Social Worker Career Outlook, Employment & Job Information

Social Worker

Social Worker Career Description

Social workers are professionals trained to help people deal with problems in their everyday lives. They may specialize in a variety of areas, from substance abuse to mental health to child and family matters. In some capacities, a social worker's duties often overlap with those of law enforcement. Those working for a government agency, for example, have a responsibility to monitor and report unsafe or illegal conditions.

Social Worker Education

A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement for social workers, although a master's degree in social work (MSW) is becoming more of a standard in the field. For those interested in combining social work and law enforcement careers, some campus and online degree programs offer combined social work and criminal justice degrees. Online criminal justice degrees can prepare you for positions such as probation officer, prison or rehabilitation social worker, or court mediator. Combining law enforcement training with social work training can have many rewarding career benefits, especially if you are interested in the areas where criminal justice careers, police jobs, and social work overlap with law.

Social Workers Employment

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were almost 600,000 social workers in the U.S. in 2006. Three out of ten social workers are employed by state and local government agencies, while five out of ten work in health care and social assistance industries.

Social Workers Job Description

This career is expected to grow much faster than average in the coming years, with 22 percent job growth expected between 2006 and 2016.

Social Workers Salaries

*The following mean annual salaries are taken from BLS statistics for May of 2008.
Child, family, and school social workers: $43,120
Medical and public health social workers: $47,560
Mental health and substance abuse social workers: $39,630

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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