How Do I Become a Social Work Lecturer?

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  • Written By: Kenneth W. Michael Wills
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2019
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Social work lecturers usually teach and conduct research in colleges and universities. They focus on teaching courses relevant to the application of social work theory and practice as well as related research courses. Individuals aspiring to become a social work lecturer will need to have at least a master’s degree in social work, though a PhD is the preferred academic qualification. In addition, employers often seek candidates who have extensive professional experience in the field as a social worker. Some positions may also require social work lecturers to have a credible record of research and publication before consideration or appointment.

Students in college, who want to become a social work lecturer at some point in their career, will need to complete both an undergraduate degree in social work or a related discipline as well as at least a master’s degree in social work. Those with only a master’s degree may find lecturing opportunities by teaching some undergraduate courses in social work.Earning a PhD, however, is usually a requirement to teach courses at the graduate level. Licensed social workers usually have a master’s degree in social work or a related discipline, and the bulk of training for social workers is at the master’s and doctorate levels.


Unlike some fields, an academic qualification is not the golden standard to become a social work lecturer. Teaching the practice and application of social work theory effectively will often require extensive hands-on professional experience. Aspiring social work lecturers will need to gain experience working as a social worker, and some potential employers may even want to lecturers who have worked at a supervisory level in the field. While not always required, having a solid record of research and publication contributing to the field of social work can help candidates secure a position by demonstrating solid research skills. Demonstrating such skills is more important at universities that emphasis research-oriented programs in social work rather than the professional application of social work theory.

A social worker looking to become a social work lecturer will need to remain abreast of current developments and research in the field. Staying current with research and development usually requires attending conferences, reading periodicals and other research publications, and conferring with colleagues who work in research. Dedicated commitment to attaining the relevant academic qualifications, professional experience and staying current will developments in the field will usually qualify candidates for a position as a social work lecturer.


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