If you want an in-demand career that lets you make a real difference in the world, there’s never been a better time to become a social worker. According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, available social work positions are expected to grow 19% over the next decade, a faster rate of growth than most other occupations.
In most cases, you will need a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree to become a social worker.Social Work is a rewarding and important subject area, and individuals who are sufficiently trained are essential to help the well-being of the community and beyond. If you’re wondering whether Social Work is the degree for you, here are five reasons why.
Increase in Demand
Social workers are in demand, because US demographics are changing. First, the American population is getting significantly older. By 2050, 88.5 million Americans will be aged 65 or older, but only 5%of America’s half a million social workers specialize in gerontology. Also, as more people use the healthcare system, hospitals will need more social workers for care coordination and follow-up.
Second, immigration is transforming US demographics. The UN estimates that two million people per year, over the next 35 years, will move from poorer to developed nations; half of those will move to the US. By 2050, current minorities will make up over 50% of the US population. Social workers from diverse populations will be more in demand.
Finally, 83% of social workers are female, and many organizations are actively recruiting male social workers. They worry that male clients in need of assistance may be less comfortable reaching out to female social workers, and they want male clients to have case workers that can understand their unique needs and challenges. If you’re a male looking to become a social worker, it’s a good time to enter the field.
Flexible Career Options
Social workers often start out specializing in a certain client population. As your social work career evolves, you can make changes without completely changing careers. You can work with new populations, perhaps switching from working with disabled children to assisting senior citizens. Also, you could switch environments, transitioning from government agency work to offering counselling as a private practitioner.
Many social workers enjoy good healthcare benefits, and those who work with public agencies can take advantage of pension programs. However, social workers play roles in hospitals, substance abuse clinics, schools, assisted living centres and many other environments. To switch specialties, you could earn new certifications and grow your career with minimal financial investment. Even if you stay in social work your whole life, you can challenge yourself with different types of work.
Top Universities and Colleges offer Social Work Degrees
There are many factors you need to consider before choosing a university or college for your degree in Social Work. Some of the things you should consider are tuition fees, internationality of the higher education institutions, living costs in that city and country, visa (if required), etc.
Perhaps the most important factor is the quality of education, and here is a list with some of the best Social Work universities worldwide:
- University of Michigan, in the U.S.
- Columbia University, in the U.S.
- Lancaster University, in the U.K.
- Glasgow Caledonian University, in the U.K.
- Flinders University, Australia
Opportunity to Make a Difference
Social work is undeniably stressful, because you witness many challenges firsthand. You might have to help families living in poverty, parents with drug problems or young people who are turning to crime. You might also witness mistreatment of senior citizens or meet victims of sexual violence. Social work careers are not for the faint of heart, but they are for those who want to make a difference. Few careers offer you the opportunity to be an advocate and a positive force for change the way that choosing to become a social worker can.
As a social worker, you’d be in demand in a challenging, flexible and rewarding profession. If you’re just starting to plan for college or if you’re a professional looking for a change, there’s never been a better time to give social work a chance.
Social Work is all about People
Social Work focuses on helping people overcome difficult challenges in their life. These include poverty, addiction, unemployment, disability, abuse, mental illness, and many others. Social Work also places a strong emphasis on social justice and equality.
Social Work degrees don’t only focus on supporting people, but on training and cooperating with them to change their environments and create better living conditions. Social workers help community members to develop new skills or improve existing ones, which changes people’s mindset and encourages them to embrace a proactive attitude.