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Social Work: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Public Welfare

  • Administration and planning
  • Case management
  • Program evaluation
  • Policy setting
  • Research

Employers

  • Public welfare agencies
  • Private social service agencies

Information & Strategies

Public welfare is designed to provide support for poor, disabled, ill, elderly, or juvenile clients.
  • Volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, battered women homes, literacy programs, literacy programs, or other social service agencies to gain relevant experience and demonstrate interest.

Criminal Justice/Corrections

  • Counseling/Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Youth services
  • Victim assistance

Employers

  • Prisons and correctional facilities
  • Courts
  • Police departments
  • Probation and parole offices
  • Victim services organizations

Information & Strategies

Social workers in corrections focus on rehabilitation of clients.
  • Obtain experience by volunteering at a corrections facility or a victim services organization such as a rape crisis center.

School Social Work

  • Clinical social work
  • Pupil personnel services
  • Student advocacy
  • Instruction

Employers

  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • School districts
  • Head Start centers
  • Early-intervention programs

Information & Strategies

School systems may employ social workers to help students cope with and resolve emotional, developmental, or educational difficulties.
  • Gain experience with children at daycare centers, camps, or scouts.

Child Welfare

  • Case management
  • Advocacy
  • Service coordination

Employers

  • Public or private child welfare agencies
  • Adoption agencies
  • Foster care organizations
  • Child daycare

Information & Strategies

Child welfare workers strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children through treatment of the whole family.
  • Volunteer at daycare centers, children's shelters, camps, YMCA/YWCA, scouts, or other agencies that aid youth and children.

Gerontology

  • Advocacy/Intervention
  • Counseling
  • Case management
  • Programming
  • Public policy

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Senior centers
  • Assisted living
  • Hospice

Information & Strategies

Gerontology involves working with older adults, healthy or ill, and their families.
  • Get involved with programs or organizations designed for senior citizens.

Clinical

  • Counseling
  • Therapy

Employers

  • Community mental health centers
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Residential and day treatment hospitals
  • Employment assistance programs
  • Schools
  • Family service agencies
  • Private practice

Information & Strategies

Clinical social workers are found in a variety of settings that provide therapeutic counseling to clients.
  • Master of social work (MSW) is required.

Administration

  • Management
  • Policy development
  • Planning

Employers

  • Family service agencies
  • Child welfare departments
  • Social service agencies
  • State mental health departments
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Probation departments
  • Public welfare agencies
  • Public interest groups
  • Local, state, and federal government

Information & Strategies

Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, marketing, supervising, operations management, fundraising, and other crucial responsibilities that keep an organization functioning.
  • Obtain an MSW and gain management experience.

Research and Education

  • Research
  • Teaching

Employers

  • Universities and colleges
  • Research institutes
  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Advocacy organizations

Information & Strategies

Research provides data and statistics important in program implementation and policy development.
  • Doctor of social work (DSW) or PhD usually required.

Occupational

  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Wellness promotion
  • Employee assistance
  • Organizational development
  • Human resources

Employers

  • Businesses
  • Corporations
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Labor unions

Information & Strategies

Occupational social workers help employees to be more productive and satisfied.

    Developmental Disabilities

    • Case management
    • Program planning and evaluation
    • Research
    • Policy development

    Employers

    • Community residential homes
    • State and local agencies
    • Medical facilities
    • Schools

    Information & Strategies

    Social workers in this area help people with disabilities to adjust to and lead productive lives.
    • Volunteer at special needs camps, childcare centers, schools, or hospitals to gain experience.

    Healthcare

    • Case management
    • Counseling
    • Program development
    • Administration
    • Research

    Employers

    • Hospitals
    • Community health centers
    • Outpatient clinics
    • Public health programs
    • Health maintenance organizations (HMO's)
    • Nursing homes
    • Group homes
    • Hospice
    • Veterans Administration hospitals

    Information & Strategies

    Social workers in healthcare facilitate the medical and emotional treatment of patients.
    • Choose volunteer settings such as hospitals, the American Red Cross, or AIDS agencies to gain experience.

    Community Organization

    • Program and Community Development
    • Advocacy
    • Politics
    • Education
    • Planning

    Employers

    • Advocacy organizations
    • Development corporations
    • Community centers
    • Local, state, and federal government
    • Associations

    Information & Strategies

    Social workers in this area work with existing organizations to improve conditions for specific groups, enhance quality of living, and involve community members in the political process.
    • Get involved with grassroots causes and community agencies.

    General Information

    • Bachelor of social work (BSW) prepares individuals for entry-level direct practice.
    • Master of social work (MSW) is necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions.
    • Doctorate in social work (DSW) or PhD usually required for positions in teaching, research, and administration. Desirable for some clinical positions and private practice.
    • Complete a degree from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Programs include practical field experience.
    • Most states require licensure, certification, or registration.
    • The field practicum is used to determine suitability for this profession and to provide exposure to various practice settings and clients.
    • Candidates should possess empathy for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an interest in social change.
    • Social workers serve a range of client systems (individuals, families, groups, communities) as they attempt to enhance social functioning.
    • Social work is unique given its dual focus on the person and the environment.
    • Note: Much of this information was adapted from Choices: Careers in Social Work by the National Association of Social Workers.
    Download a PDF of this chart for easy printing.

    Seminary Families