What Can You Do With a Social Work Degree?

by
Education Writer

Last Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Students study social work because they want to help people, and there are so many different career paths you can take with this major. Many people simply want to find a job where they can make a difference, and a degree in Social Work can do just that.  

The field can take you in various directions. Depending on the classes you gravitate toward the most, you may already have an idea of the best Social Work concentration for you.  If you enjoy family sociology, child psychology, or social psychology, you’ll likely do well working with families and kids. On the other hand, if you gravitate more toward legal advocacy and systemic structures, you’re likely to enjoy managerial positions. There’s a world of opportunity in social work, no matter your specialty or job strengths. If you haven't discovered your dream job yet, something on this list of careers in might just catch your eye.

Child Protective Services worker

If you're interested in working with children and families, Child Protective Services might be your calling. Social workers in this career help kids in dangerous or risky situations and work with families to ensure their safety. While this job may be challenging, it can also be extremely rewarding when you make a difference in children’s lives. 

Here are some stats on this career choice:

  • Job outlook: The employment of child, family, and school social workers is expected to grow 7% within the decade.
  • Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in Social Work or Psychology is usually required, though many states call for a comparable master’s degree as well.
  • Average salary: The typical salary for a social worker is $47,390 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Related: Psychology Majors and Potential Jobs

Hospice social worker

Hospice social workers' jobs primarily focus on supporting those who are dying as well as their families and loved ones. If you're interested in assisting people experiencing grief and helping people feel more comfortable during their final days, hospice social work may be the right choice for you. 

Job stats for the average hospice social worker include:

  • Job outlook: Hospice social work and related hospice care is expected to grow 23% from 2012 to 2022.
  • Requirements: Most states require a master’s degree in Social Work or Psychology as well as licensing, though this varies from job to job.
  • Average salary: The average salary for a hospice social worker is $46,470 for those working in skilled nursing facilities.

Special education mediator

Mediation has an 85% success rate with parent-school disputes for special education students. It's a highly efficient and helpful job. Essentially, mediators assist in communication between parties—parents, teachers, and students—so everyone can feel seen and heard. In special education, this often means advocating for students and getting the quality education and services they need to learn their best.

To be a meditator, here are some aspects to be aware of:

  • Job outlook: Mediation and other related jobs are expected to grow 8% by 2028.
  • Requirements: Most positions require a relevant Social Work bachelor’s degree, but some also ask for additional graduate education and a certification in Mediation; this varies from job to job. Relevant experience in mediation also helps.
  • Average salary: The average salary for special education positions and related jobs was $65,350 in 2019.

Case manager

Case managers are like social workers, but they fulfill different needs within the systems they serve. Case managers coordinate care for clients, and their job is about making sure the client's needs are being met. They don't provide therapy or counseling like social workers do. Instead, they conduct interviews and connect people with the services and resources they need. 

Check out the outlook, salary, and requirements for this job:

  • Job outlook: Case management and related jobs are expected to grow 13% in the next decade.
  • Requirements: Case manager roles require a bachelor’s degree and a certification in Case Management; some positions may also require a master’s degree.
  • Average salary: The average salary for this position is $67,150 a year.

Related: Social Sciences and Humanities Majors and Potential Jobs

Health manager

Health managers work within health care facilities and systems to coordinate care and oversee that the operations of providers and departments are running smoothly and efficiently. Health management is essentially about making sure other care workers do their best so individuals can access the care they need from a well-supported staff.

If you’re looking to be a health manager, here’s what to expect:

  • Job outlook: Health management jobs are expected to grow 18% by 2028.
  • Requirements: A bachelor’s degree is required for the role, but many employers prefer a master’s as well. It’s also usually preferable to have experience working in a hospital or health care environment.
  • Average salary: The average salary for a health manager is $100,980.

Director of social services

Directors of social services often work within facilities, health care centers, or other systems to make sure everyone is getting their needs met and that the best care possible is being provided. This often means overseeing and coordinating operations and advocating for residents and clients.

Anyone looking for a social services director job will benefit from these career stats:

  • Job outlook: Direction, management, and related jobs are expected to grow 13% in the next decade.
  • Requirements: Most positions require a master’s degree as well as relevant experience in social services.
  • Average salary: Social services directors earn around $57,014 a year, according to Indeed.

Related: List: Where Social Sciences PhDs Received Their Undergraduate Degrees

Jobs for Social Work majors

There are many types of social work jobs you can pursue. All jobs in this field involve helping others, working with and striving to provide care for those who need it. No matter what you do, you'll find a way to use your degree to the fullest while cultivating your passions and utilizing your skills for the greater good. It's all about finding your direction and going for it.

For more advice on finding the career that’s right for you, check out our Internships and Careers section.

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