Social Work and Counseling - Associate in Arts

Program Info

Year Established
Program Code
Degree Type
Associate in Arts

Program Description


Provides knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to work in a wide variety of health and human service agencies as assistants to licensed professionals or transfer to a university to pursue a Bachelor's degree. Areas of pursuit, either as a technician or through transfer for additional studies and potential licensure, include social work, counseling, special education, substance abuse, gerontology, and human resource development. Students may participate at a supervised field experience in cooperation with mental health agencies including mental health clinics, drug and alcohol abuse centers, special education facilities and programs, community action programs, public assistance offices, hospitals, rehabilitation programs, and residential care programs. Students in the technician pathway have the opportunity to work with a variety of clients including the terminally ill, those with AIDS, the developmentally disabled, and geriatric clients.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students should be able to:

  1. Discuss and interpret the history of the social work profession and current mental health issue trends.
  2. Apply the different treatment modalities as appropriate to the role of a social work/counseling technician.
  3. Apply the profession's ethical standards and principles including practice with respect and without discrimination.
  4. Apply critical thinking skills within the context of professional mental health and social work practices.
  5. Research the various public health services that provide counseling, mental health and social work services.
Career Opportunities

Mental Health Technician
Social Work Technician
Counseling Technician

Occupational Exposure/Risk

In social work, exposure to infectious diseases may be minimal to moderate depending on the work setting. This is an occupational risk. Proper education and strict adherence to well established infection control guidelines, can further reduce the risk.

Admission Requirements

Additional Program Requirements

Health Appraisal

Potential students must have an interest in working with the ill and disabled. Good physical strength, observation skills, and communication skills are just some of the abilities required for this job. A more detailed sample job profile is available through the Health Careers Office 313-845-9877. Each student must pass a basic physical examination prior to prior to the start of clinical (may include checking blood titers for immunity, vaccinations required by health care community, tuberculosis screening). Any students requesting special accommodations for program admission and progression should contact the Assisted Learning Office at 313-845-9617.

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen

Consistent with Section 20173 of the Michigan Public Health Code and the requirements of our clinical affiliates, a Criminal Background Check and Drug Screen clearance (on first test) is required for all students in SWK program prior to beginning clinical assignments. The cost for this test is in addition to the basic tuition and fee schedule. For questions regarding this policy, contact the Health Careers Office.

The following are a list of some of the reasons students will be denied registration into courses with field experience, based on the criminal background check:

  1. A conviction of a felony or conviction of an attempt to commit a felony within fifteen years preceding the start of the program.
  2. A conviction of a misdemeanor involving abuse, neglect, assault, battery, or criminal sexual conduct, or involving fraud or theft, within fifteen years preceding the start of the program.
  3. A conviction of a misdemeanor within five years preceding the start of the program.

In order to obtain certification students must also meet all state requirements at State of Michigan Licensing and Regulations

Students who are not cleared for clinical through the health appraisal, criminal background check and have not passed the drug screen on the first test will not be able to complete the SWK program.


Students must maintain a valid American Heart Association (AHA), Basic Life Support for Healthcare Provider card throughout the Clinical Externships. May be fulfilled by taking AH-105: Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers.

General Education

Category 3: Mathematics
Complete any one that meet the Michigan Transfer Agreement
Category 6: Natural Sciences
Complete 2 courses in Natural Sciences from the MTA list, including one with laboratory experience, from 2 different disciplines (subjects).
Credit Hours

See General Education for Transfer Degrees for details.

Program Requirements

Required Support Courses
Course Name Credit Hours
ENG-131: Introduction to College Writing 3.00
ENG-132: College Writing and Research 3.00
PSY-131: Introductory Psychology 3.00
SPC-131: Fundamentals of Speaking 3.00
PSY-253: Lifespan Development 3.00
SOC-131: Introduction to Sociology 3.00
WR-131: Religious Traditions in the World 3.00
PSY-251: Abnormal Psychology 3.00
Social Work and Counseling degree pathways

Please choose one of the following options to complete your degree.

The University option is for students planning to transfer to a University to complete a Bachelor of Social Work or Counseling, please refer to articulation agreements for Universities.

The Technician option is for student planning to become a Social Work Technician as either a Limited Social Service Technician (LSST) or Registered Social Service Technician (RSST).

  • Social Work and Counseling University Transfer Option

    Take the following if you plan to transfer to a University:

    2 Credits of electives (to complete 60 credits for graduation) - reccomendations: HPE-141, HPE-153, HPE-158, HPEA-122, HPEA-155

  • Social Work and Counseling Technician Option

    Take the following clincial field experience course if you plan to prepare for the Social Werk Technician and Counseling Certification.

Credit Hours: 32
Minimum Total Credit Hours
Requirements are subject to change. The information represented here is effective starting Fall 2024 and applies to the current catalog year. If you were admitted prior to this year, please check your requirements under the My Progress section of HFC Self Service.