Social Work Jobs: Here Are the Best 10 Careers

Top 10. Best Social Work Careers, Career Options

Why there are people who are so passionate about social work jobs?

The answer is simple:

They want to help people around them and make this world better.

Going after a social work career, you should be dedicated and be ready to use your skills.

Using your knowledge and personal traits to improve the world around you and support others when they need to overcome various challenges.

There are lots of areas of social work but you need to make a choice and decide on which field do you want to focus on.

Do you want to help veterans, people with mental health, homeless and so on?

You should know that a social work career is a fruitful option.

According to the various researches held in past years, social work is one of the top 20 most rewarding careers in the USA.

Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the number of job offers in this field will increase significantly in the nearest future.

Best Career Options for Social Workers

Child Welfare Social Workers

Working as a child welfare social worker, you should be able to perform a bunch of difficult and absolutely challenging duties.

Nevertheless, it is not only rewarding but also a really satisfying job.

Nowadays the concerns about child abuse and similar issues are really significant that’s why child welfare social workers are really important.

Usually, these people are obliged to make sure that a child lives in proper conditions and environment otherwise a child should be placed elsewhere.

Also, these people support families and if necessary help them get in touch with various social services such as:

  • Childcare
  • Temporary income maintenance
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Job training
  • Parenting classes
  • Or family/marital counseling.

Sometimes, social workers may serve as witnesses and present testimony on a child’s behalf if necessary.

In fact, child welfare social workers are responsible for numerous aspects of children’s welfare so they should know how they could make children’s life better.

Often, these specialists may be involved in the process of adoption.

Employment growth forecast: Vigorous growth in the nearest future

Average annual salary: $45,950 – $47,000

Sounds interesting?

You might be interested to learn more about a degree in child development.

Direct-Service Social Worker

Direct-Service social workers are responsible for the direct services delivery to those families and individuals who need them.

They may work in various social agencies such as a child welfare agency, a local community development agency, a shelter for homeless families or abused women, and a program for gang youth.

Working in this sphere, you need to know how to deal with various social issues including numerous social, cultural, environmental, and health issues.

Usually, direct-service social workers work as program coordinators and agency directors.

They help people, families, and communities to live a full life and be solid members of society.

In other words, as a direct-service social worker, you need to know how to help people become more stable, strong, and confident.

Employment growth forecast: Strong employment

Average annual salary: $37,000 – $68,300

Gerontology Social Worker

According to the US Administration on Aging:

The number of people under 65 will reach 19% of the population in the next decade.

Why should you care?

Because, it means that there are more aging people that need support and resources so they can have an active, independent, and exciting life.

Gerontology social workers support aging people and help them understand all the issues of getting older including both personal and social aspects.

They should know how to use social and clinical interventions as well as advocacy in order to be able to help aging people and their family members.

Also, they help aging people to communicate with family members, caregivers, doctors, nursing homes, medical centers, etc.

Working as a social worker, you need to be able to help aging people to overcome such difficulties as scams, abuse, grief, and depression.

Also, you need to provide support when it comes to such aspects as in-home assistance, long-term care transition, and even end-of-life planning.

Employment growth forecast: Increased growth

Average annual salary: $42,000 – $60,000

Medical/Public Health Social Worker

Medical/public health social workers usually work in various medical facilities and other organizations that are responsible for ill patients care.

It can be:

  • hospitals
  • emergency rooms
  • wellness centers
  • assisted-living facilities
  • nursing homes
  • home care agencies
  • rehabilitation facilities
  • hospices
  • etc

The main responsibility of a medical/public health social worker is to make sure that people are cared for properly.

Also, they help with such issues as paperwork, decision-making, and communication between their clients and caregivers, families and medical personnel.

Medical/public health social workers are responsible not only for patients support but also they advocate for clients’ rights.

This field of social work is really challenging that’s why medical/public health social workers have a higher payment than other social workers.

Moreover, these specialists are in great demand nowadays.

Employment growth forecast: The highest rate of employment growth

Average annual salary: $48,680 – $56,960

Mental Health Social Worker

Mental health social workers are also known as clinical social workers.

They help people who try to overcome various mental, emotional and behavioral disorders and other similar problems.

These specialists usually perform such duties as:

  • Mental health assesses
  • Disorders diagnose treatment
  • Patients’ assistance
  • Treatment management

This type of social workers can occupy various positions in mental hospitals, private practices, mental health centers and so on.

If you want to work in this sphere, you need to obtain a degree as well as a license.

It is especially important if you want to work in clinical practice or therapy.

Employment growth forecast: Strong growth

Average annual salary: $41,270 – $49,160

Palliative & Hospice Care Social Workers

Palliative social workers help people who suffer from pain and discomfort due to various serious illness.

Speaking of hospice care social workers, they are a type of palliative workers that provide end-of-life care.

They work at inpatient settings, homes, and at offices taking care of people during the last 6 months of their life.

These social workers visit their clients at home and may provide support during various emergency situations, especially when it comes to hospices.

In fact, this work is really hard and sometimes even frightening.

Nevertheless, if you are dedicated and passionate about helping people, this career can be really rewarding for you.

Employment growth forecast: Strong, due to a disproportionately aging population

Average annual salary: $39,000 – $56,000

Research Social Worker

A research social worker is responsible for implantation and defense of various social changes.

Also, they are obliged to make sure that all progressive social policies are preserved properly.

This social career is one of the management roles in the social care field but it may require some extra training including a doctoral degree.

Working as a research social worker, you’ll be obliged to perform such duties as analyzing and arranging numerous social practices as well as estimating social policies and presenting results of the held researches.

Also, research social workers may write grants, analyze census data, conduct numerous projects, develop position papers as well as talk with policymakers and media, testify at hearings, and even lobby officials.

Average annual salary: $43,150 – $64,750

School Social Worker

A career as a school social worker is one of the most popular career options in the social field.

You should know that working in this sphere, you may perform various duties.

Usually, there work in school districts or special agencies that provide help for schools.

These specialists do some really complex work helping to create connections between schools, teachers, families, and children, as well as various community resources.

Also, school social workers help special needs children, nomadic families, foster children, delinquents, and truants.

They help these groups of children with such issues as transitions and/or re-entries to the learning environment.

Moreover, you should know how to confront a whole variety of aspects such as behavioral interventions, prevention, and educational programs related to hygiene, abuse, sexuality, drugs, communication and so on.

Employment growth forecast: Strong

Average annual salary: $55,550 – $59,620

Substance Abuse Social Workers

Substance abuse social workers help people who have addictions and problems with substance misuse.

Usually, they work in various facilities such as juvenile, rehabilitation centers as well as foster care facilities, health care centers, prisons, and community service agencies.

These social workers counsel victims of abuse and help to intervene in the various sequential crisis.

Also. they help people who suffer from unemployment and poverty as well as mental and physical illnesses.

Speaking of required skills, substance abuse social workers should be patient, committed and compassionate so they can help people deal with such issues as relapses and addictive behaviors.

It’s a very interesting and rewarding career path.

You should know that this work is pretty tough and challenging however it can be absolutely gratifying.

You can change people’s lives helping them to attain recovery and overcome their abuse.

Substance abuse social workers are involved with counseling and sequential crisis interventions. They’re also involved with people dealing with physical abuse, unemployment, poverty, and mental or physical illness.

Employment growth forecast: Steady growth

Average annual salary: $36,330 – $49,160

Veterans & Military Social Workers

The Bureau of Veteran Affairs hires the most number of qualified social workers in the country.

VA social workers, help veterans and their families.

They provide a variety of services including such options as advocacy, medical referrals, benefits assistance, bureaucratic navigation, mental health therapy for conditions including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and drug/alcohol addiction.

Returning from war, many veterans face a whole variety of difficulties and they may need social worker’s support to overcome them.

It can be pretty hard to start living common life after being at war for a certain time so social workers should help veterans and their families to integrate into it.

Also, they explain to people how they can overcome some traumatic experience and provide support if it is necessary.

Recently, the Association of Social Work started a free training program on “Social Work with Service Members” that contains 5 courses.

Working as a military social worker you can earn a good income but it depends on various aspects such as location and rank.

There are three ranks of military social workers – GS-5, GS-7 or GS-9 and they depend on your education.

Training Requirements for Social Workers

If you want to become a social worker, you need to choose a training program depending on the type of career you want to pursue.

In any case, you should consider enrolling in a Master of Social Work degree (MSW).

The program includes not only some classes but also at least 900 hours of supervised practical instructions.

In some states, to become a social worker, you need to obtain a license.

MSW degree is obligatory for all types of clinical social workers.

Also, these specialists need to complete a certain amount of supervised training.

Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) can perform their duties without supervision.

If you want to become an LCSW, you need to complete 3 000 hours of supervised clinical work.

Other Great Career Options for Social Workers

Adolescent Health


Media is focused on such issues as adolescents & sexuality, negative impact for teens as well as bulling and other related issues.

As a result, more social workers are required to provide support for adolescents to help them with various issues during their development.

Usually, these specialists work in various educational facilities as well as medical centers, community agencies, teen programs, and so on.

Corporate Social Work

Lots of companies and corporations have Employee-Assistance Programs that’s why they need social workers.

They help employees to overcome a bunch of health, family and personal issues that can influence their success.

In other words, they help employees to perform their duties properly reducing the impact of the world outside them.

Developmental Disabilities

People who have developmental disabilities require qualified help including social workers support.

And this field is only getting bigger with time.

There are lots of developmental disabilities including autism, mental retardation, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and other conditions and a professional social worker should know how to deal with it.

Working with people with developmental disabilities, you need to learn people how they can be independent, productive, socially adjusted and happy.

Also, this type of social workers advocates the rights of their clients helping them to affirm legal rights and special services.

Environmental Crises

There are lots of environmental disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and even horrendous tragedies.

Often, municipalities need social workers’ support to deal with these issues.

These specialists, as well as doctors and psychologists, should help people to overcome both immediate and long-term problems caused by the calamity.


Social workers are required in various places including such facilities as courts, police departments, correctional facilities, and victim service centers.

Working there, they help people released from various programs to return to normal life.

Also, they may work as probation and parole officers.

In this case, they help clients to get self-sufficiency and find the resources they need to achieve this goal.

Moreover, they can be members of law enforcement teams or perform as expert witnesses.


The number of people that have HIV/AIDS grows constantly and they need lots of support.

Usually, these people may suffer from various physical and mental disorders and social workers are required to help these people overcome their problems.

Also, social workers may work not only with people who have HIV/AIDS but also with their family members and even communities.

Moreover, they should teach people about such aspects as HIV/AIDS prevention as well as ethical/cultural problems.

Legislative & Political

Lots of social workers start working as activists and direct services provider.

But, after a certain period of time, they apply for some leading positions and even political roles.

The number of social workers that look for a job in elective or appointed office grows constantly.

There are lots of options such as local school boards, county governments, state legislatures, and even the U.S. Congress.

Also, they help others during political campaigns.

This type of social workers supports advocacy groups, political associations, and governmental agencies.

As you see, there are lots of spheres that require qualified and well trained social workers.

Their sensitivity, compassion, respect, and dedication can help lots of people including children, families, addicts, the dying and others.

Social workers are an important part of modern society as they can make people’s lives better.

One Other Thing

If you didn’t find what you’re looking for here, let me suggest you look at these other articles:

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8 Best Vocational School Careers for 2019

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Good luck!

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