There is a growing need for social workers now than ever before. According to the BLS, the 2019 report shows there are 713,200 social workers employed in the US alone and it is expected to increase by 13% between 2019 through 2029. Social workers are highly trained professionals, known for earning a Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) degree from an accredited college or university. Many colleges offering the BSW degree are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Courses in the BSW degree program may include human behavior in social environments, ethical issues in professional human services, sociology, policy and advocacy, diversity and multiculturalism, and understanding chemical dependency and addictions. Once a student graduates from their BSW degree, they will be ready for any entry level social worker position. To learn more about BSW degree programs, check out this list of the Top 10 Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Social Work for 2021.
The Duties of a Social Worker
Social Workers learn to identify who in the community needs assistance, assess their client’s specific needs, advocate for community resources, and respond to any crises situations such as child abuse or mental health cases. They may also develop programs or services throughout communities and make follow-ups with clients to determine if their situations have improved after receiving help. Social workers work along community organizations, policy makers, and human service groups to develop and improve services, policies, and social conditions.
Where does a Social Worker work?
For those looking for a meaningful and rewarding career, then the field of social work is the right path to follow. Social working focuses on the need to help people and gives a sense of reason to make a difference in people’s lives. There are different types of social work environments and concentrations within the field. For instance, some focus on child psychology, working as school psychologist. Other positions in social work may include caseworker, family service worker, mental health assistant, and case managers. Some positions in social work only require the BSW degree; however, if students desire to add a concentration or specialty, then a master’s degree would be better suited. Many clinical positions within the social work field may require a master’s degree. Due to recent conditions with social distancing intact, many social workers are working from home to assist clients and patients by using videoconferencing or mobile technology to provide the support they need.
Job Opportunities for Social Workers
The job options for social workers are very broad. In today’s growing market, there are many positions opened for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s in social work. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for earners with a Bachelor’s in Social Work, or BSW, was around $50,470 in May 2019. Here is a list of jobs for social workers and the many important roles that students can achieve success in as a social worker. Many of the below list are perfect for entry level social worker candidates.
- Caseworker- Most work in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or other areas where they are needed as a one-on-one advocate for those going through crises, conflicts, or a recovery process. Some may work in hospitals; to work with patients and their families to help with the financial burden and plan for after care once the patient leaves the hospital.
- Mental Health worker- They often work directly under the supervision of medical staff; helping to care for the mentally disabled and/or emotionally ill individuals. Mental health workers’ goal is to improve the quality of life of patients by incorporating ADL concepts and coping skills. Sometimes they are called substance abuse workers or behavioral counselors.
- Rehabilitation Specialist- Rehabilitation specialists work along healthcare and mental health subcategories. They also provide services to the mentally disabled and help their clients learn social skills and teach clients how to live independently. Rehabilitation specialists may spend short periods of time working one-on-one with many clients. They may work within caregiving facilities, helping patients throughout every day.
Salary Outlook for Social Workers
The salaries of social workers will depend strongly on the concentration or specialty taken during the graduate’s BSW degree. For example, Community health workers can make around $46,910 annually, according to the 2019 medium pay on the BLS. Another common position is mental health workers, which can earn about $46,240 per year. Finally, a social worker who works as a social service assistant may earn $35,060 annually. Each career position is entry level; however, some positions may require social workers to earn a master’s degree in social work with a concentration of choice.