Social workers can be found in any number of different areas, ranging from inner cities to rural communities and even in the armed services. The United States Army, in fact, contains commissioned-officer social work professionals within its ranks.
1945 saw the first commissioned United States Army officers who were professional social workers. Individuals working with the military specialty 73A as social workers usually choose that career path because of their desire to help others. Whereas the social workers in the private sector might sometimes find themselves spending more time with bureaucracy than helping those in need, military social workers often find themselves able to quickly get down to the business of giving assistance.
Social workers in the Army are trained to help both the military personnel and family members of the military personnel. They play a vital role in helping to maintain a strong sense of balance between the needs of the military and the needs of the individual and family members.
Social workers in the Army often assist military members who are battling substance abuse problems. The stresses and strains of military life and going out on deployments and overseas missions can take a tremendous toll on both the military member, as well as those around the individual. The social workers in the Army are there to assist in working to get those struggling with substance abuse into programs designed to free them from their addictions.
Being in the military can sometimes lead individuals into dark areas of personal conduct they might not engage in under different circumstances. The New York Times reported on the Pentagon review of the culture within Special Operations that led to behavior that was considered entirely unacceptable. Part of the review detailed the need for counseling and education for all those involved in the Special Operations arena.
As might be expected with being a commissioned officer in the Army as a social worker, a college degree is mandatory. Individuals must have a master’s degree in social work from a program which has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Those seeking to become social workers in the Army need to be between 21 and 42 years of age, although those older than 42 years can actually request a waiver.
Partnership for Youth Success Program
Social workers in the Army are given the opportunity to enroll in the Partnership for Youth Success Program. This unique option sets up job interviews with military-friendly employers looking for trained and experienced Veterans. It provides an excellent transition from those leaving the Army who are entering the civilian job market.
Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees
Doing social work, whether in the Army or in the private sector, takes a special kind of individual and those who are drawn to that career path often find themselves experiencing emotional highs, as well as emotional lows. At the end of the day, though, the social workers in the Army provide a much needed support system for both military personnel and for their families.