Social work deals with the welfare of individuals that constitute a society. They assist in empowering weak, vulnerable, oppressed, and poverty-stricken people to ensure their well-being. It’s no doubt that social work is considered one of the noblest professions, and those who pursue it as a career receive the utmost respect.
In recent times, prevailing economic conditions alongside the pandemic have enhanced the demand for social workers. Therefore, anyone who is empathetic, passionate, and wishes to contribute towards the welfare of society should step into this field.
Job prospects in social work are incredibly varied in today’s global marketplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the United States projects that the employment of social workers will increase by 12% by the year 2030.
Now, what are the potential career options in this field? Enlisted below are six popular career paths for social workers:
1. Licensed Clinical Social Workers
Counseling is the primary field of practice for licensed clinical social workers. They aid people in dealing with mental health issues, complicated situations, traumatic events, and life changes. They can also work as case managers or researchers.
When treating clients, licensed clinical social workers use a social work method, whereas a psychologist can use a different technique, such as a behavioral one. Strengths-based therapy is one approach that a clinical social worker may use to assist clients in overcoming challenges and taking charge of their lives.
A master’s degree in social work from an approved institution is the very minimum qualification for this position.
2. School Social Worker
The school social worker’s role is to help students, parents, and teachers determine how best to meet each student’s individual requirements for academic success. Social workers engage with students and their families to address mental health, disciplinary, and interpersonal concerns. They achieve this through direct and indirect services, including assessments of kids, consultations with educators and others in the community, creating and implementing behavior management plans, and providing support during implementation.
Successful kids have access to school social workers who act as liaisons between families and institutions. Students who are having trouble with their behavior, their relationships with their peers, or external stresses from their communities, homes, or schools can schedule one-on-one sessions with the school’s social worker. These social workers also enlighten teachers and administrators about how a student’s ethnicity, family dynamics, social environment, and health status may impact their academic success.
3. Medical Social Worker
Medical social workers work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, or community health agencies, working with patients to relieve their problems. They have a pivotal role in providing resources and support to patients suffering from the social and emotional consequences of the illness, aiding them in recovering from any medical issue. Being the patients’ advocates, they also have to work closely with doctors, nurses, and other medical staff to ensure the well-being of patients.
Hence, the medical social worker is a vital career option for anyone aiming to build a career in social work. All one needs to do is complete an MSW degree and step into this field.
4. Behavior Supervisor
Behavior supervisors focus on the behavioral aspects of their clients. They not only play their part in identifying the behavioral issues in their clients, like violence, tantrums, and disruptive behavior but also help them try to overcome them. Moreover, as behavior supervisors are senior to behavior analysts and ABA practitioners, they also supervise and guide them in their practice. In addition, they hold a pivotal position in a workplace where they serve to ensure compliance.
The wide range of functions indicates that a person aspiring to become a behavior supervisor must be highly qualified. A doctoral degree in social work is essential to ensure success in this career.
5. Human Services Specialist
Human resource specialists work to provide a wide range of social services to their clients to improve their life quality. They address their clients’ social, family, and vocational needs and suggest ways and plans to fulfill them. Moreover, they play a crucial role in determining their clients’ eligibility for various social programs like disability pay and child welfare. In this regard, they conduct interviews with the clients to enable them to achieve what they exactly want.
Human services specialists serve in several workplaces like halfway houses, correctional facilities, mental health centers, family homes, and non-profit organizations. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree in social work can enter this field and achieve success, depending on sheer effort and dedication.
6. Community Outreach Worker
Community outreach workers play an integral role in highlighting their organizations’ services in front of the community. Hence, they act as a liaison between an organization and the community to provide information regarding their organization. Moreover, they play a vital role in identifying underserved communities and their needs to provide them with the organization’s services. Likewise, they also conduct events and provide social services, targeting health care for those in need.
The work of community outreach workers mainly comprises communicating with people and groups. Hence, community outreach workers must hone good communication skills alongside adequate knowledge of the organization’s services. Anyone with a passion for working in a non-profit organization, strong communication skills, and a graduate degree in social work can enter the field as a community outreach worker.
There are various popular career options and pathways for every individual who wants to pursue a job in the field of social work, depending on the level of education and skill set. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree in social work can opt for a career as a human services specialist or community outreach worker.
Similarly, those who have completed their master’s program in social work can pursue a career as a therapist, counselor, school social worker, or medical social worker. Likewise, one having a Ph.D. degree in the same field can step into a career as a behavior specialist. Hence, one can choose any one of these popular careers as a social worker.