The need for social workers is growing. Nearly 650,000 social workers are already employed in the U.S. alone and the field is expected to grow by 12% from 2014 to 2024.* If you’re looking to enter a profession that is in demand and gives you the opportunity to do meaningful work focused on helping others, a social work career could be the perfect choice. But exactly what does it mean to be a social worker?
Social workers are trained professionals, typically holding a specific degree for social workers such as a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. In fact, completing a BSW degree program is a great way to gain the qualifications you need to enter the field. But not all social work is the same. Different types of social workers work in different types of environments. Once you earn your BSW degree from a school of social work, you’ll have the opportunity to find work in a diverse number of specialties. Common Bachelor of Social Work jobs include:†
Caseworkers are the backbone of the social work field. Government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and other groups employ caseworkers to provide one-on-one help to people in need. Caseworkers help guide individuals through conflicts, crises, recoveries, etc. by serving as an individual’s advocate and providing that individual with the information and assistance they need to get through their current problems. For instance, a caseworker at a hospital can help a patient and family address financial issues and plan for care after leaving the hospital.
Social workers who go into family service specialize in helping families overcome difficult times. They work for nonprofits and various government agencies and provide education and services designed to help families overcome tragedy, resolve conflicts, and escape abuse.
Habilitation specialists work in healthcare and mental health, providing services to the mentally disabled. They help their clients learn social skills and, when possible, learn how to live independently. Some habilitation specialists spend short periods of time working one-on-one with a number of clients while others work within caregiving facilities, helping a select group of individuals every day.
Working directly under a medical staff, mental health assistants help care for mentally disabled and/or emotionally disturbed patients. Assistants help improve quality of life by teaching patients daily living and coping skills.
A residential case manager is a type of social worker who oversees the day-to-day activities of residents in a shelter, group home, or other residential environment. Case managers are charged with understanding the needs of each resident and balancing daily activities to help residents get along and reach specific goals.
Numerous facilities, from rehabilitation centers to halfway houses to specialized schools, need people capable of designing and running activities and workshops that enrich and/or entertain. Trained social workers are uniquely qualified to design and run programs that address the specific social and developmental needs of the community.
Earning a degree can seem daunting, but thanks to online education it’s more convenient than ever before. When you choose to earn your Bachelor of Social Work online, you can complete the majority of your coursework from home and on a flexible schedule you can fit around your other responsibilities. Additionally, the convenience and flexibility you’ll enjoy can help you complete an online BSW degree program faster than you could complete a program at a campus-based university.
If you want to enter the expanding and engaging profession of social work, there’s no better option than enrolling in an online Bachelor of Social Work degree program. The right online university can help you earn your degree and prepare you for some of the most in-demand jobs in the social work field.
Walden University is an accredited institution that offers an online Bachelor of Social Work degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016–2017 Edition, Social Workers, on the internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm.
†Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.