If you want to have a successful career as a social worker, you need dedication and a passion for helping individuals overcome and manage behavioral, mental, and emotional challenges. In addition, social workers offer vital support and services to individuals to improve their quality of life and manage everyday life problems.
While working as a social worker leads to the same path indeed, for helping the needy, there are several specializations you can go for if you want to dive headfirst into the social work field.
In the end, social work is a broad field. It includes specialization such as child and family social work, clinical social work, geriatric social work, school and education social work, and medical and public health social work, to name a few.
What’s more, most universities and colleges offer social work degrees in at least one of these specializations. However, it is wise to research your options before going with one. Moreover, as social services treatment and healthcare spending continue to expand, the BLS states that social work career opportunities will likely increase in demand, especially ones in a clinical setting.
That said, let us look at a few exciting career prospects if you’ve earned a social work degree.
Healthcare social worker.
A healthcare social worker specializes in psychological support and healthcare delivery. These professionals help individuals cope with long-term or chronic medical issues. Moreover, they help primary caregivers and provide patients with counseling services and other psychological and emotional support.
To work as a healthcare social worker, candidates need to acquire a master’s degree by enrolling in a social work masters programs online to understand the field in more detail and choose a specific area of specialization.
While most healthcare social workers hold master’s degrees, you might be able to get by with just a bachelor’s too. However, that typically depends on your employer’s preferences.
According to the BLS, the average salary of a healthcare social worker is around $56,750/year, with a projected growth of approximately 2% by 2029.
Career and school counselor.
A school counselor’s responsibility is to help students develop the academic and social skills they require to succeed in the education environment.
Moreover, they help students improve their quality of life through group and individual counseling sessions, provide them with the tools they require to navigate academic transitions while creating personalized curricula.
Career and school counselors work full-time jobs and need a master’s degree in social work and a state-issued license to provide students counseling services and career advice. Furthermore, these school counselors typically work in K-12 school settings.
On the other hand, most career counselors search for work in social services organizations and employment agencies.
BLS states the yearly median salary of school counselors is around $57,040, with a projected growth of about 8% by 2029.
Marriage and family therapist.
Marriage and family therapists typically offer people support and address family issues in group and individual settings. They develop a safe environment for individuals where they can share their problems and adopt healthy coping mechanisms.
Moreover, marriage and family therapists might also offer guidance to individuals undergoing life transitions such as grief due to the death of a loved one or divorce.
Generally, marriage and family therapists require an MSW or a master’s in counseling, followed by a state-issued license to practice. They also need to have a passion for listening to others, empathy, and excellent interpersonal skills.
Most marriage and family therapists work inside a clinic or a hospital, while some operate their private practice.
The average salary of a marriage and family therapist is about $49,610 per year. In addition, this field is projected to grow by around 22% by 2029.
Substance abuse counselor.
The professionals work with individuals suffering from dependency issues such as drug or alcohol addiction. Substance abuse counselors evaluate an individual’s needs and diagnose disorder while adopting constructive behavior to fight addiction. They sometimes also refer patients to other healthcare professionals.
That said, most substance abuse counselors need a bachelor’s degree, followed by a master’s in social work and professional certification.
Additional requirements might include, but aren’t limited to, a state issues license, especially if you plan to practice privately. The average salary of a substance abuse counselor is around $46,240 per year.
Mental health social worker.
As the name suggests, mental health social workers provide support and preventative services to individuals with mental health conditions and disorders. Their role is to analyze and treat patients through advocacy, crisis intervention, talk therapy, and case management.
Furthermore, they also diagnose patients, create treatment plans, and monitor their progress when administering said treatment.
Educational requirements for working as a mental health social worker include a master’s degree in social work or health, a state-issued license, and additional certification. However, the latter depends on the state you want to practice in.
In addition, these professionals require excellent communication skills and must be culturally competent. The average salary of a mental health social worker is around $46,650, with a projected growth of 2%.
A social work career opportunity can offer aspiring candidates various benefits. But, the best thing about this profession is that you get to leave an impact on people’s lives day in and day out. Socially adept individuals with excellent communication and interpersonal skills typically fit the bill when choosing a social worker’s career.
So, if you’re someone looking to obtain a social work degree, consider the career options mentioned in this article.