/
Social Worker

Social Worker

Person Icon
The People Person
Thumbs Up Icon
The Persuader

Spotlights

Similar Titles

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Caseworker, Case Manager

Job Description

Social workers work with people who have been socially excluded or who are experiencing crisis. Their role is to provide support and resources to enable clients to help themselves. They can work in their local community and internationally.

Types of Social Workers
  • Direct-Service:
    • Family Social worker
    • Child Protective Services Social Worker
    • School Social Worker
    • Foster Care Social Worker
  • Clinical
    • Health Care Social Worker
    • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker
Rewarding Aspects of Career

“My strength in social work is to identify the strength in people. It's rewarding to see really vulnerable, under-privileged, or under-resourced people realize their potential and realize they are innately good at things and they will not be oppressed their whole life. It can be so difficult for people to look past tomorrow with all the struggles hanging over their head, but once you start helping people see their potential again, they can begin to think about the future, set goals, and to dream. That is the ultimate reward, seeing the tenacity and strength come back alive in someone.” Amy Collins, Social Worker

The Inside Scoop
Day in the Life
  • A Case Manager will have a caseload of up to 5 people a day.
  • Conducts interviews with clients and their families to assess and review their situation.
  • Provides clients with resources such as:
    • Research and refer clients to community resources.
    • Legal services, healthcare, food, clothing, vocational services.
    •  Assist them in applying for housing.
    • Setting them up with counseling.
  • After working with each client there is paper work and record keeping assessing where their client is at and what actions to take in the future.
Skills Needed on the Job
  • Empathy (the heart for trying to understand) NOT sympathy
  • Ability to be flexible
  • Learning to compartmentalize
  • Active listener
  • Problem solving: taking a problem and figuring out multiple different solutions based on your knowledge of the community or person you are working with.
  • Personable
  • Intuition: ability to sense situations before they escalate.
  • A good listener
Organization Types
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
    • Mental health clinic
    • Hospital
    • Private-Practice
    • Schools
  • Social Worker (Domestic)
    • Homeless shelter
    • Human Resources at any business
    • Non-profit organizations
  • Social Worker (International – policy, programming)
    • Non-profit organizations/NGO
    • Government Organization
  • PhD in Social Work
    • University
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • Requires an investment of your time that requires a passion to want to better people’s lives and mental health status. This does not always get done during a 9am - 5pm workday. There will be long hours required.
  • Must learn to compartmentalize and set boundaries between your home and work life.
  • “Self care” is a term often used in the social services field meaning you must make it a priority to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally because you can not help others if you aren’t taking care of your self.
    • Go to therapy.
    • Have a mentor.
    • Take time off work if possible to avoid getting burnt out.
What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were young...
  • Often played the role as problem solver or mediator between friends.
  • The friend everyone would go to for advice or because they were an un-biased, good listener.
  • Valued authentic relationships.
2016 Employment
682,100
2026 Projected Employment
791,800
Education Needed
  • Direct-Service:
    • Bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is the most common. Some employers may hire workers who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology.
    • Some positions, including those in schools and in healthcare, frequently require a master’s degree in social work (MSW).
  • Clinical:
    • Master’s degree in social work (MSW) is required, 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience
    • Take licensing exam and get licensed.
    • Each state has different requirements. Go to Association of Social Work Boards for more information.
Things to do in High School and College
  • Volunteer: Spend a few hours a week tutoring, reading, serving, or just talking to people. It’s a great way to not only explore the field first hand, but also to start making a difference.
    • After school program
    • Homeless shelter
    • Scouts
  • Take psychology, history, and/or economic classes in school.
  • Missionary/missions work.
Education Stats
  • 8.7% with HS Diploma
  • 6.8% with Associate’s
  • 33.7% with Bachelor’s
  • 32.9% with Master’s
  • 2.9% with Doctoral

(% of employees aged 25 to 44 in the occupation whose highest level of educational attainment is)

How to Land your 1st job
  • Intern where you want to work: offer your time for free during college.
  • Participate in school career events:
    • Career fairs
    • In-school and summer Internships that could turn into paying jobs.
    • Network while you are in school.
    • Informational interviews
    • Research what you want to do and begin applying in your field of interest.
How to stay in the game
  • Stay on top of new developments in the field, go to seminars, and continue educating yourself after you have completed your schooling.
  • Self-Care
  • It is not about competing with other social workers, but to better yourself so you can continue to best serve people.
  • Be idealistic but stay grounded.
Recommended Tools/Resources
Plan B

Alternate careers with or without more education: Psychologist, School and/or Career Counselor, Anthropologist, Sociologist, Probation/Corrections Officer, Lawyer, Lobbyist

Newsfeed

Jobs by
Source: Interview, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Courses and Tools