Social workers are committed to helping people lead more fulfilling lives. Individuals they interact with on a daily basis can be going through drug addiction, marital abuse, or suffering from disabilities. They act as a voice for those who cannot speak and a face for those who are marginalized. The ultimate goal of any social worker is to make a difference in society.
If you have an empathic nature and find it satisfying to help others, working in the field of social work could be your best career choice. Besides providing you with a rewarding career, it allows you to express your compassion as well as learn and grow as a person.
Choosing a career in social work may seem overwhelming since there is such a wide range of choices. To help you make a sound decision, this article summarizes the most popular advanced-level specializations you can pursue.
How to begin your career in Social Work?
All entry or advanced-level specialties in social work require a degree in social work. Getting a bachelor’s degree is the first step. If you have a bachelor’s degree received from an accredited institution, you can work at an entry-level position. Next, you can apply for a Masters in Social Work online program in the specialization of your choice. The online program is your opportunity to look for practical experience and pursue your degree simultaneously since fieldwork hours are the next step in the social work career ladder. You could become involved with an NGO and learn how social workers assist families when they face adversity. Last but not the least, you must obtain a Social Services license in your state, which requires you to complete two years of supervised experience after your master’s degree.
A primary aspect of social work is the availability of career opportunities both in the public and private sectors. Social workers can work in educational institutions, hospitals, government departments, with NGOs, and any setting where humanitarian work is required. Despite the differences in sectors and jobs, one thing remains the same: a desire to change the world for the better.
- Clinical Social Workers
Clinical social workers provide individual and family therapy, client-centered advocacy, psychotherapy, and counseling. Some states even allow them to diagnose and treat patients with mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. Social workers can also help patients to overcome behavioral and emotional problems.
A clinical social worker must have a master’s degree in this field, two years of clinical experience under a supervisor, and a valid state license. There is the possibility of working in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or starting a private practice. As listed by PayScale.com, clinical social workers can earn an average annual salary of $59,548.
- Social and community service manager
Social and community service managers collaborate with the community representative to devise and deliver programs geared towards the betterment of the community. In many cases, they will need to write proposals for grants and sponsorships from other organizations. Thus, having a solid command of written and verbal communication skills is crucial to the job. In addition, community service managers also serve as administrators and monitor the success of outreach programs.
Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for this specialization. However, a master’s degree might help you land a job in your preferred area of expertise.
The annual median salary of a Social and community service manager, according to BLS, is $69,600 per year. The specialization also offers a job outlook of 15%, faster than the average.
- Social work teachers in higher learning institutions
The teaching profession is another career option for those with a master’s degree in social work. However, some institutions of higher learning may prefer a doctorate.
Colleges and universities also hire graduates to deliver lectures on part-time contracts or to hold tenured positions. In addition to teaching, some people also perform research. The skills required to perform this job include analytical skills, communication skills, and research ability.
The annual average salary of a social work teacher at a four-year higher-learning institution is $78,320.
- School social workers
School social workers are trained mental health specialists working with children in elementary and primary schools. They help kids with their behavior (social withdrawal, overaggressiveness, absenteeism, rebelliousness), academic, and emotional issues. In order to address the kid’s issues, they discuss them with the kid’s parents and teachers. In addition, school social workers work on issues related to child protection and collaborate with different agencies on these and other matters.
Most licensed school social workers have a master’s degree, but specific requirements can vary depending on the state. According to Payscale, the median annual salary of a school social worker is $49,541.
- Child Welfare Services
Children who have been the victims of child abuse, neglect, physical violence get help frm Child Welfare Social Workers. They possess the knowledge needed to properly care for kids, infants, and families.
Child welfare social workers may as well work in adoption agencies to assist families in the adoption process. In addition, they oversee the placement of children in foster care and check on the status of those children on an ongoing basis.
Professionals with a bachelor’s degree are eligible for an entry-level position; however, for advanced roles in this career, a master’s degree is necessary. School social workers have good communication skills, problem-solving abilities, time management, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence to perform their job efficiently. During the course of their work, they may encounter a variety of sensitive issues, so it is important that they remain calm, control their anger, and remain emotionally stable in all situations.
According to the recent data in November 2021, the average yearly income of a child welfare social worker is $56,874.
Social work is a broad field that allows social workers to choose from various specialties. One specialization may have a different name than another, but their roles often overlap. Moreover, the role of a social worker in every specialty is to solve problems in other people’s lives and make sure everyone receives the help they need.
Social workers have the opportunity to earn a living by helping others. An average social worker can make $51,760 per year, but their salary can vary greatly depending on where they work.