Social Work Careers

Your career in Social Work starts here:

Whether you are looking to start a career in a human services field or advance your social work education to take on more responsibility, there is a lot of opportunity in this field for you to impact your career with a social work degree. Social work is constantly evolving, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is growing at a rate of 9 percent a year, faster than the average of most careers. Whether you are interested in working with children, working in advocacy, on hunger and housing, equity, diversity, or many of the other areas that a social work career can touch, there is room for you on a social work team.


Beyond the Degree

Someone interested in a social work career must be committed to being a lifelong learner. For licensure, continuing education is a requirement, but there are also so many things that can change and improve that you will need to stay up on these changes through more education, conferences, and networking to stay at the top of your field.


Top Careers

The wonderful thing about a career in social work is that there is something for everyone. If you are introverted or extroverted, want to work directly with clients or in a big organization, be hands-on or work more on policy, you can do this in the field of social work.

Be a part of the Social Work team

There are usually multiple people involved in managing cases that come through a social work office. If you are a Clinical Social Worker, then you may work with doctors and nurses. If you work in Child Welfare, then you may work with attorneys, clients, parents and even police. In larger metropolitan areas you may have multiple teams and case managers within the same office, while in rural areas you may handle more on your own. A job in the social work field is varied, challenging, and important to communities and families.


An Essential Career

A career in social work can bring you in a wide cross-section of any community. As a social worker, you are a key part of many essential functions of government, schools, healthcare facilities, homes, and communities. You’ll provide essential support to people who need it the most. This guide will explore many specific social work careers and help you decide on which is the best fit for you.

Find your ideal Social Work career

Working with children to advocate for their welfare, assisting elders to make sure they are cared for at their final stages of life, working in corrections or with the military – these are all areas you can enter as a licensed social worker to make an impact. Your course of study will vary based on how you want to work in social work – this is called macro, mezzo and micro-level social work.

Forensic Social Worker

A forensic social worker applies social work to questions in the context of the law and the legal system.

Military Social Worker

A military social worker works with family members, veterans, and active duty military members in a capacity to provide counseling and services.

Child Social Worker

A child social worker works with a family and the community they live in, including work and school, to provide a safe place for children to grow and thrive.

Hospice Social Worker

A hospice social worker is a licensed professional who works with families and patients as they make difficult decisions regarding end-of-life care.

Social Worker

A social worker helps people to straighten out their lives if they encounter challenges or obstacles. They may help individuals or families. 

Mental Health Social Worker

A mental health social worker may lead groups or work with individuals to help them overcome mental health issues and deal with challenges.

Geriatric Social Worker

A mental health social worker may lead groups or work with individuals to help them overcome mental health issues and deal with challenges.

Medical Social Worker

A medical social worker works in healthcare settings and supports other healthcare professionals to care for clients.

School Social Worker

Whether you’re already a social worker or want to get into the field, one position that might be of interest to you is a school social worker. 


Earn Your Degree

The beginning of a social work career starts with higher education. In fact, you cannot become a social worker in the United States without licensure, training, and education. If you are just starting out, there are some benefits to starting with a bachelor’s degree in social work, but many already have a bachelor’s in a different area and go right to the MSW.


Obtain Licensure

Most states require you obtain and maintain a license to practice as a social worker. This will require the appropriate level of education for the license you want to get, a certification test and continuing education to stay up on best practices to allow you keep your license. You can check out the requirements for each state in our guide.


Begin Your Career

After you complete your education and obtain your license, you’ll still have to get hired and formally start your career. Networking, joining organizations and finding a mentor can help you gain the vital knowledge you need to get a job early on.