Written by Alyssa Walker

Looking for a career where you get to work with lots of people, listen to their stories, and make a positive social impact? Consider social work. What is it? It’s big. It spans the fields of psychology, medicine, social justice, law, mental health, human services, and education.

Social workers help individuals and communities in need overcome crippling social issues so that they can lead productive lives. Social workers work on macro-problems, such as abuse, addiction, and poverty, on a micro-level. They work for hospitals, schools, community centers, law offices, mental health clinics, clinical settings, private practices, religious organizations, and other places that work with people dealing with tough issues.

Want to make the world a better place? Here are four reasons to study social work, and one great place to do it.

1. Change the world!

Social workers change the world, one human at a time. By improving the lives of individuals, social workers make the world a better, brighter place for those in it. Why? Helping people escape poverty, find jobs, overcome addiction, take care of their children, improve their mental health, get a better education -- whatever it is that you focus on -- adds stronger, positive people who want to contribute to the world to make it better.

2. Fantastic career opportunities

There are so many options for social workers that you can choose where you want to work and the type of population you want to serve.

Clinical social workers are the biggest group of professionally trained providers who offer counseling and therapy services. Some clinical social workers are generalists and they treat clients facing a variety of issues. Others specialize in areas like child welfare, family practice, substance abuse, rural poverty, and addiction. Clinical social workers work either on-site, or make home visits to clients, typically through an organization like a hospital or community welfare center. At the clinical level, social workers in the US require a minimum of a master’s degree in social work (MSW) and state licensure.

There’s a high demand for social workers, too. In 2016, the US had over 680,000 trained clinical social workers, most of whom specialized in helping children and families. They predict that by 2026, the need for clinical social workers in healthcare will increase by 20 percent, and the need for substance abuse social workers will grow by 19 percent.

3. Great starting salary

Glassdoor reports that the average starting salary for social workers is about $55,283 per year. With an MSW, that number will likely rise.

Salaries with an MSW range from $34,000 to over $110,000 per year. While the salaries vary by specialization and geography, MSW graduates have bright career prospects and increased salary potential.

While social workers work hard, they have a lot of flexibility in terms of where they work and they types of work they want to do. There are ample opportunities for growth and advancement in the field!

4. You can study online

Remote study and careers in social work are the wave of the future. Does that mean you don’t meet with people? On the contrary. It just means that you do all your office work from wherever you choose -- home, a VW van, your sailboat, whatever -- and arrange to meet with clients at locations that work for you.

If you work for a social work organization, you can use their space as a home base, but you’re certainly not tethered to it. Emails, faxes, documentation -- all electronic. People -- up front and personal.

Online study works the same way. You still have all the clinical experiences, work with lots of people, and do the work -- but your coursework is all online.

If that sounds good to you, there’s a perfect place you can study…

Where should you get your online social work degree?

The online MSW at Adelphi University offers a rigorous, top-ranked program that combines decades of experience and expertise in the field. While the majority of coursework is online, Adelphi University offers two annual on-campus experiences. These create the in-person community among its students that the field of clinical social work requires. Many students report that these on-campus trainings are the highlight of their study programs.

Adelphi’s online program remains committed to its student-centered philosophy. The program offers flexible, part-time options and prepares all students for licensure. All students participate in experiential learning grounded in academics, robust professional development, personal instruction and advising -- both online and in-person -- and engaging, interactive online work.

What are you waiting for? Attend one of the US’s top online MSW programs and get your social work career going!

Learn more about Adelphi University

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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