Many people approach career decisions based on the potential for making money or attaining influential positions. That’s not true with a career in social work. Social workers aren’t asking what’s in it for them. They’re asking how they can best serve others.
No career offers a better chance to do that than social work, where the focus is on improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in often marginalized communities.
Students enter an online bachelor’s degree in social work program because they want their professional life to have meaning beyond making money. Once they enter a career in social work, they will find they enjoy many benefits and advantages. The sections below list at least five benefits and advantages. These ideas come from experience, working with students who major in social work and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Elsewhere on this site, you can read more about social worker career opportunities.
The Satisfaction of Knowing You Helped
At the end of the day, this is the reason most people choose a career in social work. The NASW refers to social work as “the helping profession,” and with good reason. It’s often a “me first” culture in America, but not for social workers. They focus on creating better lives for individuals, their families, and their communities. Social work is that rare occupation where you can make a difference in someone’s life every single workday.
Working With Children
Some careers within social work involve working directly with children and, typically, the entire family. This can involve connecting people with agencies and programs that provide services such as childcare and food stamps. Social workers also stay vigilant for any sign of child neglect or abuse. Schools employ social workers to help identify and work with children in need of social services.
Diversity in Social Work
A social worker’s job puts them in contact with people of different ethnic backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religious affiliation (or the absence thereof), and political party. Diversity also applies to job duties themselves. Social workers never know what the day will bring or where their careers might take them.
An excellent example of this is offered by social worker William Peterson. In an interview, he said he worked with the following types of clients in his 40-year career: delinquent adolescents, emotionally disturbed children, drug and alcohol abusing felons, drug and alcohol prevention for children and families, homeless gay youth, adolescents infected with HIV and those needing social services in emergency rooms.
Social Work Is Not a Corporate Job
Some people are cut out for work in an office. Others are not. Social workers typically fall into the second category. They enjoy independence and autonomy in how they manage their clients. No matter where they work, social workers spend most of their time outside of the office in client meetings. Some even establish their own practices, setting their own hours and schedules.
Social Workers Are In Demand
Demand is high for skilled social workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 11% increase in the number of social workers between 2018 and 2028. Healthcare social workers (a 17% increase) and mental health and substance abuse social workers (an 18% increase) are projected as the fastest growing areas of social work.
Social work is not like other jobs. That’s the attraction for the more than 700,000 people who work as social workers across the United States. It’s the right career choice for those who want to make a difference in the lives of others while also enjoying steady employment opportunities.
These ideas come from experience, working with students who major in social work and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). TUW also offers more information for those who want to read more about social worker career opportunities.