Career paths are often a lot wider and more varied than we might expect. It’s almost certainly never as simple as study a social work degree to become a social worker. Or go to law school to become a lawyer. Most industries have many more options. There are specialist routes, jobs that require further training, different roles in different settings and further skills to take on higher positions. Someone specializing in family law has a very different day to day job than a conveyancer.
In most professions, you’ll have to do an essential, standard degree first. To make sure key knowledge is complete before you move on to any more in-depth learning ready to take on your job of choice. Doctors have to qualify as doctors and even get some on the job experience before they can even think about becoming an oncologist or a surgeon. It’s a great way of doing things because not only does it mean that your knowledge is full and deep, it also means that you’ve always got options. If you want to change specialties in the future, you don’t have to start again; you just have to do some extra training and learning. It also means that you can be more understanding of the job in general, and of people’s needs.
Social work is one of these careers. Once you’ve qualified as a social worker and completed your education and training, there are many doors open to you. Some, you can go straight into and start helping others straight away and others you may need to head back to school or take courses at work to progress to. If you are wondering where a social work degree could take you in the future, whether you’ve already graduated, or you are just starting to consider your higher education options, here is a look at some of the best social work jobs out there.
Child Welfare Social Worker
Child welfare social workers are those that help children that are living in the worst situations. Those that are facing abuse at home or school, those whose parents can’t cope, and those with severe illnesses and disabilities whose parents aren’t equipped to look after them alone. These social workers possibly see some of the worst things, and it certainly isn’t a job that just anyone can do.
But, they are able to help. They may take the decision to remove the child from their home, either temporarily or permanently. They then find the child a new home. In other cases, they work to support the parents and families, to help them in ways that allow them to stay together. Child welfare workers often get criticism for tearing families apart, but in most cases, this is actually what they are working to avoid.
Medical Social Worker
Medical or public health social workers work in any setting where healthcare and medical attention is provided. This could be a hospital, doctors surgery, care home or old peoples home among others. A medical social worker makes sure their clients are being cared for properly. They help them, and their careers make the right decisions and can help with paperwork and care plans. They often spend time coordinating between patients, care professions, and families.
Gerontology Social Worker
The 65+ age bracket is the fastest-growing demographic. It’s thought that by 2030 19% of the population of the USA will be over 65. We’re living for longer, and most of us are staying healthy for a long time. But, even with the best care at some point we become old, and we need help looking after ourselves.
Gerontology social workers help seniors in a range of different ways. They help them to maintain relationships and to get out more. They help them to make decisions about their futures and their healthcare, and they also help them to understand the changes that they face, both physically and mentally as well as the changes going on in the world around them so that things don’t pass them by. Gerontology social workers do an important job in making sure the senior population still have the quality of life that they deserve.
Direct Services Social Workers
Direct services social workers provide help for those that need it when they need it. This could be families, individuals, those in need of immediate help and those that are normally fine on their own but have hit an unexpected rough patch and need some support.
Direct service workers help people to get back on their feet. They can work in a variety of settings including hospitals, welfare agencies, hospices, shelters and community developments.
Hospice Care Social Worker
Hospices often provide care for patients in the last six months of their life. They work to make sure their patients are comfortable, happy and pain-free. Social workers can work in this setting helping to make sure that patients and their families can get the healthcare, help, and support that they need at this traumatic time.
Substance Abuse Social Worker
Substance abuse is a massive problem in our society. People from all walks of life are struggling to overcome addiction. Substance abuse social workers work in prisons, hospitals, community centers, healthcare practices, juvenile facilities, foster care offices and rehabilitation centers.
They work with people to help them overcome their addiction. They can arrange healthcare and counseling as well as interventions. They can also help people to deal with related issues such as poverty and abuse as well as providing education and emotional support.
All of these social work jobs are popular. It’s a field that many people are interested in entering. Life as a social worker can be challenging, without doubt, and there will be many problems to face and difficult decisions to make. But, it’s a job that allows you to help those that need it most, every single day. In all of these jobs, you will be using your time to improve the lives of others. It’s a wonderful, rewarding and uplifting career that gives you a chance to make a very real difference to the lives of those that you work with.