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Getting a Master’s in Social Work? Learn the Top Career Tracks

Career Advice

Posted by Saint Leo University Online on Dec 4, 2017 1:52:39 PM

A social worker assisting a familySocial work is an amazing field to enter. Not only is the psychology behind human behavior absolutely fascinating, but the ability to spend your days helping people overcome some of the biggest obstacles of their lives can be extremely rewarding, to say the least.

Plus, you can work in any variety of settings with any number of populations. You can spend your days helping seniors, children, men, or women. You get to work directly with people who have mental health differences or physical differences, individuals struggling with an addiction or those trying to come to terms with a medical diagnosis. There really is no end to the type of people you can help as a master’s-level social worker.

This enables you to choose where you want to work and whom you want to work with. It also gives you the opportunity to choose the individuals you want to help most – the ones who hold a special place in your heart because you’ve been there yourself, had family members or friends touched by this issue, or simply because that’s where your passion lies.

It’s also a great time to join this particular career track.

Social Work is a Growing Field

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social work jobs are expected to grow 15% by the year 2026. The BLS indicates that this rate is “much faster” than the average growth rate for all other occupations combined, which is closer to 7%.

Additionally, median pay for individuals working in a social work capacity is $46,890 per year, or roughly $22.54 per hour. For those working in hospitals, this rate is slightly higher, at $57,650 annually. It’s also increased for social workers employed by local governments who come in closer to $52,370 a year.

What types of careers can you enjoy with a master’s degree in social work? There are many to consider.

Public Health Social Work Careers

If your passion for helping others lies in the public health sector, there are a variety of higher-level social work positions you can fill. Each one serves an important role for members of the local community, providing services ranging from assistance with overcoming drug addiction to teaching clients how to effectively manage mental health issues, and more.

Working in public health may mean that you’ll work at a government office, in a state- or federally-run facility (like a jail or prison), or for some other type of government-run entity. Individuals working in master’s-level social work positions in public health may have the following titles:

  • Mental health social worker
  • Community social worker
  • Prison social worker
  • Correctional social worker
  • Housing & community development director

Working with Younger Generations

Maybe what really inspires you is working with children or young adults. You see what a difference it makes when you can help them figure out how to overcome the obstacles placed in their paths, when you can help give them the best chance possible to grow into the wonderful and amazing adults you know that they can be.

Some positions that involve serving this younger generation are within public agencies as well, whereas others involve working for private entities and organizations related to family services. Individuals in these master’s degree social work roles often have titles such as:

  • Child Welfare Caseworker
  • School Social Worker
  • Family Social Worker
  • Professor of Social Work

Serving Special Populations

When you choose a higher-level career in social work, you’re also able to work with different groups of people who, collectively, have special issues they need help learning how to cope with, better manage, or even overcome.

This includes individuals who are facing a severe medical condition, yet are still struggling to cope with the new diagnosis. It is also our military veterans who are returning home with issues related to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or those who are facing addiction due to issues related to mental health, physical concerns, or family situations.

Master’s-level graduates working in these types of social work roles often hold these titles:

  • Medical social worker
  • Medical discharge planner
  • Healthcare social worker
  • Military social worker
  • Veteran’s Affairs (VA) social worker
  • Substance abuse counselor

Administrative Social Work Roles

Sometimes individuals enter the field of social work because they want to affect change on a larger level. They feel energized when they take a cause from start to finish, working to alter the way society views a particular situation or the way the law addresses it.

If this is the path that interests you, an administrative-type of social work role may be what satisfies you most. These are roles that, instead of working directly one-on-one with a client, you’re working with other area leaders to create a better world.

Individuals working in these roles generally have job titles such as:

  • Social work administrator
  • Clinical coordinator
  • Social science researcher
  • Governmental planner
  • Public policy analyst

Business-Related Social Work Positions

If you want to work in a social work capacity for companies, you can do that too. In this type of position, you may be tasked with helping the company’s leaders create policies and procedures that fully support the rights of their employees, in addition to being in line with the laws. Issues you may help them address include how to deal with bullying in the workplace, sexual harassment, and other related issues.

Social work-related careers in this field include positions like:

  • Director of corporate social responsibility
  • Employee assistance program counselor
  • Executive director
  • Director of development
  • Program evaluator

Private Practice

Of course, you can always go into private practice with a master’s degree in social work, too. This enables you to open your own office and serve the people you want to help most.

Saint Leo’s Master of Social Work Program

Regardless of which route you choose, Saint Leo University is here to help. With our Master of Social Work program, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to succeed in whichever social work career track interests you most. Contact us today to learn more about how to make your dream of helping others a reality.

Topics: Social Work, Career Advice

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