Master's Degrees in Social Work
Earn a degree in social work from an accredited college
One of the best ways to prepare for a career in social work is through a college education. A Master's Degree will help you develop entry level skills, general social work know how and the basic social work experience you need to start your career off right. You may also consider a Doctoral in Social Work to help you take your education and career to the next level. Take the first step to success by selecting a social work school below.
Why would I want a social work degree?
A degree in social work will give you the knowledge and skills you need to pursue a career in a field that will allow you to really get involved in other people’s lives and affect them in ways that you couldn’t do otherwise. Although the salaries for social workers aren’t as high as some other professions, the work can be very rewarding. If you enjoy working with people on a personal level, like solving social issues, and like helping others, then a degree in social work may be a good fit for you.
What do people with social work degrees do?
People who get their degrees in social work go on to become social workers in one of a variety of different specialties. Social workers help people cope with everyday problems. These problems could be anything from coping with disabilities to finding adequate housing. The most common areas of social work are listed below.
- Child, Family, and School Social Workers: They help to foster positive environments parents and children. Their work may include helping single parents find assisted day care; facilitating adoption; or finding foster homes for children who are abused, neglected, or even abandoned. They may even have further specialties in child protective services, adoption, homelessness, domestic violence, or foster care.
- Medical and Public Health Social Workers: They provide emotional support and advise people who are coping with illnesses and physical disabilities. These illnesses and disabilities could be anything from AIDS to a missing limb. They also counsel patients and family members before being discharged from health facilities on how to cope with their conditions.
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers: They work with people who are suffering from mental disorders or substance abuse problems. Their work may include individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and teaching skills needed for everyday living. They may also suggest and coordinate support services for the people they work with.
- Administrators, Researchers, and Policy Makers (for Social Work): These social workers research various social issues and the policies that are associated with them. They develop and implement programs that address these issues, which include child abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, and violence.
- All Other Social Workers: Most social workers fit into one of the categories above, but there are some exceptions. Some of which include community food and housing, and emergency and other relief services.
How much do social workers make?
The figures given below are data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they are based on median salaries in 2008.
The median annual salary for child, family, and school social workers was $39,530. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,040 and $52,080. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,870, and the top 10 percent earned more than $66,430.
The median annual salary for medical and public health social workers was $46,650. The middle 50 percent earned between $35,550 and $57,690. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,100, and the top 10 percent earned more than $69,090.
The median annual salary for mental health and substance abuse social workers was $37,210. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,910 and $48,560. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,770, and the top 10 percent earned more than $61,430.
The median annual salary for all other social workers was $46,220. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,420 and $60,850. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,400, and the top 10 percent earned more than $74,040.
How popular are social work jobs?
Jobs in social work are quite popular, and they will continue to be popular into the foreseeable future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this industry are expected to grow by 16% through the year 2018, which is faster than the average growth rate among all jobs. Helping to spur this growth is an aging population that will need health and social services, as well as increasing demand in other areas of social work.
How do I become a social worker?
A bachelor’s degree in social work is the minimum requirement for most entry-level positions in this industry. In order to do clinical work or to be able to work in schools, a master’s degree in social work is usually required. In some cases, degrees in psychology or sociology may be sufficient for certain positions, since their area of study is closely related to certain aspects of social work.
Salary and career outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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