Social workers can empower people and communities. Social workers can make a real difference, whether they work one-on-one to help a client in a crisis situation or advocate for policies that will allow the vulnerable to have affordable housing. It’s a good idea to research the various MSW jobs opportunities in social work.
Social workers who have a Bachelor of Social Work degree (BSW), may be able to find entry-level jobs, but those with an MSW (Master of Social Work) will have many career options. Continue reading to learn about the many MSW career options and pathways that lead to advancement.
MSW Job Opportunities
At a general level, Social workers are those who work with the public to help them. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS), these people help people deal with everyday problems. Clinical social workers are also able to diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral issues. Although the duties of social work vary depending on their specific roles, most careers involve:
- Identifying communities and people in need
- To determine clients’ goals, it is important to assess their needs using a holistic approach.
- Assisting clients in adjusting to life changes, such as divorce, illness, or unemployment
- Information and research on community resources such as food stamps, child and family care, and health care. These programs can help clients feel better and they can advocate for their existence.
- Handling crisis situations such as child abuse or mental health emergencies
- Follow up with clients to see if their circumstances have changed or improved.
- Maintaining case files and records
- Assessing programs and services in order to assess if basic needs are being met.
- Providing psychotherapy service
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be rapid growth in social work in the next few years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that social workers will have an average increase in the number of jobs between 2020 and 2030. This is an average of 78.300 jobs in social work per year over the next ten years.
The growth rate for child, family, and school social workers is expected to be even higher at 13%. The growth in mental health and substance abuse social worker positions is impressive at 15%.
In addition to the projected growth in the field, data from the social work programs show significant expansion of the social work education pipeline. According to a Council on Social Work Education study, enrollment in BSW programs grew 12.6% between 2009-and 2019. The enrollment in MSW programs increased by 34.9% over the same period. This expansion is supportive of the growth of social workers in the workforce.
It is worth noting when considering advanced education options that an MSW can have an impact on where social workers work and how much they earn. Many bachelor’s degree holders find employment in administration or individual and family service. Master’s-level social workers are more likely to find work in hospitals or elementary and secondary schools.
According to November 2021, PayScale data MSWs earned a median annual salary of around $56,000 per year, while those with bachelor’s degrees were paid about $51,000.
The career choice in social work depends on many factors, including where someone lives, their passions, and the setting they see themselves working in.
Macro Social Work
Macro social service can be described as a tent that consists of administration, community organizing, and analysis so It encapsulates many fields. Micro social work is the direct work social workers do with clients. This is in contrast to administrative or program development roles. Macro social work encompasses everything from community organizing to coalition-building and political engagement.
Macro social work is the focus of activities social workers do to improve policies. Macro social work is the foundation of the field. This is evident in Jane Addams’s work as well as the settlement house movement. Macro social work was the act that led to Hull House, Chicago’s first social settlement providing housing, education, and community for diverse communities.
Social justice has been an integral part of social work for many years. However, more people are entering social work to be able to work at a level. For clients who are struggling to work with clients on a daily basis, it is crucial to do macro-level social work. When clients are unable to move forward with a treatment plan because of roadblocks in their system.
There are many MSW career opportunities in macro social work. This list contains six possible MSW jobs. Some of them focus on macro social works.
1. Community Organizer
Social and community service managers are also known as community organizers. They work with stakeholders and members of the community to identify programs and services that will benefit them. They work for social or human services organizations that are focused on particular demographics, such as veterans or children. They may also be involved in helping people who are struggling with substance abuse or long-term unemployment.
Community organizers can plan and manage outreach activities, advocate for program awareness, and submit funding proposals. Supervising staff, such as social workers, maybe a responsibility of community organizers. The BLS reported that the 2020 median annual salary for social and community service managers was $69,000.
2. Legislative Aide
Legislative aides or assistants assist legislators in fulfilling their duties. They help with administration, research, and communications. These aides are assigned assignments that focus on specific policy areas such as taxes, education, and the environment. According to PayScale data, the median annual salary for legislative aides was $46,000 as of July 2021. Some can earn up to $67,000 per year depending on their education or experience.
Many opportunities for macro-level jobs can be found in political campaigns or at non-profits that are focused on social justice.
3. Child and Family Social Workers
Most people associate social workers with family and child specialization. This includes direct services to families and individuals in various settings. Social workers for children and families provide support to those who are facing socioeconomic difficulties. They advocate for families and children in need.
This field includes social workers who work in shelters, child welfare agencies, community programs, shelters, or other nonclinical settings. Their primary goal is to ensure that children and their families are taken care of and that they have all their basic needs met. Social workers help their clients to confront issues that prevent families from becoming self-sufficient. There are many reasons, such as substance abuse, mental illness, poverty, unemployment, and trauma.
These issues can be addressed by child and family social workers through basic counseling, environmental assessments, and referrals, as well as working with community partners and case management. Advocacy and ongoing monitoring are also available. Children welfare social workers find it rewarding to share their successes with clients.
Child abuse is a problem that is widespread in America. This is why social workers are attracted to this field and it is growing in demand. The Children’s Bureau released a report in 2020 that found 1,770 children had died of neglect or abuse in 2018. A report by the Children’s Bureau found that child protective services agencies received over 4,000,000 child abuse referrals within one year. This includes almost 8 million children.
According to the BLS, in 2020, the median annual salary for child and family social workers was $48,430.
4. Social worker in Hospital/Health Care
Hospitalizations, illnesses, and injuries can be very stressful. Hospitals and health care centers have clinical social workers who provide psychosocial services to patients and their families.
Social workers in hospitals are responsible for helping patients understand their illness and help them to make decisions. Hospital social workers are an important part of the health care team. They provide tools for doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals to understand the emotional, and sometimes even criminal, aspects of patients’ illnesses. Patients are taught case management skills to deal with financial, social, and psychological problems that may arise from their injuries or illnesses.
Here’s a brief overview of the roles that hospital social workers might play:
- Initial screening and evaluation of patients
- Assessment of psychosocial needs of patients
- Patients and their families will be provided with additional assistance in understanding the treatment options, as well as the consequences or refusals of certain treatments.
- If necessary, crisis intervention is used
- Diagnose and refer to psychotherapy for individuals, groups, or families with mental illness.
- Encourage collaboration and communication with members of the health care team
- Arrange financial assistance for medication, medical equipment, and other services
- Assisting patients and their families in various settings, including at home, inpatient, and outpatient.
- Advocate for patients’ rights at the policy level
According to the BLS in 2020, health care social workers earned a median salary of $57630. This job is for those who like fast-paced work environments and are interested in medical research and cutting-edge medical procedures. As social workers in hospitals, they are part of a team that works with the health care teams to advocate on behalf of patients.
5. Mental Health Social Workers (Clinics, Outpatient)
Social workers in mental health clinics play an important role in diagnosing and treating mental disorders. Private or public funding can be used to fund clinics. The intensity and duration of services offered in these clinics will vary. Individuals who work as social workers in mental health care are required to have a license from the state in which they work. This is something that individuals should consider when considering pursuing a career in this field. These social workers often work in a team environment, which may appeal to people who enjoy working together.
Social workers in mental health clinics or outpatient facilities address a wide range of issues, including emotional, psychological, and situational crises; eating disorders; marital and family problems; difficulties between parents and children; depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychological conditions.
There are many job titles and roles at mental health clinics. These include clinical social workers and licensed clinical social workers. Therapists, clinicians, case managers, and directors all have different job functions. Here are some examples of what you can expect:
- Determine client eligibility to receive services
- Assessment of clients for substance abuse, support systems, emotional and physical functioning,
- financial stability, suicidal idealism, and other factors
- Implementing and developing treatment plans
- Promotion of mental health services in the clinic for the greater community
- Evaluation and grant writing to find and keep funding
- Supervise, manage, and train staff
- As a member of a multidisciplinary treatment team
A master’s degree is expected for social workers who provide therapy. MSW program graduates are ideal candidates. The median salary for mental health social workers in May 2020 was $48,720, according to the BLS.
6. School Social Worker
There are three levels of school social workers: elementary, middle, and high. This means that they can deal with a variety of issues depending on the student they work with. They are vital to school systems and provide support to students to help them improve their emotional well-being as well as to identify the root causes of academic difficulties.
School social workers assist students, their families, and teachers with a variety of issues that can arise in school settings, such as aggression or social withdrawal. They can also help students deal with emotional, economic, and physical problems that could be affecting their school performance. Although qualifications for social workers in schools vary depending on their state or district, it may be necessary to have a clinical license. Here’s a brief overview of what a school social worker might look like.
- Conducting biopsychosocial assessments, and creating social histories
- Assessment of students for substance abuse, support system, academic performance barriers, peer issues, and suicidal thoughts.
- Direct therapeutic services are provided for individuals, families, and groups for various issues.
- Offering crisis management services
- Provide case management services such as referrals to community services or collaboration with other professionals
- Training and workshop provision to teachers and parents.
- Contributing to a multidisciplinary treatment group
- Conducting home visits
Your ability to work well with others and collaborate effectively in a team is key to your success in this job. Social workers must be licensed in the state where they will be providing therapy or mental health services. Students are greatly impacted by social workers working in schools. They play a variety of roles, making it a challenging day for students. According to the BLS, the median salary of social workers who have an MSW in schools was $48,430 in 2020.
An MSW can drive social change
An MSW degree can open doors to many social work careers and increase the chance of higher wages. Aspiring social workers can look into a variety of MSW jobs, from community action to nonprofit work, with the right education.