The field of social work is so diverse that there are many combinations of degrees and licensed credentials that can provide you with a highly marketable set of skills.
Social Work at a Glance
Career opportunities will vary widely depending on your level of education, experience and place of employment.
There are three main types of social work:
- Child, family and school social workers
- Medical and public health social workers
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers
Possible positions include:
- Child, family and school social worker
- Correctional officer
- Gerontologist (specialist in working with older adults)
- Juvenile services social worker
- Medical and public health social worker
- Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
- Social and human services assistant
- Substance abuse counselor
Skills that make effective social workers and counselors include:
- Active listening skills
- Effective verbal communication with a variety of people
- A genuine desire to help other people, especially in a crisis situation
- Inductive reasoning and the ability to combine pieces of information into related conclusions
- Sensitivity to recognizing problems or situations when something is likely to go wrong
- Social perceptiveness
- Time management
What Does a Social Worker Do?
The diverse field of social work includes many types of jobs that all have one thing in common: to help people improve their lives in some way. The field includes direct-service social workers, who help people with everyday problems such as job search or applying for government aid, and licensed clinical social workers, who address mental health problems and addictions. Both work in a variety of settings that include government agencies, schools, hospitals and nonprofit organizations. Social and human service assistants:
- Help professionals provide services to clients and families in three major fields: children, families and schools; medical and public health; and mental health and substance abuse
- May help clients identify available benefits and services, develop and conduct educational programs, monitor and keep case records, talk with family members, and confer with medical personnel and other caregivers as to best course of action for the client’s well-being
- In group settings, may help clients master living skills, support counseling or occupational therapy, and develop or lead recreation programs and other activities
Social Services Careers
Careers in social services are challenging but incredibly rewarding. Our dual program emphasis in Substance Abuse Counseling and Social Work ensures that you’ll learn both the theory and the practical skills necessary for your future career.
Why is This a Good Career Bet?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health-related occupations will add the most new jobs to the economy – nearly one-third of the total increase – through 2024.
CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, projects job growth increase through 2024 in Texas of 17 to 25% for various social work positions, and 30% for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors.
What is the career outlook?
- Positions vary widely according to organization and include social work assistant, community support worker, mental health aide, life skills counselor, youth worker, client advocate and gerontology aide
- Job locations include schools, nonprofit and governmental organizations, private agencies, rehabilitation centers, community centers, hospitals, corrections institutions, juvenile services agencies and outpatient clinics
- Working conditions vary widely, from regular office hours to shift and evening work
- Job opportunities will increase with the aging population and the numbers of clients with substance abuse problems and will be greatest for those with continued education and licensed credentials