Is Social Work the Right Career for You?
Social work is a demanding yet rewarding field. With a career in social work, you can positively impact people’s lives. A social worker leads a purpose-driven and fruitful life. This field has higher growth prospects. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected growth rate of this field over the next decade is 16%, meaning there will be many job opportunities. Hence, a career in this field means high chances of you landing a good job.
If you are juggling between career choices and can’t decide whether social work is the right career for you or not, worry no more. Here are five key characteristics of having a career in social work. Go through them and find out if it’s right for you.
- Have More Control:
In this field, you get to have control over a lot of factors, unlike in many other professions, and get to make your own choices. There is a myriad of choices for you. You get to choose what type of setting you want to work in and what type of population you want to serve. You can work in hospitals, schools, private corporations, governments, law offices, healthcare facilities, universities, NGOs, etc. You can become a social worker with a BSW, but most employers demand a master’s degree. Many renowned platforms offer online MSW programs. If you Google ‘online MSW no GRE‘, you will find programs where you won’t even need a GRE to enroll in MSW.
You can help individuals, divorcing couples, homeless people, survivors of abuse, assault, sexual violence, substance addicts, foster care children, students, families, minorities, etc. As a social worker, you decide to work for anyone from any background, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, community, etc. Furthermore, you can switch career paths easily. If you worked with families before, now you can start working with individuals or start working as a researcher in this field, etc.
- Increasing Demand:
With the changing demographics in the world, the demand for social workers is increasing. As of now, 83% of social workers are women, suggesting this is a good field for women. But this doesn’t leave men out of the equation. Men are also encouraged to become social workers, so other men who need help might feel at ease with them. With diverse populations existing together, the need for social workers from diverse backgrounds and minorities is on the rise. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, by 2050, almost 50% of the American population will come from communities that are currently considered minorities. In 35 years, at least one million immigrants coming from developing countries will start a new life in America, and more population means more need for social workers.
- Merge Different Passions:
There are numerous career paths in this field. A career in social work allows you to help others while not giving up your passion. For example, if you want to excel in the medical field, pursuing a career in social work allows you to do that as well as be a social worker. You can become a Medical Social Worker, Hospice and Palliative Social Worker, or Pediatric Social Worker. You might be more passionate about mental health. In that case, you can work as a Psychiatric Social Worker, Clinical Social Worker, etc. If you prefer to work with a specific type of population, say, elders, you can be a Gerontological Social Worker.
If you prefer working with children or families, you can opt for Child Social Worker or School Social Worker career paths. To work with diverse communities, you can be a Macro Social Worker. If you feel more inclined to the law, you can be a Forensic or Criminal Justice Social Worker. All these options allow you to follow your passion and then use it to help others.
- Enhance Your Skills:
If there is a career that enhances your soft skills and makes you a better person, it is social work. Having a career in this field will lead you to develop a strong skill-set and enhance the skills you already have. You improve your communication skills, as communicating is an integral part of this career. By listening to people’s experiences and problems, you enhance your listening skills. As you analyze the information you gained through communication or observation in a critical, deeper way, you polish your critical thinking skills.
When you manage several tasks and responsibilities, you develop time management and organization skills. Working with people from diverse cultures makes you more thoughtful, respectful, and sensitive towards different communities. You develop traits such as empathy and patience.
- Rough Childhood:
A lot of social workers choose this profession because they had a troubled childhood or experienced a traumatic incident in their life at some point. They want to help other survivors who have gone through the same misery and want to bring them out of their sufferings. If you have, unfortunately, ever experienced any such trouble, you can become a social worker. You will be able to communicate and connect better with vulnerable people since you will be able to relate with them and better understand their circumstances. Not only will you help others, but this will also heal you.
When you don’t want others to suffer like you did, it makes you a vigorous advocate for people’s rights, social equality, and justice.
If you are still asking yourself whether a career in social work is for you or not, then revisit the five points mentioned above. However, if you just need a final assurance, then consider this: if you want to do something for people and speak against injustices and make this world a better place by reducing others’ sufferings, this career might be your calling. This field has tons of career paths, a lot of flexibility in working, and a good growth prospect. So choosing social work as a career can be the perfect choice for you.