Military social workers play a very special role in the lives of both veterans and military family members. Anyone who wants to serve their country through the act of social work should consider not only what it is like to work with service members and their families to improve behavioral health, but also consider whether or not deployment is a social worker requirement.
What Do Military Social Workers Do?
While there are licensed mental health professionals who specialize in working with members of the Armed Forces and their families in a private setting, the military also employs members of the armed forces who specialize in social work and helping military families cope with unique stressors and challenges that only those who have served would understand.
While there are opportunities in military social work where civilians in private practice can work with veteran agencies or social workers can work as civilian employees of government agencies, some with a passion for behavioral health and serving will choose to serve in the armed forces while working as a clinical social worker. According to the National Association of Social Workers, the opportunities to serve in a clinical setting as a service member are expansive in the Air Force, Army, and Navy.
Do Military Social Workers Face Combat?
As a service member, you have the unique obligation in serve your country by possibly getting deployed to dangerous war zones requiring the need for the armed forces. When you work as an active duty military social worker, you can practice in the military setting without your Master’s of Social Work, however, you will be subject to deployments to less than desirable combat zones and all of the physical training requirements that all service members are. This includes regular training, under ways, duty, PT, solider tasks, and longer-term deployments as well.
What Are The Benefits of Working As an Active Duty Military Social Worker?
Not all prospective social workers are interested in being deployed, however, those who are not detoured by this requirement would would interested in learning more about the benefits of working as an active duty military social worker should consider the benefits of working as a service member versus a civilian. The biggest benefit is that military social workers can connect to their clients because they have each experienced the unique challenges that civilians have not.
Aside from better client connections, military social workers can have their training, schooling, internship, and licensing paid for all while they are earning a living and receiving various other military housing and insurance benefits. In the Navy, active duty social workers will be working as students in the Navy Health Services Collegiate Program. This program not only offers graduate students scholarships and other financial assistance, it also offers students up to $134,600 upon completion of the required clinicals.
Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees
There are endless benefits to becoming a service member. When social worker is a passion of yours, you have to weigh the benefits with the risks and decide if active duty social work is the best option for you and your family. According to Indeed.com, the average army social worker will earn $87,043 per year depending on service area, rank, and whether or not they are deployed. Consider the average salaries of working as a military social workers and the other non-monetary benefits and decide what is best for you.