Job Outlook for a Social Worker

A master’s degree in social work may not at first seem like a versatile degree, but in conjunction with a particular emphasis, a master’s degree in social work yields a bevy of different professional paths from which to take. Paired with general experience, prior education, and perhaps some volunteer work, a degree in social work allows for a more valuable and consequential occupational experience.

Types of Social Work

Moreover, the field as a whole is constantly seeking bright, new, and compassionate minds to fill up vacancies. It stands to reason that as the population continues to increase, the need for social workers of all varieties increases parallel to the population.

Typically, a social worker is seen as someone who merely works with disadvantaged communities, but in truth social workers populate each fraction of society, including family social work, mental health and substance abuse, military social work, and larger administrative/policy making social work.

Each type of social worker focuses primarily on his or her area of expertise. For instance, a family social worker will focus on helping families overcome obstacles such as mental illness, mental and developmental disabilities, drug addiction, burdensome financial obstacles, and general relationship issues. The social worker not only helps each family out of difficult situations, but are essentially the starting point for moving forward. However, it’s worth noting that a family social worker has a far greater chance of being employed and successful with families if they have earned a master’s degree.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2016 there are 682,100 jobs available for social workers to pursue. Additionally, the job outlook for the field of social work is projected to have a 16 percent growth over the next decade–an average that is faster than average. However, growth depends largely on what specific type of social work. For instance, mental health and substance abuse social workers are projected to grow 3 percent higher than the overall job outlook. In general, as American healthcare continues to evolve, social workers are increasingly in higher demand.

While all social workers vary in salary scale, the median salary in California for social workers is around $66,300. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor statistics, a social worker in California can make up to $92,010 a year. Of course, this statistic relies heavily upon experience and education, especially if an employee has pursued higher than a bachelor’s degree.

No social worker is the exactly the same. Each individual is the sum of his or her unique background and approach. As is the case with most degrees, a bachelor’s is no longer enough to stand out from the crowd of applicants. However, with a master degree in social work, candidates are armed with paired experience, expansive education, and a degree that illuminates a candidate’s ability to confidently pinpoint and exercise issues plaguing local communities throughout the country and the world. Moreover, a master’s degree in social work can be pursued online through 38 different schools.