Where Can I Work with a Social Work Degree?

Public and private organizations provide many opportunities for work for graduates with a social work degree. As a social work major, one is trained to handle the challenges of working directly with the public, which is a useful skill in all jobs that require a high level of verbal and written communication abilities, dedication to service and professionalism. This is a field that demands self-motivation and the ability to think independently while respecting procedural guidelines. Social workers will come face-to-face with people who have emotional, mental and social challenges and will be expected to find optimal solutions to clients’ issues, which may require interfacing with other organizations and resources.

Medical Facilities

Social work graduates will find various job opportunities in medical facilities, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, physical rehabilitation centers and surgical facilities. Social workers serve as the link between caregivers, patients and hospital staff to facilitate paperwork, provide guidance in critical decision-making as well as link to resources for financial and other social assistance. They may also serve as patient advocates especially when there are language barriers. Social workers may also be called upon to provide comfort in difficult times or counseling if one has the training and credentials to serve as counselor.

Retirement Communities and Nursing Homes

Depression and mental health concerns are common among the elderly especially for those dealing with declining health, family loss and loss of independence. Social workers assist individuals by identifying their needs and linking them to the right resources such as Medicare/Medicaid, rehabilitation services and counseling. In nursing homes, social workers are part of the healthcare team to monitor the mental and emotional aspects of patients’ conditions.

Child Welfare Organizations

Ensuring the health and well-being of children starts during the mothers’ pregnancy until the kids age out of the system at 18 years old. Social workers play a crucial role in this environment, identifying women who may need assistance to make sure that mother and baby get the care they need. Assistance and support continues post-delivery with social workers connecting mothers with resources such as food assistance, financial help, accessing health services and training to re-enter the job market. Social welfare favors keeping children with their natural families, but when circumstances warrant, social workers will take charge of placement with foster families or adoption when families are unable to care for their children. These social workers are mostly employed with state and federal agencies although private organizations such as churches and child advocacy groups may also operate their own child welfare and services units.

Schools from Preschools to High Schools

School social workers serve as liaisons between school staff and families of the students to make sure that children’s needs are addressed so that they can thrive in the school environment. They work with special needs children to help identify their challenges and, together with an educational support team, help to customize an education plan. They may become involved in the juvenile justice system, child protective services, family mental health counseling and child behavioral interventions. They are usually part of crisis intervention teams, and they may be assigned to school districts rather than a single school site.

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

The need for social work graduates will increase by 16 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026, this growth rate is faster than average with more than 100,000 new jobs added as the need for healthcare and social services increase due to an aging population and normal population growth. Plan on expanding your credentials to take advantage of diverse work opportunities with a social work degree.