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Five Specialties for a Social Work Career

Learn about some of the career options available when you earn a Master of Social Work and how you can earn an MSW online.

For anyone considering pursuing a social work career, there are many paths to choose from and a range of career specialties. If you’re interested in entering the field and have been wondering how to become a social worker, earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) is a great first step. Before you enroll in an online university to earn your MSW degree, it’s important to first decide what area of study you’d like to pursue in order to prepare for the right career path.

Learn more about your social work degree options and how you can earn your MSW online from a great accredited online college.

Five Specialties for a Social Work Career

Many Areas of Social Work Practice

Social workers are professionals who work in a wide variety of ways to help people cope with and solve a broad range of problems. Often called the helping profession, there are different types of social workers who specialize in working with children, adults, or families who are often vulnerable, oppressed, or living in poverty. A social work career can be very specialized to focus on helping specific groups or those with certain needs.

You can find social workers helping people in mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human services agencies, hospitals, settlement houses, community development corporations, and private practices. If you love to help others and are interested in a social work career, some of the specialties you might choose from include:1

  • Social work administration/supervision: Great leaders strengthen social work programs and services while maintaining the core values of social work. If you’re comfortable in a leadership position, your social work practice may lead you to a career as an administrator, director, manager, supervisor, mentor, field instructor, or lead social worker.
  • Medical social worker: Within healthcare, social workers are needed to address various aspects of both physical health and mental health. A social worker in a medical setting may work in acute care, clinical work, case management, pediatrics, chronic care, oncology, aging, substance abuse, advocacy, administration, rehabilitation, or public health.
  • School social worker: Students thrive when schools are staffed with professionals committed to improving their educational success as well as their social and emotional development. A school social worker offers various services within a school, including development assessments, counseling, crisis intervention, parent education, and more.
  • Clinical social worker: The specialty of clinical social work focuses on assessing, diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental illness and emotional and behavioral disturbances. A clinical social worker may work in a private practice, hospital, primary care facility, or other setting.
  • Child welfare social worker: Children in vulnerable situations need dedicated advocates. Specialists in child welfare work in child protective services, family preservation support services, and case management.

Start Earning Your Online MSW Today

If you’re ready to earn an advanced social work degree and are looking to do so with the flexibility offered by an accredited online college, Walden University offers a Master of Social Work (MSW) program ideal for distance learners. If you’re busy with a family or your current career, Walden’s MSW program lets you take online classes and complete your master’s degree around your schedule.

Walden’s online MSW curriculum includes four concentrations to suit your career goals: Advanced Clinical Practice, Military Social Work, Social Work in Healthcare, and Social Work With Children and Families. In addition, at Walden you can choose from three degree completion options: standard, accelerated, and advanced standing. These options help you pace your coursework based on your current schedule and educational background. Once you complete your MSW degree, you’ll have the skills to pursue one of the many social worker jobs that suit your training.

Don’t put off earning your MSW. A rewarding social work career is waiting for you.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program, with accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Expand your career options and earn your master’s degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,