No two social workers are exactly the same, and no two people with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree do the same thing. All, however, solve family and personal problems, navigate relationships, and help people to manage their issues and daily lives. A quick look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics‘s postings on community and social services will show you just how complex the field of social work actually is, and how many opportunities are out there.
1. Substance Abuse Counseling
Help people with addiction problems.
2. Marriage and Family Therapy
You do need to be licensed through the
AAMFT – Marriage and Family Therapists in order to take on this role and help improve marriages and family relationships.
3. Clinical Social Work
Be an advocate for patients, ensuring they can find and access the treatment they need for their problems.
4. Healthcare Social Work
Provide psychological and social support to those who are dealing with chronic, acute, and terminal illnesses.
5. School Counseling
Deliver services to ensure students become tomorrow’s well-adjusted adults.
6. Medical Social Work
Review how your patients function on a psychosocial basis and provide interventions as and when necessary.
7. Community Program Administration
Head nonprofit organizations, or programs for social services, in order to serve a targeted demographic or community.
8. Social Work Teaching
Study on towards a doctorate degree if you want to become a social work teacher, particularly at university levels. However, you may be able to find employment at community or vocational colleges, teaching short courses in social work, or relating to it.
9. Child Welfare Case Work
Work closely together with children who have been or are neglected, abused, or who suffer from homelessness or poverty.
10. Clinical Mental Health Social Work
Help in the treatment of illnesses and mental disorders. You will usually have to be certified as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to take on this role.
11. Children at Risk Social Work
Manage children either before it gets to the point that they need the CPS, or you will help them deal with the aftermath of CPS involvement.
12. Clinical Therapeutic Services
Provide therapy and counseling, or signpost to it, to resolve emotional and psychosocial problems.
13. Criminal Justice and Corrections Services
Provide behavioral rehabilitation, as well as therapy and counseling to offenders, those on parole, and young offenders.
14. Community Development
Develop and plan community programs that aim to improve the lives of specific population groups.
15. Political Services
Become involved in politics and try to advocate for clients from inside the system itself.
16. Business Social Work
Be an advocate for improving employee benefits and access to services.
17. Developmental Disability Social Work
Be the voice for people with developmental disabilities, regardless of their age or type of disability.
18. Adult Social Care
Work together with vulnerable adults who may be in poverty, have substance abuse problems, have mental illnesses or development disabilities, and so on.
19. Gerontology Social Work
Work specifically with a group of adults who are in need of gerontological services.
20. Public Welfare Social Work
Work in homeless agencies, veteran’s agencies, and private and sectarian agencies, to provide support, develop programs, and be an advocate for people in need, be they homeless, juvenile, elderly, ill, and/or disabled.
21. End of Life Social Work
Support people who are at the end stages of life, making sure that they can pass away with dignity and care.
22. Social Service Advising
Move out of direct social services roles and to take on a more advisory role, mentoring new social workers taking on their old role.
23. Adolescent Specialist
Guide adolescents through issues with schooling, families, and peers, signposting and referring them to relevant other services, in order to resolve these problems.
24. Adoption Specialist
Be responsible for the welfare of a child awaiting adoption and to help find an adoptive family.
25. Cardiovascular Social Work
Usually, you will need to be a licensed clinical social worker for this role, after which you should complete further training in cardiovascular services. People who have cardiovascular problems often have to make significant and complex life changes, and you can guide them through this, while at the same time making sure they are aware of services around them.
26. Community Support Specialist
Be aware of all the different services that exist in the community for different demographics, and then coordinate the delivery of these services and make sure your clients know where to go for help.
27. Employee Assistance Counseling
Work within an organization’s employee assistance program to deal with various life issues that may impact work performance.
28. Family Advocacy Representation
Work for a specific community service that relates to the family unit.
29. Family Preservation Services
Work for a faith-based organization to make sure the family unit is preserved at all costs.
30. Foster Care Therapy
Work with children placed into foster care, as well as with the foster carers, providing training and advice.
31. Guidance Counseling
Providing young people in schools with guidance on their future academic career.
32. HIV Mental Health Coordination
Bring together the various services that support the mental health of patients with HIV/AIDS, thereby ensuring their overall quality of life is improved.
33. Pediatric Social Work
Work with families who have children with a range of problems, often highly premature babies.
34. Psychiatric Social Work
Work in psychiatric hospitals and wards to support the welfare of patients and to help them reintegrated into the community.
35. Daycare Provider
A popular career move for social workers approaching retirement and who want to be involved in the happier side of children’s lives, providing care and attention while parents work.
36. Hospice Social Work
Provide services, such as end of life care to those entering a hospice, as well as support their loved ones to cope with the upcoming loss.
37. Prison Social Work
Work with correctional facilities to address the needs of individual prisoners in an effort to help them rehabilitate once they return to the community.
38. Military Social Work
Provide services to active duty personal and veterans, as well as their families, to help them integrate into civilian life, or to help them manage the trauma they may have experienced in the line of duty.
39. Vocational Rehabilitation Social Work
Help people who have been long term unemployed to find new work and new career opportunities, often by encouraging them to attend training.
40. Homelessness Social Work
Work specifically with homeless populations in an effort to help them maintain their dignity and overall welfare and, eventually supporting them to transition back into housing.
41. Domestic Violence Social Work
Work specifically with the perpetrators and victims of domestic violence in an effort to reduce incidences and to help people rebuild their lives.
42. Suicide Prevention
A very intensive field of work, usually offered through charitable organizations such as the Samaritans, where you will aim to reduce incidents of suicide attempts, either through direct contact or through signposting to other services.
43. Native American Social Work
Work specifically with Native American population groups on the unique issues and challenges that they face.
44. Veterans Addiction Social Work
Work specifically with veterans who suffer from substance abuse problems, which is very common. Addicted veterans are also more likely to become homeless.
45. Family Court Social Work
You will generally be court ordered to support a family who have gone through divorce or other proceedings, ensuring they abide by the court appointed rules and that the unit as a whole, but particularly any vulnerable people within the unit, are properly supported.
46. Group Counselor
Often found in inpatient and outpatient rehab facilities, you will encourage group debate to increase awareness of addiction situations among patients themselves.
47. VA Supported Housing Work
Veterans are entitled to supported housing, but they often require additional support due to the nature of their particular mental health issues. This may include budgeting training, mental health counseling, and addiction treatment.
48. Police Department Social Work
Work with a police station, where your clients can be wide and varying, depending on the type of crime they have been exposed to. Being emphatic and caring are core requirements of this job.
49. Athletic Club Social Work
These roles are often required in clubs with professional players, or leading up to professional players. You will ensure that all needs are met, despite the competitive environment.
50. Naval Social Work
Work directly with naval personnel, who could be the U.S. Navy, the merchant navy, the SEALS, as well as anyone who is entitled to mental health assistance.
As you can see, the field of social work is incredibly vast and this is truly just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to become a social worker, make sure you have a general idea of where you would like to go before you complete your campus or Online MSW degree. That way, you will be able to align yourself better with your overall education.