Are you looking for a career that is rewarding yet challenging? Do you want to contribute to society by helping people overcome difficulties and improve their lives? Social work is an exciting career area that is highly related to psychology. While many people who work in this field start by earning an undergraduate degree in social work before moving on to graduate school, some psychology majors opt to switch to a social work master's program after earning their degrees.
So what exactly is a social worker? These mental health professionals help people with a wide range of issues, including psychological, financial, health, relationship, and substance abuse problems. Learn more about what social workers do, the educational requirements, and the projected job outlook for the field.
Fast Facts About Social Workers:
- Social workers held approximately 595, 000 job in 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Social workers are employed in a variety of settings, including hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, nonprofit agencies, and government offices.
What Do Social Workers Do?:
The field of social work utilizes social theories to understand human problems, to help improve people's lives, and to improve society as a whole. Many who work in this field specialize in particular areas, such as helping children, assisting those life-threatening problems, or aiding people in overcoming addictions.
- Act as advocates for their clients
- Educate clients and teach them new skills
- Link clients to essential resources within the community
- Protect vulnerable clients and ensure that their best interests are observed
- Counsel clients who need support and assistance
- Research social problems to look for remedies
Where Do They Work?:
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, five out of every ten social workers are employed in the health care and social assistance sectors. This might include hospitals, mental health clinics, and private practices.
Another three out of every ten social workers are employed by government agencies at the state and local levels. Professionals who work in government positions might conduct child welfare assessments, help individuals in need of public assistance, and work with people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.
How Much Do Social Workers Earn?:
Salaries can vary based on various factors, including geographic location, educational background, and specialty area. According to the National Association of Social Workers , those just starting out in their career with an undergraduate degree in social work earn around $30, 000 per year. Those with a master's degree typically average around $40, 000 to $50, 000 depending upon experience.
- Child, Family and School Social Workers: $37, 480
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers: $35, 410
- Medical and Public Health Social Workers: $43, 040