Adult Practice Social Work, sometimes referred to as Adult Gerontology, is a subfield of social work that focuses on social work care of the elderly. There are numerous agencies and organizations set up to assist with caring for the adult population that could be happy to involve you in their daily duties.

Adult Practice Social Work Degrees

Adult Social Work is a degree specialization that focus specifically on the needs of adults. This can include adults that may be diagnosed with serious mental illnesses or disorders that disrupt their normal lives. Adults with developmental issues or disabilities that can inhibit their ability to live independently may also be a large population that is served by professionals in this field.

Adult Social Work degree programs can help to educate students on the services, techniques, and methods available for working with the adult population. Typically, MSW programs have a field focus or specialization track in Adult Social Work or Adult Gerontology (for the most part you need your MSW as a part of your social work licensure).

Who is this degree for? People with the desire to promote positive change in others can be meaningful professionals in the field of Adult Social Work. A lot of prospective professionals in this field may have altruistic personalities that are focused on others above themselves. If you are the type of person that enjoys going above and beyond to help people in need, you could be a great addition to the field of social work.

Working as an Adult Social Worker

One of the best methods for achieving the title of Adult Social Worker is to enroll in and complete a degree program that focuses on this aspect of social work.

All over the country, there are universities that can provide you with the education required to learn more about and become licensed in this field. These degree programs may consider concepts such as rehabilitative care, retirement services, care coordination, and family services that can be vital to the administration of high-quality services to the aging population. If you would like to learn more about this incredible degree program, read along in our guide below.

Online Adult Social Work Programs

Incoming college students that are considering their options for degree programs might be interested in learning more about what is available to them at different colleges.

If you are like many new college students and are currently working a full-time job or caring for a family, you are probably trying to find options that are less likely to disrupt your current lifestyle. Online degree programs in Adult Social Work can be a great way to achieve your college degree without having to substitute time at home with time in a collegiate classroom.

What to Look for: A Flexible Learning Environment

If you have yet to take part in an online class, you might be surprised to learn that they consist of some of the more flexible components available currently in college programs. Online courses in Adult Social Work may allow students to log in to a virtual course room from any computer that is capable of internet access.

While logged in to the course, students can view their syllabus, unit assignments, prospective tests, and even discussions that take place among instructors and classmates. These courses generally provide students with an outline of future due dates, so that they can organize their own schedule in order to accommodate what is required.

Online CSWE BSW and MSW Programs

If you are wondering how widespread the integration of online degree programs currently is in the U.S., you might be pleased to discover that there are numerous universities currently implementing online programs into their options. Many big-name or widely known colleges may even offer online degree programs for students that are not readily available for full-time campus attendance.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) can be a resource for you as you learn more about these programs and what is available. This agency current accredits both on campus and online degree programs in social work. Our team of educational experts has pulled a few accredited degree programs in this field and listed them below as examples.
A Few Online BSW and MSW Programs:

  • The University of Cincinnati

    Online Bachelors in Social Work - Online Full-Time Program Available

  • Boise State University

    Online Masters in Social Work - Online Full-Time, Part-Time, and Advanced Standing Options Available

Choosing a specialization

Another aspect of online degree programs to consider is the variety of degree programs that could meet your needs. Colleges that offer online Adult Social Work programs may have programs under slightly different names depending on where you are searching. The name of the program is not nearly as important as the accreditation, so you should be sure to check with the CSWE before making a choice on any program you are uncertain about. Some of the most common degree titles in Adult Social Work are listed below for you to review.

  • Direct Practice - Adult
  • Individual and Family Social Work
  • Clinical Social Work - Adult Practice

Bachelor’s in Adult Social Work Degrees

Unlike many other fields like counseling or psychology, professionals in the field of social work can becomes licensed at the bachelors level. Some students interested in pursuing high degree programs in social work may begin their experience by indulging in bachelors degree programs. At this level, students can become introduced to some of the introductory topics relevant to social work professionals, such as social policy, social psychology, and sociology. As the program progresses, students may then integrate more advanced topics into their studies to help build upon those foundation courses.

Students that have already completed bachelors programs in other areas can still transition to the field of social work at the masters level. New entrants to college may find that engaging in a Bachelors in Social Work can help them to move through masters programs more quickly, since advanced standing programs may be available to BSW holders. Regardless of which method you choose, there can be access points to accommodate most prospective Adult Social Work professionals.

In an effort to better help you locate colleges for your education, our team of educational experts has reviewed some of the current online bachelors programs current accredited by the CSWE. In the list below, you can view a few of these option to see if they might be accessible to you.

  • Ursuline CollegeOnline Bachelors in Social Work – Online Full-Time and Part-Time Options Available
  • The University of UtahOnline Bachelors in Social Work – Online Full-Time and Part-Time Options Available

Master’s in Adult Social Work Degrees

Why do people choose to pursue a Masters in Adult Social Work? Some students may consider the need for higher education in this field vital to their success, while others might not see the benefit to 2-3 additional years of instruction. Since people can generally become licensed at the bachelors level, the benefits of moving into the masters program go beyond just the licensing requirement. As you read through these next paragraphs, you could consider what your goals in this field might be and the benefits of following your degree program beyond the bachelors level.

The Masters in Adult Social Work is a specialized program that implements both general aspects of social with with advanced knowledge in service to the adult population. If you plan to pursue careers in fields that focus on the needs of adults in mental health or rehabilitative care, having this specified knowledge could set you apart from general social workers applying for the same positions. Students that move forward to a masters program and complete it may also be eligible for a higher tier of licensure: The Licensed Masters Social Worker. In addition to this higher licensed status, graduates of this program may also be more likely to qualify for management positions when paired with significant work experience in their field.

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During your masters program, you may have the option to take part in a supervised internship experience within your specialized field. In comparison to course work, these experiences can help bring your career to life and help you to visualize what you have learned. Working with the adult population may require a specific set of skills that you can learn through structured course work in this degree program. Take a look at some of the example accredited degree programs provided by our team below.

More Online BSW and MSW Programs:

  • Fordham UniversityOnline Masters in Social Work – Clinical Practice – Online Full-Time, Part-Time, and Advanced Standing Options Available
  • Case Western Reserve UniversityOnline Masters in Social Work – Direct Practice – Mental Health/Adults – Online Full-Time, Part-Time, and Advanced Standing Options Available

Typical Master’s Coursework to Expect

Your choice to pursue a Masters in Adult Social Work may be due to your desire to achieve higher positions in your field, or to just simply become more of an expert in your field. Before you finalize your enrollment into these degree programs, you should take a look at what might be provided within in order to familiarize yourself with the skills and concepts that might be expected of you once employed. The curriculum of a degree program may be essentially an outline of the different types of responsibilities you might have as a professional, so reviewing it can likely teach you more about the position that just a general program outline.

The courses that you can take during your program may include those that focus on the lifespan development of people from all walks of life. Learning more about this subject area can help you to visualize why some adults may not have the same skills as other adults, as well as how developmental disorders can hinder ones ability to function successfully in society. This information paired with advanced social work techniques can help you to become a more effective social work professional throughout your career. Read through some of the common courses below to see a few topics that can be covered in your program.

Social Welfare Policy
Before working for agencies that provide welfare services or social services to the public, professionals should have a solid understanding and background in social welfare policy. This course may begin with a look into the development of welfare agencies, reasonings for modifications over the years, and policies currently used within the welfare system today. Students may explore shortcomings, potential areas of change, and restrictions to eligibility through this course’s duration.
Mental Health Social Work
Mental health social work may be one of the more popular fields for prospective professionals to engage in. This course can teach students about the role of the social worker in the mental health field, mental health services provided to patients, different mental illnesses and disorders, and decision-making in the clinical environment. Students may also learn more about common mental health disorders and how they can affect a person’s ability to make realistic and applicable life decisions.
Intervention and Communication Skills
Part of the duties of the social work professional may be to connect with clients on a personal level. In this course, students can learn about basic communication skills that can assist professionals with relationship building and service delivery. Students may also learn about early intervention techniques such trust-building that can help clients grow closer and more willing to take part in their services. As part of course requirements, students may practice with different techniques in mock scenarios of client interaction.

An Overview of the Adult Social Work Area

Adult Social Work can be an intriguing degree and career choice for prospective professionals that have what it takes to assist others in some of the most difficult times of their lives. This field can help students prepare for making important decisions on behalf of their clients, working with families to determine the best course of treatment, and working with multiple agencies to ensure that clients receive the services they need. Depending on the career field that you choose to pair with your degree, you might also have field-specific responsibilities to accompany your general social work duties.

The Adult Social Worker can be a life changing addition to a treatment team. These professionals are often called in when adult patients or clients do not have the ability to make decisions on their own, such as when mental health issues are overwhelming, physical ailments or illness are preventing their inclusion, or when there are current developmental delays that cause clients to lack understanding in decision-making. These professionals may be most often used in facilities that house adult patients for long-term care or rehabilitative treatment. More roles and responsibilities of professionals in this field can be browsed in the list below.

  • Conducting Needs Assessments
  • Mental Health Service Management/Enrollment
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Financial/Legal Decision Making
  • Team Planning with Providers/Families
  • Medical/Health Service Enrollment

What Types of Jobs or Careers in Adult Social Work?

Social work careers may often be found in many different shapes and sizes. Having expertise in this highly versatile field can be useful in pursuing careers in the field of healthcare, mental health, and even community support. The adult population may have a high need for social work professionals, making this a potentially excellent field to pursue for a long-lasting career. The majority of social work professionals in the U.S. today focus on the needs of children and families, so your focus on the adult population could mean more access to careers as you come forward to the field from licensure.

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Careers in the field of Adult Social Work can include those that provide general case management for adults in need of support, management in areas that serve adult populations, and even research fields that are focused on improving social services. Depending on what type of career you might wish to achieve, your path may look differently than others. As you read through a few example careers below, consider if your skills align with what may be required to flourish in each.

  • Clinical Social WorkerAlthough this field of social work may require extensive additional training, some professionals choose to pursue this career option in order to provide more of a service to their adult clients. Clinical social workers can provide counseling services, mediation, and case management to the people that they serve. This type of well-rounded service can allow professionals to become more involved in the treatment of their clients and help them to arrange more relevant services according to their needs.
  • Individual Practice Social WorkerOne of the most generalist options for professionals interested in working with adults may be in individual practice. Within this career field, social workers can work with adults with a variety of different needs. You may work with a client base of 8-10 individuals, maintaining services, setting up program enrollment, and monitoring the progress of each person involved. Your clients could be those with mental health needs, healthcare needs, or even those with disabilities that prevent them from functioning completely on their own.
  • Mental Health Social WorkerSocial workers that focus on the care and service of adults may find that the mental health field can be a great place to find a career. Within this position, professionals can work in mental health facilities or even healthcare agencies responsible for caring for people diagnosed with mental illnesses or disorders. Part of your job may be to review the needs of your clients to set up necessary services, coordinate health care insurance coverage, and managing finances for those being served.