Careers in Social Work

A career in social work can be a rewarding experience in which you can really make a difference in someone’s life. The job can be emotionally taxing at times; social workers see their clients when they are vulnerable and scared in the midst of a life challenge.

Many misconceptions about social work persist in the public mind and the media. Despite what you may think, social workers aren’t confined to the realm of welfare and child protective services (CPS). Social workers are employed in a variety of industries, from the medical field to education. They work with many different groups of people, including children, the elderly, people with disabilities and people who suffer from addiction.

Role of a Social Worker

There are two main divisions of social workers, direct-service social workers and clinical social workers. Direct-service social workers intervene on behalf of clients who need assistance adjusting to a life change. Direct-service social workers help their clients develop action plans, as well as find and receive benefits and resources from the government or organizations who can help. Direct-service social workers also respond to crisis situations, such as domestic violence, child abuse and natural disasters.

Clinical social workers can provide similar services as direct-service social workers. In addition to client advocacy, clinical social workers diagnose and treat mental illness. Typically, both clinical and direct-service social workers focus their practice on one particular segment of the population.

How to Become a Social Worker

Most social work positions require that candidates have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in social work. Typically, you cannot become a social worker with a degree in sociology or other related field. Most states require that clinical social workers obtain a master’s in social work, as well as state licensure to practice.

Brescia University offers their Bachelor of Social Work degree program fully online. BUonline is currently the only college or university in Kentucky to offer this degree fully online.

Top Careers in Social Work

Follow the links below for information about the responsibilities, pay and employment rate of the top five most popular careers in social work.

Child welfare

Medical/public health

Mental health

School social work

Substance abuse