Career Pathways with a Degree in Social Work
Do you love helping people and coming up with solutions for many problems in society? Do you think that making people happy makes you happy, and you want a career doing so? Then it would be best to find a profession having its roots in your passion, and social work is just the field! Getting a social work degree can open up many social work career options for you. If you want to further improve yourself, you can even do masters in social work. A social worker deals with various human affairs, helping people face mental, social, emotional, behavioral, and environmental challenges.
Any industry or specialization requires certain skills, expertise, knowledge, and qualifications and social work is no different. Given the nature of the work, you’re at least required to have a Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) degree for an entry-level position. If you are already done with a bachelor’s and want to advance in your profession, master’s in social work is a great option. Social work masters program online might just be what you need.
Virginia Commonwealth University is offering masters social work programs. Since the programs are online, professionals can continue their day jobs while arming themselves with further qualifications and skillsets.
With a master’s degree, you can explore a multitude of careers varying across multiple sectors, from education to government and healthcare. Let’s get into the specifics of some of these career pathways.
School Social Worker
School social personnel listen to and offer support to individuals or groups of students by identifying problems and coming up with solutions related to their academic lives. They also assist teachers, families, and administrators in supporting students’ mental health. In general, school social workers make school environments safe for students and facilitate their learning.
A community worker works with nonprofit organizations or other government institutions. Their role includes upgrading people’s quality of life in the community and helping members with their day-to-day issues. Community workers arrange events and plan functions to understand the underserved community better and negotiate their concerns with the local government for policy changes and reforms. They also promote campaigns addressing health issues of the community members.
Human Service Specialist
Human services professionals may work in various settings, including local jails, mental health centers, nursing departments, state, local government organizations, community care clinics, and homeless shelters. They work with people who need support to survive in their community, helping clients figure out their talents and eligibilities to enroll in special social programs—improving their quality of life.
They also work with clients and conduct interviews to help them find jobs—they may be eligible for—for financial stability or housing programs to prevent homelessness.
Foster care social workers or case managers often represent children in the foster care system as their advocates. They may also serve as counselors for these kids, assisting them with behavioral and mental health issues. The key focus is to ensure children’s emotional and physical well-being by placing them in a safe environment.
Foster care social workers work in foster care homes and connect children without guardians with families willing to adopt kids to be their foster parents. Foster care social workers also assist children and families through this transition, monitoring their relationships and ensuring that they have a good time with the new family.
These professionals communicate with children about their general concerns and fears and ensure that child feels safe in the new environment.
Medical Social Work
Like various other professionals, medical social workers perform their duties in several capacities. A specialized medical social worker can easily offer their services to a reputed hospital, a clinic, or a private medical facility.
As a medical social worker, your primary job is to assist the patients and family members. You can be assigned different duties and responsibilities on a daily basis, working with different types of patients, providing them essential support, guiding them through difficult times, and listening to them to come up with appropriate solutions. A medical social worker also acts as an advocate and collaborates with health professionals to ensure that patients receive quality healthcare.
Mental Health Social Work
Unlike a medical social worker, a mental health social work professional addresses patients’ mental health and supports them in finding solutions by equipping them with skills to cope and better tackle life’s challenges.
Mental health issues can include anything from depression to anxiety, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. Patients going through these issues could be of any age and at any stage of their illness. A mental health social worker handles all such patients with love, care, and kindness. If the patient cannot visit the clinic, such professionals often take the work to their client’s home to ensure maximum comfort and convenience.
This role may also demand you to plan and organize the events in the life of the individual you work with, helping them work towards achieving their goals.
Social workers are in high demand in the United States. Looking at the numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rates of social workers will rise by 12% by 2030. Given their demand, this is the ideal time to take your devotion to a professional level by earning a master’s degree in the field.
While there are diverse career pathways to explore with an advanced degree in social work, keep in mind that salaries vary based on your experience, location, the industry you work with, and the type of role you have.
Irwin Michael Reston is an expert who has more than 30 years of experience in optimizing businesses, inspiring individuals and improving human resources departments. He established the BlueLight Consulting Limited to provide learning and training service worldwide.