With a post-secondary education in Social Work, many employment opportunities can open up for you. Even more job opportunities are available for students that complete a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree in social work.
Of course, the level of your education is just one factor that will determine what you can do with a degree in social work. If you specialise, for example, you might have more limited opportunities for jobs. Yet, you will be more qualified for jobs within your selected specialty.
For example, if you wish to be a child social worker, and your studies focused on that emphasis, you might not meet the qualifications for a social work position outside of a school. As another example, if your preference is to work with families, you might not get a position that focuses on working with individuals with a substance abuse problem.
So, while specializing can open many doors for you, just remember that it can also limit where you can work.
Below is a brief list of some of the careers you might choose with a degree in social work. Be mindful that this is not an exhaustive list of all social work careers – it’s just a short overview of some common social work jobs
A hospice social worker specializes in helping individuals at the end of their lives. Likewise, these social workers provide services to the family of patients who are nearing their death.
Much of this job has to do with logistics. Hospice social workers see to it that proper care is given and that resources for the patient are coordinated and provided in a timely manner. Social workers usually work directly with hospice patients, too. For example, they might provide counseling services to help the patient work through the emotional toll of their illness.
As another example, a hospice social worker might coordinate a support group for survivors. Family members can come together and express their emotions and support one another as they work through the pain of losing a loved one.
These services are usually provided by a social worker with a master’s degree.
Another career path you can take as a social worker is to work as a caseworker or case manager.
This is a straightforward job – you coordinate social services for people in need.
For example, you might have a client that has fallen on hard times and has lost their home. You would work with them to identify a safe place to live and organise other services to help them get back on their feet. This might include helping the client apply for jobs or helping the client prepare for a job interview.
Case workers and case managers typically work with a high number of clients. This means that this can be a very stressful job. However, the services you provide as a case worker can make a significant difference in the lives of others.
In many cases, you can become a caseworker with just a post-secondary degree.
A program executive is a social worker that oversees care programmes for vulnerable populations.
This position involves coordinating services with many different organizations. It also involves making home visits to conduct assessments, home reviews, and ensure that proper care is being provided to patients.
For example, you might oversee the services that are provided to a client with dementia. In that role, you might develop a treatment and care plan, work with carers to ensure the care plan is implemented appropriately, and evaluate the care plan in terms of its level of success in addressing the client’s most salient needs.
This position typically requires a post-secondary degree, although some positions might require a graduate degree in social work or a closely related field.
A degree in social work might also prepare you to work specifically with children.
Youth social workers can work in a number of different areas. They might work in a school system and provide social, emotional, and educational support for students.
Likewise, youth social workers might be charged with developing enrichment programs for students, particularly those from low-income families.
Youth social workers are often employed in orphanages and child care facilities as well. There, they might provide basic counseling services, conduct group therapy sessions with kids, plan activities that build self-confidence, and so forth.
A final option to consider is a career as a community social worker.
A community social worker usually focuses on community-based issues that negatively impact people in that community.
For example, you might develop education programs about preventable illnesses or diseases that are prevalent in certain communities. Likewise, you might develop community events that bring people together and bring awareness to important social issues.
There is much work that can be done for communities. And as a social worker, you can help in that process.