Burrus, Nichole - Military Social Workers

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[edit] Job Title (Burrus, Nichole)

Military Social Work Officer

[edit] General Overview

Military social work officers are responsible for ensuring the overall wellbeing of military members, including their families. This typically includes supporting morale and mental health needs. Social Work Officers in the Canadian Armed Forces offer many of the same social services as the community provides but tailor them to the military population as they experience a unique set of stresses. [1]

[edit] Job Duties and Responsibilities

Specific tasks that relate to the job as Social Work officer include: [2] • Effectively provide clinical services to those seeking professional help. • Be a member of a collective team whose goal is to ensure the overall wellbeing of military personnel and their family members. • Deliver workshops and assessments on sensitive information such as suicide and challenges associated with pre- and post-deployment. • Be familiar with cognitive behavioural therapy, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing and emotional focused therapy for couples. • Develop treatment plans to combat any issues that members are facing. This also includes tracking the progress of the treatment plan for each individual. • Complete referrals for individuals seeking help to the necessary parties, such as other psychologists, physiatrists and medical doctors.

[edit] Typical Workday

A typical workday in the Canadian Armed Forces commences at 0800 hours and starts with a staff debriefing on the duties that the team will be responsible for completing the day. Social Work involves one-on-one and family counselling, but Social Work officers are also responsible for developing pre- and post-deployment workshops. [3] Depending on the day, Social Work Officers can see a varying number of patients, ranging from 1-5 patients per day. Sessions that occur with individuals would last for an hour and occur in the office of the Social Worker. Sessions would include the professional engaging in different forms of treatment, such as cognitive behaviour treatment, both for individuals who have experienced a trauma and as a preventative measure for individuals who are preparing to engage in combat.

Unique aspects of the job are the physical requirements that active members are expected to maintain. Due to the fact that active military members are expected to have high levels of physical fitness, each member is allotted 1 hour each day to engage in physical activities. This can also be expressed in the form of intermural activities. [4]

[edit] Educational Requirements and other Qualifications

The minimum education in order to be qualified for the position includes the completion of a Bachelor of Social Work or a Master’s of Social Work. With either of these degrees, the focus should be clinical practice to compliment the clinical demands of the job. [5]

There are two different streams in which you can follow in order to obtain the position of Social Work Officer. If you have a Master’s of Social Work, as well as 5 years of experience in clinical practice with an adult population, the military may place you into on-the-job training following basic training. There is also the paid education option, where those who hold a Bachelor of Social work have the option to attend a Masters of Social Work program without any expense. [6]

The following are educational institutions that offer the degree necessary to obtain a degree in Social Work. All schools have varying requirements, as well as different program lengths, and therefore it is important to assess all institutions. Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario) York University (Toronto, Ontario) Kings University College (London, Ontario) Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) St. Thomas University (Fredericton, New Brunswick)

Once a degree is Social Work is obtained, individuals also need to become a registered Social Worker. This can be achieved by applying through the Canadian Association of Social Workers. The application requires information regarding educational background, work experience and other aspects related to working in the social work field. There is a $50 fee associated with the application as well. All licenses require annual renewal before December 31st. [7]

Before individuals start in their positions as Social Work Officers, they are required to attend a 15-week training session most commonly known as Basic Military Training. Topics covered in this training include general military knowledge, physical fitness as well as engaging in field exercises. [8]

[edit] Related skills, interests, and abilities

While Social Work Officers aren’t engaging in direct combat, an interest in general military workings need to exist within the individual as they will be involved with military personnel and will undergo basic training. In order to be successful with basic training and physical fitness requirements, those interested should be physically fit as well as self-motivated. As the role of being an active member in the military entails following orders from those who are superior to you, those looking to join should be able to follow direction and respect all authority. This includes understanding the ranks of personal and saluting the appropriate ranks when required. This is an extremely important aspect of the role.

[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

Before individuals can achieve a degree in social work, most institutions require at least three years of an undergraduate degree have been completed, with many programs requiring you to have completed an undergraduate degree. [9] Having your initial undergraduate degree in Psychology compliments further education in social work nicely.

The Psychology undergraduate degree at Brock University would be advantageous. Abnormal Psychology educates students on different psychological disorders that individual’s experience, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as different ways in which these disorders can be treated. This information would be transferable to clinical social work settings, as many military personal suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

[edit] Salary Potential

The starting salary for Social Work officers in the Canadian Armed Forces is $51,000 per year. This salary is dependant on previous experience and training and therefore can be varied. As with many positions, the higher level of education that and individual has, the higher their salary will be. This is also true for individuals who have an abundance of work experience.

After being promoted to higher ranks within this position, the salary increases to $74,000 per year. With promotion to high ranks, such as Lieutenant or Captain, Social Work Officers have the ability the gain responsibilities in health care clinics across Canada. [10] The amount of time it takes to advance to new ranks depends on the rank that the individual is attempting to achieve, with the average promotion time being one year.

[edit] Job Outlook

This job is currently in high demand and is continuing to grow. [11] Due to awareness around mental health, and new found knowledge that is available around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the demand for those that are able to help these unique group of individuals as well as their families is rapidly growing.

[edit] To Know More

If you would like to know more about this wonderful job opportunity, be sure to check out the Canadian Armed Forces Website.

Canadian Armed Forces, Social Work Officer

[edit] Notes and References

  1. Government of Canada (2014). Get to Know your Forces. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/profile/gettoknowyourforces-213
  2. IGovernment of Canada (2014). Social Work Officer: On the Job. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/job/socialworkofficer-54
  3. Government of Canada (2014). Life in the Forces. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/page/lifeintheforces-75
  4. Government of Canada (2014). Life in the Forces. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/page/lifeintheforces-75
  5. Government of Canada (2014). Social Work Officer: Training. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/job/socialworkofficer-54
  6. Government of Canada (2014). Social Work Officer: Training. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/job/socialworkofficer-54
  7. Canadian Association of Social Workers (2015). Practicing Social Work in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.casw-acts.ca/en/what-social-work
  8. Government of Canada (2014). Social Work Officer: Training. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/job/socialworkofficer-54
  9. Canadian Association of Social Workers (2015). Practicing Social Work in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.casw-acts.ca/en/what-social-work
  10. Government of Canada (2014). Social Work Officer: Entry Plans. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/job/socialworkofficer-54
  11. Government of Canada (2014). Social Work Officer: Entry Plans. Retrieved from http://www.forces.ca/en/job/socialworkofficer-54
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