Social Work Career Center

A social work career can involve several types of jobs in different areas of the social work field that can be a good fit for your strengths and interests. If you are interested in working directly with people to help them overcome obstacles, a clinical social worker or school social worker may be a good option to explore. A career as a public policy analyst or researcher may be appealing if you are interested in research and analysis.

Popular Careers

Career Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) or related degree is required to qualify for many entry level positions in the social work field. Some specialized positions require a master’s in social work (MSW) to qualify including clinical jobs. All states require some type of license or certification for social workers.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that social worker jobs will grow faster than average with a 16 percent increase in jobs expected from 2008-2018. Medical social workers will be in demand as health care industry jobs will grow faster than any other industry in the next decade due to the aging baby-boomer population. Social workers with a background in gerontology should have strong prospects as the number of assisted living and nursing homes continue to grow. Substance abuse and mental health social workers are also expected to grow 20 percent from 2008-2018 as a result of the justice system requiring more substance abusers to undergo treatment.

Social Worker Employment and Salaries in the United States

Social Worker Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary Median Annual Salary Lowest State Average Salary Highest State Average Salary
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 276,510 $44,410 $40,680 West Virginia, $29,910 Connecticut, $62,200
Healthcare Social Workers 133,890 $50,500 $48,620 Mississippi, $39,490 Nevada, $66,930
Mental Health and Substance Abuse 115,390 $42,650 $39,230 West Virginia, $31,880 New Jersey, $59,230
Social Workers, All Other 63,110 $54,220 $53,900 Montana, $38,800 West Virginia, $68,610

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2011.