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7 Reasons Social Workers Are Essential

Earning an online master’s degree in social work can prepare you to change lives, and the world.

Social workers dedicate their careers to helping children and adults live healthier lives in communities the world over. There are many types of social workers, and you’ll find them working with dedication in homes, schools, hospitals, prisons, government, social service agencies, mental health facilities, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and more.1

If a social worker has helped you or a loved one, you know how vital their work is. Read on to learn how social workers are making essential contributions to these seven areas of social work practice:2

  • Aging
    In social work careers, these professionals address issues affecting America’s rapidly aging population. They help connect Americans 65 and older with Medicare and Medicaid. They offer services to clients who have chronic illnesses and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. They help safeguard older adults from abuse.
  • Behavioral Health
    This type of social work practice combines knowledge of human behavior, sociology, psychiatry, psychology, and other social sciences.3 In behavioral health social work jobs, professionals work with people experiencing mental health conditions, substance use disorders and other addictions, and other challenges.
  • Child Welfare
    Social workers help safeguard children and provide services to promote their growth and well-being. They are voices for children in the courtroom and intervene to protect children from abuse and neglect. They work with families to help create healthier homes, as well as connect children with disabilities with support services.
  • Clinical Social Work
    The National Association of Social workers (NASW) classifies clinical social work as a specialty practice area focused on assessing, diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental health, emotional, and behavioral conditions.4 Licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), who must have at least a master’s in social work (MSW) and proper licensure, provide individual, family, and group therapy.
  • Ethnicity and Race
    Social work careers in this vital practice area focus on social change and racial equity. “Our members understand cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice,” NASW says. Essential social work job opportunities lie in areas such as community organizing, government and nonprofit administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research.5
  • LGBTQ+ Community
    Social workers provide services that support LGBTQ+ individuals, and they work to help families, organizations, and communities embrace inclusion. They provide these essential services through counseling and many other efforts that “ensure wellness, safety, and equity” for all LGBTQ+ individuals, says NASW. “Social workers have a shared commitment to promoting laws, policies, and programming that affirm, support, and value LGBT individuals, families, and communities.”6
  • School Social Work
    School social workers help support and nurture children throughout their educational journey. In their social work careers, these professionals use tools like counseling, crisis intervention, and parent education to help children achieve their academic and social potential. During the COVID-19 pandemic, school social workers are addressing additional challenges relating to safety, isolation, mental health, hunger, and housing insecurity.7

How to Become a Social Worker

If you’re an empathetic problem-solver with a commitment to social change, a social work career may be a solid choice. And with the demand for social work professionals expected to increase 13% through 2029,8 there may be no better time for you to earn a master’s degree in social work.

Walden University offers a Master of Social Work (MSW) online degree program that gives you the education and skills you need while allowing you to continue working and managing personal commitments. In Walden’s Council on Social Work Education–accredited MSW online program, you’ll benefit from a cutting-edge curriculum that includes award-winning case studies, virtual reality simulations, and online MSW Skills Labs that help you prepare for your licensing exam.

Walden offers other online social work degree programs to help meet your career goals as well. Prepare for your social work career by earning a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree. Or advance your study in Walden’s Doctor of Social Work or PhD in Social Work degree programs. When you’re ready to join the more than 713,0008 social workers providing the essential services that strengthen lives and communities, there’s an online social work degree program that can prepare you to join their ranks.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,