The formal discipline of social work is a thoroughly modern profession, developed in the late 19th century in response to urbanization and inequalities between rich and poor. Social workers are part missionary, part scientist, and without their work, many government and private efforts to alleviate the plight of the disadvantaged would be ineffective. At Spring Arbor University, we consider it a moral imperative to educate the next generation of compassionate, ethical, and innovative social workers through our education.Online Bachelor of Social Work. This article takes a look at the current market for social work jobs.
Where do social workers work?
Social workers work in a wide variety of fields. They can be found in hospitals, community centers, schools, indigenous communities, prisons, nonprofit organizations, religious institutions, governments, and private businesses. Depending on your area of interest, you'll find ample opportunities to make a significant difference in people's lives.
Much of the expected growth that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects has to do with upcoming changes in the population and demographics of the United States. While the trend is partially offset by immigration, the United States is aging rapidly. The retirement of baby boomers will put unprecedented pressure on the nation's medical and social health networks. It will also create a number of openings in nursing homes and community centers with programs for vulnerable or isolated seniors.
Examples of Social Service Jobs
If you type "social work" into a job listing service like Monster or Indeed, it will show a variety of different jobs for those with a bachelor's degree in social work. Some examples of welfare work are:
- health educators and community health agents
- Marriage and family therapists
- Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
- School and Career Counselor (Professional Counselor)
- Social and Community Services Manager
While more specialized jobs may require more certifications, a bachelor's degree provides a solid understanding of fundamental concepts in practice that will come in handy during the early years of your career. A BSW typically includes a casework or internship component that helps graduates gain hands-on experience working with clients.
social worker salaries
The BLS states that there are currently more than 630,000 social workers employed in the United States and that the profession's 16% growth rate over the next eight years will far exceed the national average. According to the Economic Research Institute (ERI), in 2018, American social workers earned a median base salary of $64,730 per year ($31/hour with a $1,249 bonus). Michigan's statistics are in line with the national average, with the ERI reporting an expected annual salary of $65,557 ($32/hour, $1,265 in bonuses).
In many cases, entry-level social work jobs often pay well below this average, while senior positions range from $75,000 to $80,000, depending on experience and qualifications.
Is social work for you?
Social workers are a special breed. Their earnings are often lower than for business-oriented jobs, and the work can be mentally and emotionally draining. You must have a genuine passion for helping others and a deeply empathetic understanding of people that does not interfere with your ability to do your job professionally. While social workers can be of any religious belief, our teaching at Spring Arbor University is based on Christian humanitarian principles.
In our opinion, Christ was the original social worker, and we believe that the love and compassion inherent in his actions provide an ideal model for today's social worker. Our curriculum incorporates historical and modern techniques, providing students with a secular intellectual education complemented by a spiritual core.
Top 10 Social Work Jobs
In terms of career opportunities, social workers with a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) have good prospects. A social work degree is versatile: it gives graduates access to a variety of career opportunities, from working directly with clients to advocating behind the scenes. Are you considering buying a BSW? Putting your BSW online allows you to take courses around your schedule and responsibilities and expand your hiring potential. Social workers with BSWs from accredited programs are hired in roles such as...
1. School Social Worker
School social workers are people who work with children or youth in an educational setting. By working as a school counselor, you will support children and youth in their academic success, their long-term goals, and any challenges they may encounter while attending school.
The median income for a school social worker is around $60,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earnings may vary based on location, specific school and your work experience.
2. Substance Abuse Therapist
Substance abuse therapists provide men, women, and teens with the support they need to deal with substance abuse or addiction. The average salary for a substance abuse therapist is around $36,000 a year, according to PayScale, but the ability to help people recover from substance abuse is a reward in itself.
A therapist helps people focus on their long-term goals and gives them the tools they need to avoid drugs or alcohol in the future.
3. Clinical Social Worker
Typically, a clinical social worker helps men, women, and children in a medical or therapeutic setting. You may work directly with a patient or individual to develop personal goals or address complications in the person's lifestyle.
Since a master's degree in social work is required to be a clinical social worker, earning a bachelor's degree in social work is the first step. According to PayScale, the average clinical social worker makes about $52,000 a year, though you can earn more with experience and higher education.
Clinical social workers can help men and women with their professional activities, their living conditions, or with complications related to an individual's ability to cope.
4. Child and family social workers
Child and family social workers are active in the community and work with families to achieve specific goals. For example, you can work with low-income families to help parents identify family needs and start working on a long-term plan to achieve specific goals.
A child and family social worker also identifies children at risk of abuse or neglect and takes steps to ensure the safety of the children. Your career as a family social worker will enable you to find foster families for at-risk children, provide the funds a family needs to improve a child's academic performance, or arrange for children to be adopted. Specific job responsibilities may vary based on the needs of the children and families involved.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for a child, family and school social worker is approximately $46,000 a year.
5. Mental Health Social Workers
If you want to work in a career related to mental health, working as a mental health social worker provides an opportunity to help men, women, and children cope with their disorders. A mental health social worker is required to earn a master's degree, but he or she works directly with a person to address complications in the person's life related to their mental health condition.
The median income for a mental health social worker is around $42,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your income can increase over time as you gain experience.
6. Hospice Social Worker
Hospice social workers advocate for their patients' end-of-life wishes and help them and their families navigate the complex emotional aspects of late-stage and terminal illness. Working in hospice close to patients nearing the end of their lives can be emotionally draining, but many hospice social workers derive great meaning from their work. The median salary for hospice social workers is around $50,000, according to PayScale.
7. Fall Manager
After earning their BSW, many social workers aspire to become case managers. Case managers oversee the appointments, schedules, and health care schedules of client agencies and organizations. The median annual income for entry-level case managers is just under $35,000; Case managers who earn their Master of Social Work (MSW) degree can expect to double that income, particularly in certain critical care and medical settings.
8. Care Coordinator
Case managers with experience in various disciplines, such as social work, mental health, occupational therapy, and nursing, are perfect candidates to become nurse coordinators. These social workers can expect higher salaries than case managers because the job of care coordinator requires more experience and comes with more responsibility.
9. Worker permits
Eligible employees are often employed by state or local government organizations. Many work directly with clients to determine if they are eligible for features or commissions. The hourly wage for workers in the law is comparable to other entry-level social worker positions with BSW. Skilled workers generally receive good benefits packages and work predictable hours.
10. Direct Support Professional (DSP)
DSPs are social workers who work directly with individual clients. Often with physical limitations, intellectual disabilities, or mental health diagnoses, these clients seek support to maintain their autonomy while integrating into their communities. DSPs are paid around $10 per hour, although some private positions pay much more, depending on the social worker's responsibilities and prior experience. Some additional entry-level social service jobs for BSW graduates include:
- discharge planner
- Psychiatry Technician
- Community Support Specialist
- Attorney (eg, attorney for crime victims)
- Health and wellness educator
Non-Traditional Jobs for Social Workers
There is a common misconception that a social work degree is only good for one thing: social work! The truth is that the core curriculum and hands-on experience students receive during a social work degree program opens up opportunities ranging from non-traditional social work jobs to highly unexpected careers in a variety of other fields and industries.
Five non-traditional jobs you can do with your online BSW are:
1. real estate agent
Trust is the foundation of a relationship with a real estate agent and is essential when working with clients in a social work environment. This parallel shows how a degree in social work can lead to a career in real estate. Building a sense of authenticity and transparency is the foundation of a good working relationship, making these two areas more similar than different.
Agents with some experience in social services can build that trust sooner and better anticipate client needs than those without that experience. The work environment can be hectic, diverse, and change from day to day. A licensed broker can typically earn around $56,000 a year, although experience and region affect this number and many can earn more than $100,000 a year.
Social service education and practice can be a big part of law enforcement work, especially when it comes to mediating disputes and calming people in crisis. Social work studies can teach crisis response and promote empathy among all populations, which are powerful skills for anyone in law enforcement.
The median annual salary for a police officer is just over $60,000.
3. Outdoor instructor
While some people withDegree in social workbehind a desk, this is certainly not the only option. If you love spending time outdoors, consider how a Bachelor of Social Work can open the doors to some of the best careers around! From outdoor recreation therapists to instructors, these professionals can bring together the skills of a social service curriculum to share the love and therapeutic benefits of the outdoors with their clients and students.
The work environment will likely draw you into this area with your online BSW; These types of positions are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who are good at working independently but are also effective team members. The average salary for outdoor recreation therapists is around $46,000 based on experience and job responsibility, depending on the program or institution you work for.
4. Commercial Agent
To be a great salesperson, you need to be an effective communicator, so it stands to reason that going from sales to social service, or vice versa, isn't a quantum leap. Both fields rely heavily on exemplary communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, to reach and connect with their intended audience.
A social work degree can give you the tools you need to earn trust, build a relationship, and close deals. Sales can be a competitive field and it is not for the introverted or complacent. An effective sales manager can earn upwards of $100,000 a year, depending on the industry and product.
5. Marketing strategy
Advertisers and marketers need to know how best to communicate and reach their desired target audience of buyers, and social service training can give them insight into the psyche of potential customers. They can spot ad campaigns that entice shoppers and compel them to choose one product over another. Also, there are many different non-verbal communication techniques, i. H. Body language that can further inspire the target customer, client, or consumer to take an action, purchase, or contact a particular business.
If you are organized, creative and a team player, the marketing strategy could be a good option for you. There is great earning potential in marketing, with management positions typically paying in excess of $120,000 a year.
take the next step
Is it time to get a bachelor's degree in social work? Open doors to a variety of jobs and careers with your online BSW degree from Spring Arbor University, a regionally accredited nonprofit institution that has provided educational opportunities to students for more than 100 years. Your online social work degree can prepare you for a variety of positions in the field and also contribute to some exciting ventures outside of traditional field jobs.
Contact us today for a brochure to find outBSW online programInformation, course descriptions and more about our school.
- Juvenile Court Liaison.
- Community Outreach Organizer.
- Health Educator.
- Social Responsibility Manager.
- Human Resources Coordinator.
Practice clinical social work
Typically, the highest paying social work roles are clinical. This means you'll find yourself working for hospitals, insurance companies, or doing therapy. You should also prioritize licensure if you want to practice social work, even if you don't want to be a therapist.
Earning a BSW will make you a good candidate for many jobs. Most social worker jobs are in facilities or organizations with excellent long-term employment prospects. If you're looking for stability in the job market, you may find earning a BSW is worth it.What is the highest paid social work job? ›
- Corporate Social Responsibility Manager – Median Salary: $80,200.
- Social Policy Analyst – Median Salary: $74,700.
- Medical Social Worker – Median Salary: $65,300.
- Child and Family Therapist – Median Salary: $63,000.
- Human Resources Coordinator/Specialist – Median Salary: $48,300.
Common Second Careers for Social Workers
Social work professionals can use their social work skills to work in careers like caseworkers, high school teachers, paralegals, mediators, mental health counselors, and human resource managers.
Social workers seeking a career change should consider roles like educator, career counselor, or inclusion specialist. These professions require many of the skills that social workers possess. This guide outlines these and other opportunities for professionals with social work degrees considering a career change.What is the easiest social work job? ›
- Group Home Workers. Some of the most popular entry-level jobs in social work are positions in group homes. ...
- Substance Abuse Counselors. ...
- Community Social Workers. ...
- Healthcare Social Workers. ...
- Case Managers.
Social workers who participated in the NASW study cited lack of respect, support, wages and career advancement or education opportunities as reasons for leaving the field.Is BS social work hard? ›
It requires passion and commitment in dealing with the course, especially so that you deal different kinds of people and situations. It's a difficult course, but when you understand the goals you will find it fulfilling.Is a BA in social work worth it? ›
However, even if you don't want to go to graduate school, a bachelor's degree in social work is definitely a worthwhile achievement. Even without a master's degree, a bachelor's degree can enable you to pursue a range of worthwhile careers, particularly in the human services field.
Two-thirds of social care professionals expect to work past the current retirement age of 65 amid growing expectations that pension contributions will increase, Community Care can reveal.Is BSW or MSW better? ›
While a BSW will prepare professionals for entry-level positions in the field, an MSW provides many more opportunities for direct practice and paves the way to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW).What is the best field in social work? ›
- Marriage and Family Counselor.
- Medical Social Worker.
- School Social Worker.
- Foster Care Social Worker.
- Child and Family Therapist.
- Corporate Social Responsibility.
- Policy Analyst.
- Human Resources Coordinator/Specialist.
The greatest number of child, family, and school social workers work in California, with 32,620 employed in the state.Can I make a living as a social worker? ›
According to the Bureau of labor statistics, the median annual earnings of social workers are $51,760 per year. The highest 10% of earners can expect to earn $85,820 per year. Having a good and steady income is one of the most significant benefits of becoming a social worker.Can a social worker switch to nursing? ›
When you have degrees in both fields, you're no longer limited to just one specific career path. For example, you may be able to switch roles from social worker to nurse if you feel compelled to focus on one field, and you might then be able to select from a wider range of career opportunities within those fields.How to become a social worker with a degree in something else? ›
- take a postgraduate qualification (Diploma or Masters) in social work. ...
- train through Step up to Social Work which takes 14 months and combines work and study.
- College Admissions Counseling. ...
- Social and Community Service Managers. ...
- Human Resources Managers. ...
- College Professor. ...
- Diversity and Inclusion Specialists. ...
- Business Owner/Entrepreneur. ...
- Consultants. ...
- High School Teacher.
There are a multitude of social work definitions around the globe. While many differ in their wording, commonalities exist in the commitment to the five values of: human dignity and worth, social justice, service to humanity, integrity and competence.What are the three fields of social work? ›
Social work spans all levels of society and is often divided into three broad practice categories: micro, mezzo, and macro social work. These levels of social work refer to the scale and reach of the work; however, it's vital to recognize that most social work jobs will have some crossover.
- Identify people and communities in need of help.
- Assess clients' needs, situations, strengths, and support networks to determine their goals.
- Help clients adjust to changes and challenges in their lives, such as illness, divorce, or unemployment.
How much does an Entry Level Social Worker make in the United States? The average Entry Level Social Worker salary in the United States is $45,237 as of January 26, 2023, but the salary range typically falls between $39,364 and $51,443.Are social workers in demand 2022? ›
2022 is a job seeker's market! Social workers are in high demand this year.Where are the most social work jobs? ›
|Location||Employment||Average Annual Salary|
|District of Columbia||630||$66,080|
- Challenging situations. ...
- Stress. ...
- High caseloads. ...
- Safety risks. ...
- Work schedule. ...
- Educational requirements.
' (Palliative care social worker). Palliative care social workers are a source of expertise and support for other professions and agencies. They can raise awareness, mentor and provide advice to others. They can undertake research and gather evidence of what facilitates a good death.What is the life expectancy of a social worker? ›
(2010) refer to an average eight-year lifespan of social workers compared to the longevity in other professions to demonstrate this point. ...What are the 10 roles of social worker? ›
- Assess Your Client. ...
- Create and Implement A Treatment Plan. ...
- Secure and Refer Needed Resources. ...
- Evaluate and Monitor Improvement. ...
- Serve as a Client's Advocate. ...
- An Overview of the Social Work Profession. ...
- Make More Than a Difference. ...
Social work is a challenging career in many ways – emotionally, mentally and often physically. The education required to attain this career is easy in some ways but difficult in other ways.How useful is a social work degree? ›
Social workers are needed and there is an increasing demand for them on the job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, there were over 680,000 social workers in the US in 2016, and they estimate that the number will grow by 16% until 2026.
Though some states require that these workers have a bachelor's degree or a graduate degree in social work, others allow professionals to take on social work jobs with degrees in other fields. ABA graduates can use their experiences and degrees to help clients who have autism and similar conditions.What is the difference between a BA and a BSW? ›
BSW – Bachelor of social work – Designed for students who wish to work as generalist social workers in larger organizations immediately upon graduation. BASW – Bachelor of Arts in social work – It is a generalist, liberal arts degree as well that includes general education content in addition to social work topics.What is 85 year rule? ›
The 85 year rule is satisfied when your age plus your Scheme membership (both in whole years) adds up to 85 or more. When voluntarily retiring before your NPA, we look at how many years early you are choosing to access your benefits. We apply a reduction for each of these years.Is 30 too old to become a social worker? ›
You're Never Too Old to Become a Social Worker.Is a BSW a professional degree? ›
BSW course or Bachelor of Social Work is a professional degree majoring in the field of social work offered at the undergraduate (UG) level.Is BSW a degree? ›
Earning your BSW is an important step if you'd like to pursue a career in social work. Pursuing a career in social work often requires a graduate education, but earning your Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree is an important first step.Which is better MBA or MSW? ›
If you have orientation for helping the community and development sector you can go with MSW. MBA is a management course, opted and pursued by people who is planning a more corporate setup of job and career in that field. It is a job oriented course. MBA has better career prospects.What are the 5 social workers? ›
- Administration and Management. ...
- Advocacy & Community Organizing. ...
- Aging. ...
- Developmental Disabilities. ...
- Health Care. ...
- Justice and Corrections. ...
- Mental Health and Clinical Social Work. ...
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that social work will grow by 12 percent between 2020 and 2030. That means an average of 78,300 job openings each year as workers retire or change careers. Not all social work jobs grow at the same rate; many are outpacing the industry.Which state pays social workers the most? ›
Best States for Social Worker Pay
Healthcare-based social workers will make the most money in California, where the average salary is $83,000.
The average salary for Social Work jobs in London is £61,137. Read on to find out how much Social Work jobs in London pay across various industries and compare against other locations in the UK. We have 433 jobs paying higher than the average Social Work salary!What to do when you don't want to be a social worker anymore? ›
- High school teacher.
- Probation officer.
- Community manager.
- Mental health counselor.
- Human resources manager.
Social workers must have a degree in social work (BA), or master's degree in social work. A master's degree is a two-year-long postgraduate course for those with a degree in a different subject. Some universities offer part-time studying. Experience is an important part of social work qualifications.What degrees are close to social work? ›
Some social service related pathways may be represented a variety of academic disciplines, including social work degrees and other degrees related to social work, such as counseling and mental health degree programs, and public health education programs.Is a social work degree useful? ›
Majoring in social work may open up a range of opportunities, from community to individual care. If you envision yourself aiding clients through difficult life circumstances, assessing policies and programs, or providing mental health services, studying social work may be the next step for you.Why are people leaving social work? ›
"Workers are leaving the profession in droves due to excessive paperwork, too high caseloads, ridiculously complicated procedures, constant changes in procedures, cultures of bullying, poor management and lack of funding and resources to arrange services for the people they are meant to be supporting.Why are social workers leaving? ›
Unacceptable levels of pressure on social work teams will end up costing lives. Excessive workloads, high stress levels and low morale are rife among social workers who are at breaking point, according to a new report published today (Monday) by UNISON.Is social work a difficult degree? ›
Earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) poses unique challenges, however. The curriculum is not only academically challenging but also emotionally draining. Finances can present a problem because unlike, say, a JD or MBA student, you're not likely to start earning a fortune the moment you receive your degree.Is Bachelor of Social Work a degree? ›
Social Work The BA Social Work is a four-year professional degree programme. Social workers work in various fields of service such as community development, child protection, child and family welfare, youth programmes, disability, health, education, the workplace, and social policy development.What is the difference between BSW and MSW? ›
A BSW focuses on generalist foundational studies in social work. It prepares you to work with individuals, families, and community organizations. An MSW is an advanced degree that prepares you for clinical practice. An MSW is the minimum education level required to become a LCSW.
Writing is a key part of the job; social workers frequently write documents such as assessment reports, case notes, letters, emails, and support plans. Often, social workers are responsible for procuring and providing services for clients, and their writing skills must be strong to enable the best support possible.Are social workers in demand? ›
Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.Is social work a good career 2022? ›
Social Workers In Health Care
This is to be expected in the healthcare industry, where business is booming. Healthcare social worker demand is estimated to grow 27 percent faster than average between 2012 and 2022, which will lead to an estimated creation of around 39,200 new medical social worker jobs.