Careers in Social Work

Social work careers are an attractive option for men and women who have a strong desire and natural talent for helping people. Most jobs in this field require at least a master's degree in social work (MSW) but you can enter the field with a bachelor's degree. Careers in social work typically involve helping children, families, and underprivileged members of society resolve issues and get ahead in life. Social workers can specialize in a certain area, such as healthcare, public policy, or schools, to provide assistance and resources to all types of clients. Ultimately, the social worker's goal is to make sure that they can live their life to the fullest.

Exploring Careers in Social Work

When most people think of social workers, they think of social work professionals who are helping families or children dealing with abuse, domestic violence, or marital problems. However, social workers work with a wide range of clients to help them overcome problems and set themselves up for a better life.

Careers in social work include roles as a child, family, or school social worker; a medical or public health social worker; or a mental health and substance abuse social worker. Most social workers spend their day in an office but may travel locally to meet with clients and colleagues. Some even have their own businesses and will work independently. Those who work for an agency may need to attend meetings or work with groups of people offsite.

Types of Social Work Careers

You can learn about different social work careers by getting in touch with several community organizations and social work agencies in your area. Most social workers choose to specialize in a certain area and will complete an advanced training program in that area to gain work experience. The tree main fields of social work are: child, family, and school; medical and public health; and mental health and substance abuse.

Social workers who specialize in the child, family, and school area work with parents and children to ensure that there are no signs of domestic violence or abuse in the home. They might be responsible for making arrangements for adopted children and work with school counselors to ensure students are reaching their potential. They can also counsel students and families in times of stress or conflict. When needed, the social worker will put parents in touch with public assistance programs.

Social workers in the medical and public health field are trained to provide support and counseling for those who are coping with a terminal disease or illness. They may also work with patients and families who are struggling to manage their healthcare or medical expenses to provide resources and assistance. Most of these social workers are employed by government agencies, hospitals, and other service providers.

Social workers who specialize in mental health and substance abuse are considered to be clinical social workers and they need advanced training in this field. They help clients cope with problems through counseling and behavioral therapy sessions to overcome addictions and address substance abuse problems.