Explore which type of social worker career is right for you!
Social workers are some of the most underappreciated professionals of any industry in the country. Tasked with either helping people manage their everyday lives or diagnosing and treating mental, behavioral, or emotional issues, social workers are an essential part of the country’s social fabric, but you rarely ever hear about them. Fortunately, most social workers don’t choose their profession for the recognition; they choose it for more altruistic and rewarding reasons.
They also may choose the profession because – thanks to the increase in demand for health care and social services – it is one of the fastest growing professions in the country according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are already an estimated 650,500 social workers employed across the country and that number is expected to increase by 25 percent by 2020, including an estimated 31 percent increase in the number of mental health and substance abuse social workers.
|Professions||Job Responsibilities||Education Requirements|
|These employees work with people fighting substance abuse and addiction on a day-to-day basis. They continually assess the patient’s progress and help them live a regular life while continuing to treat and combat their substance abuse dependencies.||Doctoral or professional degree|
|These are the people in charge of managing cases of children and families dealing with mental or emotional issues. They try to help the child achieve a sense of normalcy and help provide counseling and advice when issues arise. They identify and address psychological problems to help children find mental and emotional health.||Doctoral of Professional Degree|
|They are essentially de facto lobbyists for the disabled population. They work with policymakers and legislators to draft laws and policy that support disabled people. They use their knowledge of psychological and physical issues afflicting disabled people to further the support of their civil rights.||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
|Family Social Workers help families deal with social, mental, and emotional problems that affect the family dynamic. They are the day-to-day case managers and provide counseling and therapies to help a family better understand their issues and then resolve them.||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
|Social workers help people combat their mental, social, emotional, and physical problems and help them live a normal and happy life. Some are even clinical workers with the ability to diagnose and treat these issues but all of them work daily to help their patients overcome issues and adjust socially, mentally, and emotionally.||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
|Geriatric social workers are responsible for working with seniors with common mental, physical, or emotional issues. They use their psychological and physiological knowledge to help seniors prevent, treat, and combat mental, emotional, and physical issues. They try to help seniors overcome these issues and live a fulfilling life.||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
|Medical social workers work with patients and their families to help them deal with psychological issues. These workers are usually hospital employees who pay close attention to the mental and emotional state of each patient under their care so they can help prevent and treat any issues that occur. They often provide therapy and counseling to patients in need as well.||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
|Mental health social workers deal, obviously, with mental and emotional issues predominantly. They work with their patients daily to help them treat their disabilities and achieve some sense of normalcy despite their issues. Their goal is to work with patients and help them live a productive and happy life.||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
|Public health social workers take a more macro approach to identifying and treating social problems. They focus on the public or communities, then research the issues, and then apply their psychological expertise to each case in order to help support mental and emotional development between people in the community and the community itself as a whole.||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
|School Social Workers work with schools and school districts to support students academically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. They counsel students through their issues to help them achieve academic and social success. They are usually responsible for helping children with issues grow accustomed and comfortable in the school environment.||Doctoral or Professional Degree|
If you are wondering how to jumpstart your career as a social worker you should probably consider a college degree. Most entry-level social work positions require at least a bachelor’s degree, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be in social work. Some positions may require candidates to have already earned a Master’s degree. In fact, if you intend on becoming a clinical social worker, you will need a Master’s degree before you are qualified. Clinical social workers will also need to be licensed, and licensure varies from state to state. But the best bet to ensure a long and successful career in the industry is to start by earning a college degree.
If you like working with people, are a good listener, know how to manage your time, and are compassionate towards people in difficult stages of their life, then a career in social work may be the perfect fit. Just make sure you love the work, because the pay is not great compared to other professions. But the rewarding feeling you get for helping someone through a difficult time should more than make up for that.
A Special thanks to the Frances Perkins Center, for the use of their images. Please follow them on twitter or facebook to learn more about what this wonderful organization does.