Can I Work as a Social Worker for a Non-Profit Organization?

Students enrolled in social work degree programs may question whether they can become social workers for non-profit organizations. Unlike private organizations that can use their incomes in various ways, non-profits use their earnings to pay salaries and other expenses. Those organizations usually do not make as much money because they help those who cannot afford it, and they typically pay social workers less too. Prior to finish a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a Master of Social Worker (MSW), students should learn more about the job and working for non-profit organizations.

Becoming a Social Worker

Becoming a social worker is something that usually takes several years. A BSW is the only requirement for most agencies and organizations. It typically takes four years to finish a BSW program. MSW programs take between two and four years to complete. Most of these programs have a practicum requirement too. Students will spend 300 or more hours in the field to finish a practicum, and they may need to do both a practicum and an internship. Some schools offer accelerated MSW programs that reduce the number of required fieldwork hours for students who have a BSW or a social work background.

Types of Nonprofit Jobs

Working as a social worker for a non-profit organization allows professionals to give back to their communities and others in need. A common job in this field is that of a child protective services caseworker. Also called a CPS caseworker, this is someone who works for a government agency and looks out for children. They often investigate claims that come in from others and make sure that children are safe. Non-profit organizations have a need for substance abuse counselors too. These counselors help individuals as they recover from their addictions and can arrange for them to get into rehab or to get help at home. Advocates and other types of counselors work for non-profits too.

Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for a social worker ranges from $23.79 an hour to $49,470 each year. Those who earn the least are the counselors who work with drug and alcohol addicts and the social workers who work with children and in schools. Private social workers earn the highest amount and can make more than $60,000 a year. The outlook for social workers in the future is high. After looking at statistics in the field, the BLS estimates that the need for social workers will grow by 10% through 2026.

Profit vs. Nonprofit Work

It’s important that future social workers consider some of the ways that private or for-profit and non-profit work differs. For-profit work often offers more chances for career advancement and moving up the organization’s ladder. It also offers more flexibility in terms of when and where professionals work and give those workers a higher salary. Non-profit work allows individuals to help and give back to those in need and lets them work for an organization that means something to them. An abuse victim might like the idea of helping other victims.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online

Social work is a rewarding field that can make professionals feel better about what they do. As it can take six years or longer to earn an MSW, students should consider whether they want to work as social workers in non-profit organizations or for-profit companies.