5 Brilliant & Rewarding Career Paths Social Workers Should Pursue

The social service discipline is renowned for its meaningful and impactful background. Social workers are the foundation of our social values who work hard to hold the community together. As a profession, social work offers diverse career opportunities that are monetarily strong and provide valuable contributions to society. 

Social work requires a variety of skills ranging from critical thinking to complex problem-solving. These skills and more allow social workers to seek alternative career paths that are some of the highest-paid in the field. 

The ongoing pandemic has made it clear that the world needs social workers and other healthcare professionals now more than ever. Due to a surge in demand for health and social workers, many brilliant career paths and specialization fields emerged for both professions.

If you’re an aspiring social worker or love volunteering, here are some rewarding career paths for social workers you should look into. 

Social and community service manager

Supporting public well-being is a huge part of what social workers stand for. A social worker who has outstanding knowledge and skills in understanding communities and managing their well-being can take up the role of a Social and Community Service Manager. 

As a Community Service Manager, you’ll be responsible for supervising and coordinating community organizations and social service programs. 

In this role, you’ll be working directly with stakeholders to identify and initiate programs and services related to community well-being. The typical education required for this role is a bachelor’s degree in social work, but it is best to aim for advanced education. 

A distance learning social work masters degree catalyzes career growth and ensures long-term financial stability during current pandemic-stricken times. 

In addition, social workers with a Bachelor’s or Master’s in Public Health, Business Administration, or a related field can also aim for this role. 

Job Outlook

The career growth for this position is expected to double in the coming years. The growth rate is projected at 15% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for most occupations. 

Median pay

A social and community service manager is expected to earn up to $69,600 annually. 

Professor of social work

Teaching social work courses in universities is one of the highest-paid career paths for social workers. A professor of social work has the primary responsibility of designing, developing, and teaching curriculum plans to ensure student engagement and stimulate learning. 

The role involves research and teaching, which may also evolve into assessing student coursework, providing academic counseling, and maintaining class records. You may be asked to participate in faculty governance, student discipline, and the development of new programs. 

However, social workers must hold a doctoral degree at least in the related field to earn this position. As a social worker pursuing this career path, you may also be required to complete and conduct research to keep up with current trends and discoveries. 

Job outlook

The job outlook for professors in social work is exceptionally brilliant. It is projected at a 15% growth rate in the next decade. 

Median pay

Professionals in this position earn a handsome salary that can average up to $85,000 annually. 

Social science researcher

We often overlook the importance of research & development in every field. While most social workers may be running after exciting and physically impactful positions, research in social work also holds a critical role. 

Research in fields like social work is fundamental. It evaluates the effectiveness of current practice and finds advanced ways to achieve better results. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of changing contexts in practice as we faced a situation for which the healthcare industry was not ready. 

Research in social work allows for collecting quantifiable information from every field area to amend the current social policies according to contemporary settings. There is a great need for data in social work, and that is why social science research can be a rewarding path for you. 

Social work researchers are also responsible for guiding, informing, and improving the delivery of treatments and services. 

Job outlook

The outlook is average for the next few years, which may improve. 

Median pay

Social science researchers can earn an average salary of up to $63,000. 

Medical Discharge Planner

Discharge planning is defined as “continuity of care” where patients receive assistance in developing a healthcare plan. It is a crucial part of case management in social services. It is there to ensure that the patient receives ongoing healthcare maintenance after being discharged from the hospital. 

Social workers in this position play a significant role in mental health and healthcare case management. It also involves offering patients follow-up healthcare services by connecting them and their families to relevant resources. 

It’s easier to discharge patients when they are no longer “sick enough” to stay in the hospital. The real struggle comes when the patient must recover on their own. This is where medical discharge planners can prove to be helpful in the general welfare of patients. 

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics hasn’t published any data regarding discharge planners yet. 

Median pay

Discharge planners can earn a whopping $58,000 per year. 

School social worker 

Children in schools are prone to social stigmas, negativity, and violence now more than ever. They are victims of many social forces which affect families as well. Not only in schools but children may be subjected to instability both physically and emotionally due to family matters. 

The interference can cause distress to a child in many ways and can affect their academic performance. A school social worker is a stabilizing force that helps the school, students, and their families to identify and understand the factors which interfere with learning. 

Their primary role is to solve general and special education students behavioral, emotional, and social problems. Any student having problems in the community, at home, or with other students can find a helping hand in the form of a school social worker. 

It is a gratifying career that helps young children cope with difficult situations in life at tender ages. 

Job outlook

The growth rate for this position is expected to grow by 19% within the next decade. 

Median pay

School social workers can earn up to $48,000/year. 

Conclusion

Social work is a rewarding field that yields results in the long term. Because of this field, many socially challenged people in the community can find a second chance in life. 

Since the world needs more social workers, numerous career opportunities have opened in this field.

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