MSW – Careers in Social Work
Are you considering social work as a career? This guide will answer your questions about what social workers do, different types of social workers, and the various social work careers you might consider. It will also provide guidance on how to find entry level social work jobs right up to the highest paying social work jobs you may be eligible for once you’ve completed an advanced degree.
Social Worker Job Description
What Is a Social Worker?
Although social workers wear many hats, their primary job is to assist individuals in various populations, like children and families, those struggling with addiction, or people in nursing homes or hospice care. They typically take on the role of a buffer between people and society, aiding those who face daily challenges in areas like health, finances, or education, to get them the help they need for day-to-day living.
What Does a Social Worker Do Every Day?
Social workers solve problems for the people they’re assigned to help. Depending on the type of cases to which they’re assigned, social workers might have daily tasks like finding employment and housing for the homeless or safe guardianship for children. A social worker’s goal is to make sure that each case is handled with care, giving the individual the tools they need to cope with the specific challenges they face.
Levels of Social Workers
There are several fields of social work and types of social work jobs to consider if you’re interested in a career in this industry.
What Bachelor of Social Work Jobs Are Available?
Bachelors of Social Work jobs are frequently more general in nature than social services careers for those who have obtained a master’s degree. Here are a few common types:
- School social worker – Provides assistance to school-age children who struggle in academics, behaviors, and other challenges that affect their schooling.
- Group home counselor – Works with patients to help them gain and build the necessary skills to live independently.
- Community health worker – Educates individuals in the community about common health issues and prevention.
What Can I Do With a Master of Social Work?
Master of social work jobs are generally more concentrated than the jobs you can get with a bachelor’s degree. Your master’s degree can allow you to pinpoint a more focused aspect of social work and accompanying group, such as working only with seniors or people with mental health issues. A few common types of Masters of Social Work careers include:
- Child and family social worker – Works with children and/or families to provide them with tools needed to live and thrive. This may include family therapy or financial assistance.
- Hospice social worker – Coordinates medical assistance, therapy, and support for terminally-ill patients and their families.
Substance abuse counselor – Guides patients through substance abuse therapy and challenges they might face after treatment.
How to Find a Career in Social Work
Jobs for social workers with a bachelor’s degree are plentiful and can give you an excellent starting point to further your career in social work. Many agencies advertise job openings on their websites, job boards, or with local career agencies. If you’re not sure what agencies exist in your community, you can do a quick online search for “social service agencies near me.”
If you’re looking to advance your career social work by concentrating on a more specific field, you’ll need a master’s degree, which will take an additional two years of higher education. Some careers might require on-site, supervised training for one or two years, especially when diagnosing or medicating conditions is involved.
The social worker job outlook is promising; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the industry to grow by 16 percent by 2026. With a wide range of potential jobs in social work degree jobs for both undergraduates and graduates, as well as excellent advancement opportunities, you can likely find the perfect social work career for your interests and personality.