Five Popular Careers in Social Work

People looking to make a positive difference in the world will find that a career in social work is very rewarding. Furthermore, it is a broad field that includes a vast array of work settings and job duties. Social workers can make their mark in healthcare, government, education, and several other fields. A Master’s of Social Work degree demonstrates that you have the skills as well as the compassion and dedication to be a leader in this diverse field.

Here are five of the most popular career paths you might be interested in after graduation:

  1. School Social Worker

    Many social workers take great pride in their ability to shape a new generation and maximize the potential of today’s students. These social workers help students at all levels and of all types handle the pressures and difficulties associated with growing up and succeeding in school, from bullying concerns to learning issues and other problems students may be experiencing. They understand that a child’s future is not merely determined in the classroom, but also at home and in the community. They work with other educational professionals to provide children with strong, yet sensitive support. Ultimately, school social workers help students and their families successfully navigate elementary, middle and high school life.

  2. Public Health

    Public health social workers focus on individuals and families residing in poverty-stricken and otherwise needy communities. Although these social workers typically focus on individual cases, their overarching goal is to improve the health and well-being of the entire community. According to Social Work Today (2009), public health social workers are well suited for a multitude of positions, including:

    • Program Directors
    • Community Services Administrators
    • Policy Analysts
    • Maternal/Child Health Advocates
    • Disaster Response Workers
    • Trauma Intervention Advocates
    • Substance Abuse Advocates

    A bachelor’s degree is often sufficient for entry into this area of social work, but a Master’s of Social Work from Rutgers can further expand your professional opportunities, while also improving your earning potential.

  3. Child Welfare

    Despite the best of efforts, some children cannot be fully reached through school-based social services programs. If a child’s life is impacted by domestic violence or substance abuse in the family, the assistance of a child welfare social worker may prove necessary. These problems may be signaled by poor performance at school or in other activities. By recognizing indicators and intervening at a young age, these social workers can provide the care and compassion children need to escape harmful cycles.

  4. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Work

    An important subset of medical social work, mental health social work often involves long days in psychiatry wards and treatment centers. Patients suffering from mental disorders and addiction may require access to counseling, sober housing, and group therapy programs. Poverty is common among those with mental health issues, so a social worker may be needed to coordinate not only a medical treatment plan but also strategies for finding work and housing.

  5. Social Work Administration

    Social workers are often thought of as working at the micro level and improving society one client at a time. Some social workers, however, are better suited to looking at the bigger picture and working with others to develop broad solutions. Instead of focusing on a single client or a group of individuals, social work administrators oversee operations for charities, home healthcare agencies, and a variety of other human services organizations.

Whether your interests and abilities lie in healthcare, education, or administration, there is a social work job that aligns with your unique talents. It is up to you to find that job and to use your MSW from Rutgers to make a difference in underserved communities.