WCU’s undergraduate Social Work program combines internship experiences with comprehensive coursework to prepare graduates for careers helping people cope with poverty, abuse and neglect, addiction, unemployment, disabilities, health problems, mental illness and other challenges. Graduates of WCU’s baccalaureate program may secure generalist social work jobs or apply to graduate school to pursue a Masters of Social Work which is required to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Core courses enable students to develop interviewing, case management and intervention skills, and study topics from psychology to the political, economic and social conditions affecting disadvantaged populations. A cornerstone of the program is a supervised full-time field practicum at a human services agency. Students can select additional courses in areas such as child trauma, school social work, substance abuse, and working with older adults. A travel course to study social work systems abroad as well as a course in International Social Work are also available. Opportunities for community service abound, and students interact with faculty who conduct community-based research and are so involved in the region that they helped secure a $1.1 million grant to increase the number of substance abuse prevention and behavioral health social workers in underserved areas of Western North Carolina.
Social Work jobs are found in medical centers, nursing homes, senior centers, mental health centers, adoption agencies, schools, developmental centers, group homes, prisons, counseling centers, businesses and child welfare and social service agencies. Graduates qualify for beginning generalist social work positions such as a patient discharge planner, case manager, family specialist or a social worker who orients residents to a long-term care facility. Students who go on to earn a master’s degree and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) qualify for additional positions such as a therapist or counselor at a mental health facility, a forensic interviewer at a hospital, or a clinician in a substance abuse treatment center. MSW graduates are also employed in macro-level positions including executive directors of not-for-profit agencies, community builders and public policy analysts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies social work as one of the fastest growing careers.