Formal social welfare/work education has been developed as a field of higher education since the 1920s. The Japanese educational system was reformed after World War II, and a modern higher educational system was formed. The Japan Association of Schools of Social Work was founded as a voluntary organization in 1955 by 17 schools. In response to the aging society, the Laws for Social Workers and Care Workers became effective in 1987, and the Association became larger and larger. As of March 2010, it included 148 four-year universities, 13 two-year colleges, and 8 vocational schools. Other organizations, Japanese Association of Certified Social Workers included 271 membership schools. As the outcome of all these education courses, there were 134,000 certified social workers as of 2010.
A certified social worker is a person who provides consultation, advice, guidance and other forms of support for those who have difficulties in living due to any types of disability and environmental barriers. In order to be a certified social worker, applicants must study the subjects related to social welfare designated by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare in colleges and other institutions. And they have to pass the National Examination for Certified Social Workers. The examination includes 19 subjects as follows:
The curriculum of social welfare/ work education has been influenced by this national examination, and the subjects of the examination became standard subjects within the curriculum of those educational institutions. Applicants are also required to complete 24 days/180 hours of internship at designated social work field.
"Nintei-Shakaifukushishi Ninsho Nintei Kikou", "Japanese Certification Board for Certified Social Worker" was formed in order to respond to the complex issues and needs of society and to establish the career path of social workers. The Board certifies both educational programs of continued education for social workers and social workers who have completed these continued education.