaluation, community outreach, community organizing, advocacy, research and networking. It also aims to educate students on how to deal with different groups or individuals, including people who have disabilities, mental illnesses, criminal backgrounds and addictions.
Subjects and Curriculum
The subjects in the BSSW curriculum are divided into five main categories:
- General Education courses:
Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
- Professional courses:
- Human Behavior and Social Environment: The Philippine Social Realities and Social Welfare, Filipino Personality and Social Work, Social Deviation and Social Work, Social Environment and Social Work: The Family, Group, Community and Organizations, Social Change and Development Perspectives
- Social Welfare Policies, Programs and Services: Social Welfare Project/ Program Development and Management, Social Work Statistics, Social Welfare Agency Administration, Social Work Community Education and Training, Social Work Research
- Social Work Practice: Knowledge and Philosophical Foundations of the Social Work Profession, Fields of Social Work, Social Work Communication and Documentation, Social Work Counselling, Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families, Social Work Practice with groups, Social Work with Communities, Seminar on Current Trends in Social Work Practice
- Field Instruction:
Field Instruction 1 and 2
The BSSW program is taught to students in a variety of teaching methods. Students are taught lessons through classroom lectures, community immersions, seminars and field trips. They also gain experience by visiting different non-government organizations and agencies that cater to people who need social help.
A student of the BSSW program needs to complete two sets of On the Job Training (OJT), otherwise known as Field Instruction 1 which is Agency based and Field Instruction 2 which is Community based.
As a requirement for graduation, a social work student needs to complete a Social Work Research.
Is Social Work a profession?
Social Work is a profession. A graduate of BSSW who passes the Social Workers Licensure Examination is called a Registered Social Worker.
A social worker’s job may include:
- Identify individuals who are in need
- Help people of all life stages cope with and solve everyday problems
- Advocate for and develop plans to improve clients' well-being
- Research and refer clients to community resources
- Work with individuals, families or groups
- Respond to clients in crisis situations
- Work in a variety of public and private organizations
What are the admission requirements for the BS in Social Work program?
Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
- Must be a high school graduate.
Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
- College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
- Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.
What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?
- Active Listener – the ability to listen carefully, ask pertinent questions and retain verbally transmitted information is vital to the counseling aspect of social work.
- Socially Perceptive – the ability to recognize body language, social cues, implications and cultural patterns of behavior.
- Interpersonal skills – the ability to relate effectively and sensitively to different people of all ages and walks of life.
- Tolerance – since you will deal with different types of people, there will be times when problems and issues are the same and repetitive, this can become stressful over long periods of time therefore you need to be tolerant to survive this course.
- Empathy – the ability to identify with or vicariously experience another person’s situation.
- Patience – the people that you will encounter may not always be open, cooperative and eager to share with you their problems so being patient is a very important trait that you must possess.
- Able to set boundaries – maintain the capacity to set boundaries and accept the limits of what can be accomplished during a specified period of time.
- Service oriented – the willingness and desire to actively help people.
- Organization – you may be dealing with a heavy caseload, and so time management, clear note-taking, and a logical filing system are important to help you maximize the amount of time
- Problem-solving skills – the ability to identify, assess, create alternative solutions and solve the actual problem while continuously evaluating for outcomes.
How difficult is BS in Social Work?
BS in Social Work is not a difficult course. Rather than describing it as difficult, students who enroll in the Social Work program describe it as fun and satisfying since you will be able to meet people and help them with their problems.
The challenging part of this program is accomplishing two sets of on the job training. During OJT, you will encounter and talk with different people and help them solve life issues and problems, this can be stressful at times, and that is why it is very important to be objective setting aside personal emotions and biases. Aside from the OJT, you also need to produce an undergraduate research paper with a topic related to social work. While these requirements may be challenging, the workload for this program is light compared to many other courses.
How long does it take to complete the BS in Social Work program in the Philippines?
The BS in Social Work program takes four years to complete. The program may be completed in less than 4 years in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.
On the Job Training (OJT)
A student of the BS in Social Work program is required to attend an on the job training (OJT) in an organization, agency or community. During the OJT, students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and practice their skills in actual settings. Students have to undergo two sets of on the job training:
- Field Instruction I (Agency–based) – 500 hours
- Field Instruction II (Community–based) – 500 hours
The OJT program is done under the supervision of a Registered Social Worker in the agency/community which will evaluate the student periodically and submit the evaluation form to the assigned faculty member. (See source
Social Workers Licensure Examination
To become a Registered Social Worker in the Philippines, a graduate of BS in Social Work needs to pass the Social Workers Licensure Examination. The examination is conducted by the Board of Social Workers
under the supervision of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
. (See source
Career opportunities for BS in Social Work graduates
Jobs for Registered Social Workers (board exam passers)
- Family social workers – work with broken families and finding foster homes for neglected children.
- School social worker – a liaison between school and students’ families, essentially bridging children’s personal lives and education to make sure their needs are being met.
- Community Development officer – help communities to bring about social change and improve the quality of life in their local area. They work with individuals, families and whole communities to empower them.
- Child Welfare social worker – provide services to children who are abused and neglected by their parents or to children from lower-income families who cannot afford to properly care for them.
- Medical/Public Health social worker – work in any facility that provides care to patients, including hospitals, emergency rooms, hospices, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, assisted living facilities and home health agencies.
- Substance Abuse social worker – employed in a variety of venues, including rehabilitation facilities, prisons, private practices, for- and non-profit organizations, and juvenile detention facilities to help people with different forms of addiction
- Mental Health social worker – assess clients’ mental health, mental disorders, develop treatment plans and assist in the daily living of those with mental disorders.
- Healthcare social worker – work concentration is focused on serving individuals in a healthcare setting by providing advocacy and support to patients and their families.
- Social and Human Services Assistant – work with clients to determine what social programs can assist them. They are responsible for meeting with clients, assessing their needs, and ensuring that they receive the benefits or programs they require.
- Gerontology social workers – assist elderly individuals with needed housing, care, and transportation services; also, they support caregivers for families in unique situations
- Social Work Administrator – plan, direct, or coordinate the activities of a social service program or community outreach organization. Oversee the program or organization's budget and policies regarding participant involvement, program requirements, and benefits.
- Social Planner – research, analyze, develop, and implement programs for people experiencing different kinds of abuse or poverty. They recommend certain government action to take place and help raise finance for these programs.
- Social Researcher – plan, design and manage social research projects. They use a variety of computer software packages to collect, analyze and organize information and data, which they then present to others, either in a written report or oral presentation.
- Rehabilitation Specialist – help people with physical injuries or disabilities, mental retardation, mental health problems or any other condition that makes it difficult to live a fully independent lifestyle
- Project Development officer – develop and co-ordinate individual projects in communities to help individuals and families live a better life.
Jobs not related to the BSSW program
- Call center agent – answers phone calls and inquiries of clients and provides customer support, usually to people from other countries
- Administrative Staff – personnel responsible for the organization and management of office duties and tasks; positions that include office secretary, personal assistant and office clerk
- Freelancer working online – doing online jobs for clients abroad, such as data entry, article writing, SEO, customer support, administrative support etc., which mainly depends on your skills