What Are Some Common Careers in Social Work?
Common careers in social work involve working with youths, families, terminally ill medical patients and individuals striving to beat addiction. Social workers assist people in dealing with various personal, health or environmental problems.
Social workers do a variety of jobs with several specializations. Below are three different kinds of social workers with information on what they do.
Important Facts about Social Work
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Number of Jobs (2016)||682,100*|
|Similar Occupations||Probation officers; psychologists; rehab counselors; career counselors|
|Median Salary (2018)||$49,470 (for social workers)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||16% (for social workers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Child, School and Family Social Work
Among the common duties performed by a child and family social worker are arranging adoptions, finding foster homes for children and assisting single parents. Social workers involved with schools serve as the liaison between the school and students' families, working with school staff and parents or guardians. Dealing with such problems as truancy and teenage pregnancy is part of a career in school social work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these workers were expected to see 14% growth in employment from 2016 through 2026 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported the median salary for a child and family social worker was $46,270 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov).
Social Work Careers in Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Social work in the mental health and substance abuse areas often involves assisting with a group and individual therapy, rehabilitation or crisis intervention. Substance abuse treatment facilities, hospitals, family service agencies or local organizations are likely places of employment for social workers. Jobs in the substance abuse and behavioral disorder field were predicted to grow by 19% from 2016 to 2026, said the BLS. The BLS reported the median salary for a mental health and substance abuse social worker was $44,840 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov).
Social Work in Medical and Public Health Settings
Professionals with careers in health-related social work provide support for families and patients with chronic, acute or terminal illness, such as AIDS, cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Social work responsibilities include arranging meals-on-wheels or home care. The BLS noted that the growing senior population and aging baby boomers would increase the demand for those who specialize in geriatric social work for seniors.
Social workers in this area may work for nursing homes, personal care facilities, service agencies, local governments or hospitals. The BLS reported that jobs in the health educators and community health field were expected to grow by about 20% from 2016 through 2026. The BLS reported the median salary for a healthcare social workers was $56,200 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov).