Alternative Jobs to Pursue with a Social Work Degree
Social work is one of the most rewarding career fields for individuals who want to personally impact others and enact change in their communities. However, earning a social work degree does not necessarily mean you must seek a clinical position. Fulfilling jobs for social work graduates exist in many areas, from the healthcare industry to academic institutions. If you are interested in this career path, discover five alternative options from MVNU.
Social Work: A Versatile Degree
Students who study social work learn transferable skills that many employers value, such as leadership, problem-solving, planning, and research. They also understand how to communicate compassionately and effectively with different populations. These and other skills enable social work professionals to manage teams, instruct students, develop educational material, and help individuals navigate behavioral challenges. With a diverse assortment of talents, these individuals can find employment in virtually any business or institution.
What Can I Do with a Social Work Degree?
Depending on your education and experience, you can pursue multiple non-clinical career avenues with a social work degree. Jobs for social work graduates vary significantly, but some rewarding positions include:
Social and Community Service Manager
If you are interested in social services but want less direct interaction with patients, consider becoming a social and community service manager. These professionals organize social programs that support special groups and supervise the workers who deliver these services. Community service managers typically focus on children, veterans, and other specific populations. They are also often tasked with helping people overcome debilitating struggles, such as chronic hunger or substance abuse.
Along with the emotional rewards that come with helping others, many community service managers find financially rewarding positions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for these specialists was $69,600 in mid-2020. The job outlook for community service managers appears positive, as well. Experts project a 15% growth in job opportunities through 2030.
Human Resources Manager
Human resources jobs are ideal for social work professionals who wish to work in the corporate world. HR professionals require the strong communication skills of social workers to train new employees, settle inter-office disputes, and support assistance programs. One of the most rewarding HR positions is the human resources manager. This specialist oversees the HR department and may counsel executives on strategic goals for the business.
Since human resources managers hold more responsibilities, salaries tend to be higher. In May 2020, the median annual wage for an HR manager was $121,220. Those who manage companies and enterprises earned approximately $10,000 more on average. Positions for HR managers are expected to grow 9% through 2030.
Mental Health Professional
Social workers often have vast experience in helping individuals navigate behavioral challenges, making them well-equipped to serve as mental health therapists with supervision . These therapists offer strategies and treatment options to help people cope with mental illnesses and connect them with resources for additional support. They may also communicate with families to help them better understand a loved one’s condition. Therapists may also have the opportunity to educate communities about mental health challenges.
Mental health therapists earned an average annual salary of $47,660 in 2020, but those working in hospitals and government institutions tend to make more annually. Jobs for these professionals are expected to increase 23% through 2030, which is substantially faster than the median growth for all occupations.
Every field of study needs talented instructors who can prepare students for successful careers. Social workers teach general and specialized courses and have multiple opportunities to conduct academic research projects in colleges. Typically, a master’s degree or Ph.D. is necessary to become a professor, but the additional education can pay off. On average, social work instructors at post-secondary institutions make $71,570 each year.
Many social workers also choose to become high school teachers, school social workers, or guidance counselors, using their skills to educate upcoming generations. Social workers have advanced communication and leadership abilities that help inspire young students to excel in their studies and achieve their post-graduation goals. Secondary teaching careers can be financially worthwhile, as well. In May 2020, high school teachers made a median annual salary of $62,870.
Health Education Specialist
If you have a background in clinical social work, consider pursuing a career as a health education specialist. These professionals work in healthcare facilities and offer techniques to patients who want to live healthier lives. They often develop educational material and create programs to promote better wellness in their communities. While some health educators take a more comprehensive approach to their work, others focus on serving specific vulnerable groups, such as the homeless or the elderly.
Health education specialists earned a median annual salary of $56,500 in 2020, but those in government and hospital positions may earn more. Additionally, job opportunities for health educators are projected to rise 17% until 2030, which is much faster than the average for all careers.
Earn Your Social Work Degree at MVNU
While the career options for social workers are diverse, many alternative positions require advanced degrees and specific certifications. If you would like to pursue social work but do not have much educational experience, an ideal place to start is a bachelor’s degree program. At MVNU, we offer an online Bachelor of Social Work program that prepares students to seek numerous careers after graduation or pursue a graduate degree.
This accredited online program follows the same structure as the on-campus version but grants adult learners the flexibility necessary to fit coursework into their busy schedules. Furthermore, our Christian foundation enables students to seek higher education at an institution that aligns with their personal values and beliefs. Contact us today to learn more about our online social work degree program.
Online Social Work Programs
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