Social workers play an essential role in society by helping people struggling to make it by in life. They are the public aid and are very important to have.
If you've been thinking about getting a social worker degree and would like to know what exactly you can do with it, continue reading.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
As a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), you will provide therapy for clients that are dealing with any number of life issues.
For example, an LCSW might conduct couples counseling for a married couple that is experiencing difficulties in their relationship. As another example, an LCSW might oversee a group therapy program specifically for people that have been convicted of a crime.
In addition to diagnosing and treating mental health problems, LCSWs also provide assistance to clients that are experiencing practical difficulties in their lives, like homelessness. To overcome this issue, an LCSW might assist their client in finding resources that will help them find appropriate housing.
To become an LCSW, you must have a master’s degree in social work and fulfill the licensure requirements in the state in which you wish to practice.
Child Welfare Social Worker
Numerous social workers find work to support vulnerable youth and adolescents in danger. They secure and guarantee they experience childhood positively and are protected from harm's way.
A child welfare social worker's primary duty is to ensure children have safe and healthy living conditions. They also prioritize protecting children from maltreatment, neglect, and any other form of abuse. They also ensure the physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing of children is all in check. They also check to make sure there is no need to find and provide them with additional services.
Child welfare social workers are often on the go, as a big part of their job is doing things such as making visits to homes. They often visit homes in question to ensure that the living conditions are safe and adequate for a child to be living in.
Another way a child welfare social worker protects children is by providing assessments and evaluating parents, guardians, and other caretakers to ensure they are fit to take proper care of a child. Everything gets documented, and they keep records of everything, so lots of paperwork is involved in this position.
Mental Health Social Worker
Mental health social workers offer psychological wellness support and care for clients. They usually have completed training in clinical social work. From creating care plans for clients to assisting them with keeping up with ordinary business, a mental health social worker can turn into a trusted expert who guarantees that people approach the vital assets to live better and more satisfying lives.
Mental health social workers work with both groups of people and one-on-one. They provide services such as:
- Crisis interventions
- Finding resources
- Case management
- Relationship building
- Community collaboration
- Treatment models
- Social justice
- Emotional support
- Public education
- Prevention programs
Substance Abuse Social Worker
Substance abuse social workers usually have to go through a clinical social work graduate program to be appropriately certified and licensed to do their job. They work in clinics, hospitals, rehab centers, and mental institutions and work directly with their clients.
Substance abuse social workers specialize in helping people overcome and manage their addictions. These addictions can include:
- Risky behaviors
A substance abuse social worker will assess their client and help them develop a plan to stop their addiction and how to keep them from going back to it once they quit. They do this by helping their client identify and avoid triggers and learn new healthy habits and coping mechanisms.
School Social Worker
One of the most popular specialties in social work is working with school-aged children.
School social workers are often tasked with coordinating services for students with special needs. For example, a high school student that is on an individualized education plan (IEP) because of an emotional disorder might be assigned to a school social worker who would devise an action plan for supporting the student’s social, emotional, and academic needs.
Typically, school social workers are in close contact with other stakeholders (e.g., the child’s parents or guardians, teachers, and administrators). By coordinating services and acting as the go-between for parents and other school officials, you can ensure that the students in your charge get the support they need for maximum success.
You must have a master’s degree in social work to be a school social worker. Likewise, you must be licensed by the state in order to work in a school setting.
As a case manager, your primary responsibility is to facilitate care for your clients.
In many instances, case managers work for state-level institutions like the Department of Family Services. Each client has unique needs, which means case managers must spend a lot of time evaluating clients, creating treatment plans, organizing resources, and overseeing the implementation of treatment plans.
As a case manager, you are also an advocate for your clients. This means contacting organizations on behalf of your client to arrange services. For example, if you have a client that’s a veteran who suffers from PTSD, you might work with the relevant department to procure a therapy dog to help manage the PTSD symptoms.
Typically, case management positions can be found with a bachelor’s degree in social work. However, having a master’s degree will expand the pool of potential jobs.
Criminal Justice and Corrections Social Worker
Criminal justice and corrections social workers work closely with those involved in the justice system. They help those within it and advocate for their clients when needed. The clients they try to help could be:
- Inmates in prison
- People at risk of criminal behavior
- Juvenile delinquents
Criminal justice and corrections social workers will create and provide these people with intervention and prevention programs, alongside support, guidance, and advocacy.
Here are some job positions criminal justice and corrections social workers may work in:
- Probation or parole officer
- Conflict mediator
- Sex offender clinician
- Transitional case manager
- Halfway house supervisor
- Prison counselor
- Residential counselor
- research and policy developer
- Staff trainer and recruiter
- Administrator and manager
Advocacy Social Worker
Advocacy social workers fight for the rights of their clients and certain groups of people who may not be able to use their voices to stand up for themselves. They often work with charities, organizations, and communities and go and stand up against powerful institutions and wealthy corporations that cause unfair disadvantages to vulnerable people.
Advocacy social workers advocate for vulnerable groups of people and individuals to ensure they have access to all that they need to live reasonably and healthily. This includes finding resources that give people easy access to food, shelter, medical care, and work and career opportunities.
An advocacy social worker can work with an individual to help find the specific resources and references they need to get by. Or, they could work on creating and maintaining programs that provide a group of people or community with the resources and benefits they need to live healthy lives.
Another career option you might consider is a probation officer. These professionals work directly with clients that have been sentenced to serve probation after a conviction for a crime.
Probation officers are responsible for helping their clients make the transition back into society. In some cases, they might work with clients that were convicted of violent or serious crimes (e.g., a sex-based crime) that need to be closely monitored for a lengthy period of time. In other cases, their clients might have been convicted of a much lesser crime who simply need guidance in making improved decisions.
Either way, probation officers guide and direct their clients through individual meetings, group work, and coordinating services from other agencies (e.g., Workforce Services, Child and Family Services, or law enforcement).
Typically, probation officers need a bachelor’s degree. Though a social work degree isn’t required, the skills you learn in a social work program will be highly valuable in this career.
Many Different Options to Choose From
Listed above are a few different ways a person can utilize a degree in social work. There are many other areas someone with a social work degree can branch off into, as it is a very versatile accreditation to have. Pursuing a social work degree is worthwhile if you enjoy helping and supporting people in need and making society a better place to live in.