Social Workers

Pros


  • This work is good for those who have a desire to make a positive impact in other people’s lives.
  • If you are interested in social sciences or disciplines such as family studies this would be a good career.
  • This occupation is experiencing excellent job growth, so future prospects should be very good.

Cons

  • You will need to deal with people who may be under duress. This requires a nurturing demeanor.
  • As many of these jobs are in the public sector, it is possible that one may be paid quite low for the educational requirements that are needed.
  • This type of work usually requires conflict resolution, so the work is probably for those who get angry or emotional easily.

Overview

Social workers try to help people who are having problems lead better lives. Although they are considered healthcare workers, they don’t diagnose or treat physical medical problems. Many of the people who see social workers are looking to solve a number of issues that may be affecting their ability to clearly focus or otherwise perform their day to day activities. Because of this, social workers provide a key service to people, and many are very grateful that social workers are there for them to help out with their situation.
The name social worker comes from the fact that the people that they work with are dealing with social problems. This can mean issues related to their families or other personal relationships. They may be dealing with a degenerative condition or perhaps have experienced a serious injury and are working to recover. Social workers spend their time with people of all ages and demographics. Some social workers tend to devote their time to specific social problems such as poverty, homelessness, drug addiction or divorce. They will work with children who are also affected, sometimes indirectly, by these types of issues.
A good amount of social workers are employed by healthcare providers that may include hospitals or other private health organizations. Almost a third of them work in government agencies. This could mean that they work for a school system, community health agency or state health provider.

Education

Entry level employment as a social worker requires one to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Usually this degree is concentrated in social work, but sometimes it can be in psychology or sociology. Those who have an interest in clinical work, or plan on working in public health will need to obtain a master’s degree, which can take as little as two years studying fill time to much longer if only part time. A master’s degree in social work does not necessarily mean one studied the subject as an undergraduate, but it does usually have some sort of relation.

Job Prospects

Social workers can expect good job prospects. This can be attributed to the growing need for healthcare in general, but there are a few subsets in this field of work that are experiencing greater than average growth when comparing the occupation as a whole. One is mental health and substance abuse social work. Another is the specialty of public health within social work. Both of these concentrations generally require a master’s degree.

Advancement Opportunities

There are some ways to move up the ladder in this type of work. As with most career fields, those social workers who have attained the greatest amount of education and experience can expect to get the best chance at positions that are lucrative and are of authority. Some experienced social workers will also find themselves starting their own practice once they have a stable network of clients and colleagues.