Social workers perform many different tasks and work in varied arenas, but they usually concentrate on one of the following three areas:
– Child welfare workers, Families and Schools Social Workers: The most common type of social worker is a Child Welfare worker. Usually, their role is to help children and their families to solve their problems. They also help place children in foster care and help parents who wish to adopt.
– Social workers in the Medical and Public Health sectors: These social workers help people who are seriously ill and people with chronic health conditions find appropriate care, access public resources such as Medicare and Medicaid, and find services like nutrition and nursing classes.
– Mental health and addictions Social Workers: They work as therapists and counselors in various settings and with different kinds of patients and populations.
Discussed below are some of the best free online courses in Social Work that seniors can take.
Study.com offers this introductory and common core course for undergraduate studies in social work. This is an overview course covering many fundamental topics including:
– The seven themes of social psychology
– Research methods
– Ethical practice
– Attitudes and persuasion
– Prejudice and discrimination
The course consists of ten chapters with a total of 100 lessons, each of which is about eight minutes in length. Each lesson includes an exam to test your knowledge. This is a completely self-paced course and all course materials are available online for easy access.
This a foundational course in the field of social work, offered by The Open University on the OpenLearn website platform. This comprehensive course is designed specifically for people just beginning to learn about social work. Topics covered include social work theory, ethical social work practice and advocating for clients. Also covered is the understanding and evaluating the different kinds of people that benefit from social work services. This course is comprised of very short lessons, taking about 15 total hours to complete. It is a completely self-paced course and comes with downloadable resources to help further your learning.
This introductory course should be of particular interest and usefulness for seniors. It is offered by the world famous Columbia University via the Coursera platform. The course focuses on providing insights into the services provided for vulnerable populations. More specifically, reviewing the types of support services available to social work clients. Some of the topics covered include social services programs for seniors, like Medicare; the need for child care and family leave for poor families; and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This course is self paced and takes about 15 hours to complete. All course materials are conveniently available online.
This course is appropriate for beginners and those with some prior experience or education in social work. It is offered by the University of Toronto on the Coursera platform. Topics include:
– How mental health is defined and the causes of mental illness
– The social context of diagnosis and treatment of mental illness
– How one’s culture influences mental health
– Family connections and how they can improve mental health recovery
– Improving mental health services for people of all ages
This course is comprised of five units which takes about 16 hours of time to complete. It is self paced and any suggested deadlines can be reset by the student as needed. All course materials are online and the course is accessible on computer and on portable devices such as smart phones.
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