5 Career Paths For Social Work Graduates

5 Career Paths For Social Work Graduates

Social work graduates have one of the most rewarding careers, regardless of their specialization. They receive training to help all the vulnerable members of the community. Fighting for justice, promoting human rights, and ensuring physical and mental well-being are some of their contributions. Their efforts are the reason behind a smooth functioning society.

As we move into a fast-paced future, societal problems seem to increase too. Greater intolerance, environmental concerns, crimes, and serious health issues have made it difficult for people to cope. These instances have increased the need for social workers in society. The spike in demand suggests that the overall employment of social workers can grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030.

These stats mean that the future requires a heavy supply of trained social workers. Does that peak your interest in this degree? Let us look at the plethora of career options social work graduates have. It will give you a greater insight into the vastness of this industry. 

1) Medical social worker

The world has witnessed an exponential growth in chronic illnesses in the past few years. Cancer, diabetes, and cardiac issues have become prevalent in society. Being diagnosed with such ailments poses a difficult situation for the patient and the family. It is a time full of uncertainty and stress – emotional and financial.

Fortunately, one of the MSW careers, medical social work, aims to aid this group specifically. It is concerned with meetings the needs of individuals, families, and communities facing health issues. These professionals focus on helping people navigate their way from diagnosis to treatment. Patients and their families can rely on social workers for financial and emotional support. Healthcare decision-making is another responsibility they have that makes the treatment process less overwhelming for patients.

A medical social worker provides services at public health organizations, outpatient care centers, mental health organizations, home care services, etc. Their average annual salary is $67,717.

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2) Therapist

Therapy and counseling make a drastic positive difference in many people’s lives. 41.4 million adults in the United States received treatment or counseling in 2020. This number is about to increase as time passes. Social workers who specialize in counseling use psychotherapy to help patients develop coping skills. This technique equips people with the tools required to have a better lifestyle.

People who have suffered trauma consider social workers heroes. They rely on them for the correct diagnosis and support throughout the treatment. Therapists employ techniques that are unique to people’s situations to help them deal with emotional and psychological concerns.

Therapists and counselors work at mental health organizations, residential care facilities, correctional facilities, and hospitals. Their average annual salary is $64,777.

3) School social worker

Schools are places that foster growth and development. The increasing pressure, competition, and personal problems can make school life difficult for some students. Hence, social workers in educational institutions are a must. They ensure that students have no stress regarding academics and personal life. Their responsibilities also include spreading awareness of mental health issues and prevention amongst students and administration.

Teachers and admin are also involved with these social workers to have a holistic strategy to make school life as stress-free as possible. This specialization is perfect for people who enjoy working with kids and teenagers. Such people might be able to understand and communicate better in an educational setting. School social workers have an average annual salary of $61,799.

4) Substance abuse counselors

There is a growing need for substance abuse counselors as the perspectives around drug reliance are changing. More people are now supported and encouraged to get professional help to free themselves from addiction. Hence, these social workers play a vital role in making all individuals a serviceable part of society.

They teach people the skills required to recover from and manage their addiction. This process can be a long or short-term process depending on the situation. Hence, substance abuse counselors are trained to maintain a professional relationship with their clients through this emotionally taxing journey. Regular follow-ups and coping techniques that patients can carry out on their own can be life-changing for many. The average e annual salary of a substance abuse counselor is $40,400.

5) Social worker in the foster care system

It is no surprise that the foster care system can sometimes be unsafe. Hence, social workers specialize in this field to ensure that all children have positive experiences in the system. They work on the mental and behavioral well-being of a child through counseling. Another responsibility they have is advocating for children’s rights if need be. Their efforts make the foster care system successful. The average annual salary for a foster care social worker is $49,071.


It is safe to say that social workers build the foundation of a smooth-running society. They have the compassion to prioritize other people’s well-being. Doing this adds to the positive experiences of people who grow to be successful members of a community. It can also easily be said that these workers are indirectly shaping the future of a community by helping its people financially, emotionally, and physically.

A degree in social work is perfect for you if wish to have a rewarding occupation. It is also great for inner satisfaction and pays well. And the demand curve is on the rise with the increasing need for this role. Hence, there is greater job security and opportunities in this field. Grab the opportunity while the time is optimum.

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