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Becoming a social work professional enables you to work with many groups in your community, including the elderly, schoolchildren, and individuals in need of mental health support. 

Chances are, you’ve considered a career in social work because you want to make a difference in your community and help those in need. The good news is that many career paths enable you to do just that with a bachelor’s degree in social work.

What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work?

Social workers serve communities in many ways—as advocates, as resources for finding additional care and support, and as a lifeline to those who may have begun to lose hope. Given all that social workers do, it’s no surprise that four out of five people have a favorable opinion of social workers, whether they’ve personally worked with a social worker or not.

Although many social work career paths require a master’s degree in social work, such as a therapist or licensed clinical social worker, there’s a lot you can do with a bachelor’s in social work.

Here are some of the many available jobs for people with a bachelor's degree in social work:

Caseworker

Caseworkers advocate for individuals in need of mental health and other health care support. They monitor individuals’ living situations and daily coping habits. They also help coordinate care with other professionals.

Mental Health Technician

Mental health technicians work with patients in their homes or inpatient and outpatient facilities to evaluate their mental health and connect them with available services and solutions. They can also lead patients in activities to improve their mental health.

Substance Abuse Counselor

A substance abuse counselor works with people struggling with addiction, either individually or in group therapy. They may help by encouraging patients to adopt healthy coping mechanisms, providing consistent accountability, and connecting them with other community resources

Probation Officer

Working primarily with individuals on legal probation, probation officers meet regularly with these individuals to help them fulfill their probation requirements. They also provide job search assistance and keep courts updated about the probationer’s progress.

Researcher

Social work researchers may work in a clinical or educational environment and assist scientists, research professors, or organizations engaged in research on a social work topic. They may conduct interviews, surveys, and fieldwork to supplement their research.

Health Educator

Health educators teach programs covering topics such as mental health improvement and addiction management. They can work in hospitals, nonprofits, and community centers and help connect groups and communities to other health care professionals.

Community Outreach Worker

Community outreach professionals work in health care and community centers with individuals of all ages and abilities. For many, community outreach workers are the first point of contact to help them overcome struggles related to housing, addictions, job searches, and food availability.

School Counselor

Working as a guidance counselor or under the supervision of a licensed social worker, school counselors help students manage challenges such as learning difficulties, social interactions, and time management. They often work one-on-one with students and may also communicate with parents and other caregivers.

What You Learn in a Bachelor of Social Work Program

One reason there are so many career path options after earning a bachelor’s degree in social work is the breadth of knowledge and skills you’ll learn in your degree program. For example, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program from MVNU Online offers a comprehensive selection of courses and in-person field experiences that will prepare you to pursue several career options.

The program is accredited by the highly regarded Council on Social Work Education and allows you to complete your online education while working and managing other obligations. Some classes you can take in this program include:

  • Analysis of Social Policy
  • Social Justice and Advocacy
  • Social Work Practice with Individuals
  • Social Work Practice with Groups
  • Social Work Practice with Families
  • Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities

Upon graduating from the BSW program, you’ll also be prepared to pursue your state social work license. States vary in the licenses they confer to social work professionals, and each license qualifies you to perform a specific kind of work. In Ohio, for example, you could pursue the Social Work Assistant (SWA), Licensed Social Worker (LSW), or Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA) designations after earning your Bachelor of Social Work degree. 

Social workers with SWA, LSW, and CDCA designations can pursue the following positions:

  • Potential jobs SWA license holders: Caseworker or case manager, eligibility coordinator, facility intake specialist, crisis intervention specialist
  • Potential jobs for LSW license holders: School social worker, geriatric social worker, substance abuse social worker, child and family social worker
  • Potential jobs for CDCA license holders: Chemical dependency counselor assistant, mental health counselor, psychiatric technician (may require additional licensing)

Advantages of Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work

When considering a social work career, it’s helpful to think not only about the jobs you can do with a bachelor’s in social work, but also what you can achieve. As a social work professional, you can look forward to a challenging career that meets your expectations for rewarding, well-paid work and makes a difference. Benefits include:

Solid Earning Potential

Bachelor’s degree in social work salaries vary according to the work you perform, your experience level, and other factors. Consider the 2022 median annual earnings for some of the roles you might consider pursuing as a BSW degree holder, as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Positive Career Outlook

Social work professionals are among the most sought-after health care professionals. They work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, government centers, nonprofits, and other settings. Given their role in helping individuals at all stages of life, social workers enjoy stable employment and a positive career outlook. According to the BLS, overall social worker employment is expected to grow 7 percent through 2032. Some social worker categories will grow even faster, such as health care social workers (10 percent) and mental health and substance abuse social workers (11 percent). Employment for these occupations is expected to outpace the employment growth of all other occupations (3 percent).

Community Impact

In the words of the National Association of Social Workers, “Social workers help clients deal not only with how they feel about a situation, but also with what they can do about it.” When you pursue a career in social work, you’ll help people overcome struggles related to their general and mental health so they can live their lives with more joy and independence. With each child and adult you help, you also strengthen whole communities.

Get Started with Your Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work Today!

Beginning your social work career with a bachelor’s degree allows you to determine the areas of social work that interest you most. Once you identify the jobs you can do with a bachelor's degree in social work and obtain some work experience, you’ll be in a much better position to decide where to take your career in the long term. You could even continue directly into a Master of Social Work program

In the meantime, focusing on where to get your bachelor of social work degree is an excellent next step. Check out our e-book, Earning Your Accredited Online Social Work Degree, and discover why the flexibility of an online BSW degree program may be a great fit for you!

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