What is Micro Social Work?

Individuals who are interested in helping other people often choose a career in micro social work. Micro social workers play an important role in many settings. While some social workers work with a large group of people or even an entire community, micro social workers work with people on a one-on-one basis. Micro social workers identify different programs people face and try to help them overcome these programs and have a more stable and healthier lifestyle. Here is an overview of micro social work, including what it is and how to become a micro social worker.

What is Micro Social Work?

Social work is generally divided into three different categories: macro, mezzo and micro. While macro social work involves working with a large group, and mezzo social work involves working with a small group or community, micro social work deals with an individual or a family. Because each of these types of social work overlap each other, many micro social workers work in two types simultaneously. For instance, a micro social worker might work with a family suffering from alcohol-related issues and work within a neighborhood on these same issues.

What Kind of Work Do Micro Social Workers Do?

Micro social workers are generally the type of social workers we picture when we’re discussing social workers and what they do. A micro social worker might work with an individual or a family in the following ways.

  • Family therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Helping a person or family find housing
  • Helping a person or family find social services like health care
  • Helping military service members cope with military challenges
  • Helping military service members access benefits entitled to them

Clinical social work, which is the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of a person’s mental, emotional and psychological programs, is actually a subset of micro social work. While the clinical social worker may diagnose a problem with a client, the micro social worker will work one-on-one with the client to help him or her deal with and overcome the problem.

How to Become a Micro Social Worker

Most social workers have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology or sociology from a state-approved college. This is the bare minimum required to be any kind of social worker. It’s a four-year program that includes coursework, internships and licensure. Micro social workers who want to work as clinical social workers or in a clinical setting are required to have a master’s degree, which takes 2 to3 more years to complete.

While states have different licensing requirements, most states require a social worker be licensed. To obtain licensure, the aspiring social worker must pass a test through the Association of Social Work Board.

Career Outlook

Social workers overall can expect job growth of 11% between 2018 and 2028 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As the rate of drug and alcohol addictions, divorce and shootings reach an all-time high, social workers will continue to be in demand. Micro social workers who work with specific individuals will be even more in demand.

As of May 2018, social workers earned an average annual wage of $48,470. This wage is not as high as some occupations, but most candidates who choose this career don’t do it for monetary reasons but rather to help others.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees

When we think of social workers, we think of one social worker helping another individual with some issue or conflict in his or her life. This is what micro social workers do. Micro social work is the most common type of social work, which might explain why it’s such a popular area of social work.