Nigeria is transitioning from an underdeveloped country to an emerging economic power. The change is for good. However, it has overlooked the lives of various disadvantaged people, such as children, military veterans, women, etc.
Social workers offer valuable services that can improve the quality of life for others. By assisting people with adjustment issues and other challenges, these professionals tend to bring a positive change in society.
Being a social worker can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. It’s a lucrative career option with excellent growth opportunities.
Having a career as a social worker could be an excellent pick. You can pick an out-of-box career, enjoy multiple career opportunities, serve society, and help people.
Following is a detailed guide to becoming a social worker by doing an MSW degree.
Social Work: An Overview
The world is full of injustices and complex challenges. We need people who take the initiative to make a difference in the life of others. Social work is a profession and academic discipline. It focuses on enhancing the social functioning and overall well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities.
Social work applies to social sciences, like sociology, physiology, public health, political science, law, and community development. Social workers commit to bringing a positive social change. They also help individuals, families, and communities of all ages thrive and live a better, quality life in their local environment.
Though they work with disadvantaged populations of all ages, their services are most prominent with children. Countless children grow up without proper guidance and support needed to lead a healthy, successful life they deserve.
Some critical issues social workers address:
- Mental Illness
They don’t necessarily fight the legal battles by themselves. Instead, they work closely with people or their clients. They guide them to cope with their life challenges and improve their quality of life.
Social Problems in Nigeria
Nigeria is fraught with issues related to social, religious, political, and economic elements. Although the country is the largest economy in Nigeria, it is said to be crawling backward. A sudden anemic growth and fast-growing population have shrunk the prosperity of the Nigerian people. It has made Nigeria the third least liveable city.
Source: The Guardian
There have been rising security concerns as well. The government claimed to have made good progress with the regional terror activities. However, clashes between settled farmers and herdsmen have been reported in the country.
Here are some major social problems in Nigeria:
- Juvenile Crimes
Inadequate parental care, negative peer group, and poverty have resulted in the rise in minor crimes in Nigeria.
- Population Explosion
The rate of population growth in Nigeria is high compared with other developed countries in the world. This huge population affects the per capita income and fair sharing of resources.
Poverty is a primary social concern in the country. Unemployment, growing population, and corruption on the administrative level have caused poverty in the country. These problems have reduced the quality of life and increased the crime rate.
- Drug Abuse
Drugs like cannabis are illegal in Nigeria. However, the country is one of the world’s biggest consumers of weed and other recreative drugs. Nigeria has one of the largest youth populations on the planet. A significant share of it getting indulged with drugs is a major threat to the country’s future.
As mentioned before, Nigeria has hundreds of ethnic groups with varying religious beliefs. These groups are also referred to as cults. Cultism in the country is now leading to violent, Criminal activities such as robbery, murder, drug abuse, rape, etc. Since cultism is an identity-related social problem, it can be addressed by proper counseling.
- Poor Education and Examination Malpractice
The quality of education in Nigeria is below par. The increasing rate of examination malpractice in the country has led to poor lesson delivery and ineffective preparation by students.
Although the wealthiest nation in Africa, Nigeria has an uneven distribution of wealth. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, which has caused inequality among the population. Different ethnic groups and religious beliefs can also be accounted for the increasing inequality and discrimination in the country.
Most of these social challenges can overcome with well-planned welfare programs and counseling sessions. Social workers with an MSW degree can work closely with the disadvantaged people. They need to pull them out of concerns like drug abuse, cultism, and juvenile crimes. Other issues can also be addressed through strategic planning and programs.
How Do Social Workers Make the World a Better Place?
Over the past 100 years, social workers have been involved in some critical social advances in Nigeria and across the globe. In Nigeria, 43% of social workers work in the child, family, and school sector, 26% in healthcare, 18% in mental health and substance abuse, and 9% in other areas. Between 1996 and 2015, social workers have contributed to a 68% decline in juvenile crime and arrest rates. Besides, millions of children are referred to child protection agencies every year.
The following are some changes made by social workers that have made the world a better place.
- Civil Rights
Social workers have played active roles in securing civil rights for people, irrespective of their age, faith, or gender. They understand the impact discrimination can have on a person or ability to thrive. Removing discrimination is essential to ensure all people have access to services and opportunities.
The lack of employment can create poverty, stress, and other problems in people’s lives. Social workers have played a key role in mitigating the worst of these problems by reforming labor laws. They also help in enabling programs that provide unemployment insurance, disability pay, and social security.
- Mental Illness
Social workers have brought a drastic change in how mental illness is perceived and mentally ill people are treated. These efforts have made mental health services more cordial and helped the mentally ill live productive lives.
- Substance Abuse
Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the major social concerns in Nigeria. Social workers have continued to be strong advocates for public health initiatives and treatment programs focused on helping people overcome addiction.
- Child Abuse
Social workers are always at the forefront of addressing child abuse and neglect issues. They have played a crucial role in the development and implementation of laws and programs developed to protect children.
A Career in Social Work
Online MSW programs offer limitless opportunities. Forbes Magazine states that social work supervisors rank seventh on the list of most purposeful occupations. In addition to rewarding career opportunities, the social work profession provides added job satisfaction and a sense of purpose.
You can easily find jobs in organizations that are engaged in helping people, like youth-serving organizations, NGOs, medical clinics, hospitals, etc. Some standard job titles in the field of social work are:
- Social Worker,
- Labor Welfare Specialist,
- Criminology Specialist,
- Counselor, and
- Social Security Officer.
As a social worker, you will be responsible for:
- Helping people of all ages and improve their overall well-being
- Support people to improve their financial position
- Organize and manage support plans
- To build trustful relationships with service users
- Support mental and physical development of children, adults, and elderly people
Salary and Growth
The average salary of a social worker in Nigeria is ₦118k per month, excluding cash bonus and accommodation expenses. As an entry-level social worker in Nigeria, you can expect a starting salary of ₦53k–66k per month. However, it is subject to a significant raise. An average senior social worker in Nigeria can make up to ₦440k–450k per month.
A postgraduate degree in social work can offer international opportunities, as well. In the USA, the average salary of a social worker is above $40k per annum.
An MSW degree from the best schools for a master’s in social work in the following fields can bring more career opportunities:
- Urban and Rural Community Development
- Industrial Relations and Labor Welfare
- Human Resource Management
- Personnel Management
- Human Resource Management
- Personnel Management
The more you practice as a social worker, the more salaries you will earn.
Best Option to Take up Master of Social Work
In association with the Central University of Nicaragua (UCN), Texila American University offers an MSW program. Do you have a bachelor’s degree and two years of work experience in the field of social work, sociology, or a related field? You are eligible to apply for this two-year affordable online master’s degree in social work. The course provides a suite of comprehensive training and exposure to real-life situations. It helps you become a qualified social worker.
This online MSW program provides you with the necessary skillset and expertise required for understanding and resolving the problems of individuals and communities. The program is based on a unique methodology to offer students a best-in-class, interactive online learning experience.
Key Takeaways from the Program
- International network of students and trainers
- Exhaustive range of job opportunities
- Hands-on professional experience
- Targeted skill development to perform necessary functions
Benefits of the Course
- Internationally recognized and renowned degree
- Flexible master’s in social work distance learning programs
- Extensive learning modules
- Exposure to international opportunities
Join an MSW degree and create a positive impact on society and the community.