How to Choose a Social Worker Major: Degree Research Guide

Being a social worker is an important job because it allows you to help people through difficult times, while also ensuring that vulnerable people, such as children and older adults, are protected from harm. Social work is all about social justice and makes a real difference in people’s lives.

In this article, you will learn how to choose a social work major and what social worker degree is required for prospective students to begin their social work careers. If you think this is the right career path for you, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the best social worker majors.

Why choose a career in social work?

People choose social work careers because they want to help people and fight for social justice. It is versatile as a wide range of career opportunities are available at home and abroad in government agencies or in the private sector.

Social workers can be therapists, health advocates, mental health professionals, policy analysts, or teachers with special needs. Social workers join demanding work environments to help people who face difficult challenges, and they often find themselves assisting in crises or emergencies, such as neglect or abuse.

Social Worker Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that overall employment growth for social workers should increase by 12 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than the national average. Over the next ten years, an average of 78,300 social worker jobs should be available due to the need to replace people who change professions or leave the workforce for other reasons, such as retirement.

Satisfaction with the work of a social worker

Reports from Glassdoor show social workers gave their jobs a 4.2 out of 5 stars. Of everyone who participated in the survey, 76 percent of social workers said they would recommend social work to a friend, and 58 percent are optimistic about the future of the field. Over the past 12 months, this rating has improved.

Social Worker Salary

Career Minimum education level Average salary
Psychologist master diploma $80,980
Dean master diploma $51,609
case worker Bachelor’s degree $48,284
Social worker in health care High School degree $40,808
nanny High School degree $33,775

How to Choose a Social Work Major: Tips for Selecting the Right Social Work Degree

Tip 1: Do your research

Research is an important factor to consider before deciding on the best social work major. It is critical to do thorough research on the institution and the specific major you wish to pursue. It is critical to confirm that the institution is accredited, has a solid reputation and offers social work programs with an appropriate focus on what you want to study.

Tip 2: Keep your budget in mind

You should consider your budget when selecting a social work major. Despite how expensive education is, many top social work programs offer exceptional financial aid packages, including scholarships. Some schools for master’s and doctoral programs also offer scholarships that pay for students’ study with the understanding that students work in teaching or research.

Tip 3: Assess the education level

The three types of degrees available to social work students are a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctorate. With a BSW program you can get started as a case manager or case worker. With a Master of Social Work (MSW) you qualify for many more jobs. A PhD is generally recommended for students who want to become a researcher or professor.

Tip 4: Take a closer look at the school

After choosing the school where you want to get your social work degree, make sure that it offers much more than the course requirements. Also check if the faculty has links with social service bureaus. Connections are essential for future networking, especially for social work graduates.

Tip 5: Think about the future

Make sure you pursue the area of ​​social work that resonates with you the most by asking yourself why you’re getting into it. This way you can determine which social work training suits you best. With the many social work positions available, you can choose to work in a clinical setting, nonprofit, public school, or your own private practice.

What Social Work Degree: Best Majors for Social Work Career?

People get their social work degrees through in-person or online programs

Children’s Advocacy and Policy

A career in mental health, social work, or other social work professions is possible for child advocacy professionals. Graduates work for government agencies, law firms, school districts, nonprofits, and community groups. The focus of this field is to protect children from child abuse and provide them with resources for development and rehabilitation.

  • Associated career paths: Mental health counselor, community organizer, school social worker
  • Education levels: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Social work

Social work majors are usually available in jobs that require listening to what others say, taking the time to understand what they are saying, asking relevant questions, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. For professions related to this major, successful communication with others, being aware of people’s reactions, and understanding why they react the way they do are all necessary skills.

  • Associated career paths: Healthcare Social Worker, Social and Community Services Manager, Substance Abuse Social Worker
  • Education levels: Associate Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Human services

Human Services encompasses a broad study of human behavior and practical field experience to discover how to improve people’s lives and promote human rights. Human services generalists can work in both public and private agencies and organizations. Because this major requires you to interact with people of all backgrounds, build trusting relationships with your clients, and build communication and interpersonal skills.

  • Associated career paths: Social and Community Service Manager, Social and Human Service Assistant, Community and Social Service Specialist
  • Education levels: Associate Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Public Policy

With a public policy major, you can explore behind-the-scenes politics to learn how and why politicians make public policy. Students interested in public policy should be interested in politics and have excellent interpersonal and active listening skills. It is necessary to work in groups, give speeches, solve problems, write for a large number of audiences and network politically.

  • Associated career paths: Social scientists, medical and health services manager, legislator
  • Education levels: Associate Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Community organization and advocacy

A major in community organization and advocacy will prepare you to achieve significant social change that will benefit thousands of people in your community. Because you will be gathering others to participate in social change efforts, effective public relations and media communication skills are crucial to this major.

  • Associated career paths: Social and Community Service Manager, Community and Social Service Specialist
  • Education levels: Associate Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree

Social work majors help you decide which areas of social work you are interested in. Choosing your key courses will help you make decisions and prepare you for entry-level positions. Below are some of the other social work related majors.

  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Human development
  • Sociology and Social Sciences

Is a career in social work right for me?

Yes, a career in social work is right for you. It has the greatest impact on seniors, women, children and the community. Social work is a great career for you if you enjoy helping others and supporting equality, social progress and economic justice.

If you want to become a social worker, you need to have a social education to succeed. Social workers have set an outstanding example for their dedication to activism, family services, social justice, child welfare and helping communities in need. Consider a career in social work if you want a job with meaning, fulfillment, action, diversity, and a wide variety of options.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Major for Social Worker

What education do I need to work as a social worker?

To work as a social worker, you typically need a master’s degree, although in some jurisdictions, social workers can earn a bachelor’s degree. It is imperative that clinical social workers have an advanced degree in social work.

How can I advance my career in social work?

By gaining relevant experience and obtaining high-level diplomas, you can strengthen your profession as a social worker. You can take social work courses to learn about things like public health, behavioral disorders, criminal justice, and more.

Is it worth pursuing a master’s degree in social work?

Yes. A master’s degree in social work is a requirement for social workers who wish to practice clinically. MSWs have a competitive advantage over BSWs in job search and clinical practice or setting up an independent practice.

How Much is Continuing Education Required to Maintain a Social Work Permit?

The cost of continuing education to maintain your license as a social worker depends on the state where they work. In most states, continuing education courses are required for at least 10 hours per year. Some states require specific courses on ethics or domestic violence.

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