Social work is a challenging profession, and the goal of social workers is to work with people from various backgrounds.
These professionals strive to address people’s grievances and help them find ways to deal with issues like physical and marital abuse, child custody, drug abuse, and much more.
The job of a social worker is diverse. On one end of the spectrum, they might be rallying support for the housing rights of underprivileged people and demanding policy changes.
On the other end, they could be sitting in their offices listening to stories of people who have suffered marital rape or trauma.
No matter what the case, social workers need the right skills and qualifications to help the public. While you can start your career with a bachelor’s degree, it is much better to aim for a higher qualification.
A higher qualification translates into better job opportunities and greater awareness of responsibilities. Now, let’s look at the reasons in more detail.
1. Multiple Specialization Options
Social work is a diverse career. Therefore, a degree in social work opens up various specialization options for you. You can directly engage with the communities by working in healthcare, child safety, and academia.
This direct engagement is called direct practice social work. A bachelor’s degree is enough to land this type of job.
The next broad specialization that you can choose is clinical social work. A clinical social worker can diagnose and treat patients with mental illnesses and substance abuse patients.
You need more advanced knowledge to work in clinical settings. Therefore, you need a masters in social work. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can enroll in online CSWE accredited MSW programs to expand your knowledge and skills while working.
Online programs are highly convenient because they allow you to continue gaining field experience. You can apply your theoretical learning while working on real-life assignments.
The third and last specialization in social work is macro social work. Specializing in this area means directly engaging with vulnerable groups and marginalized communities.
You will be working on assignments that impact a large group of people. You often collaborate with NGOs, government organizations, and public and private institutions.
2. Social Workers are in High Demand
It is the right time to earn a social work degree because these professionals are in demand. Every day you hear about child abuse cases. Stories of rape victims and survivors come forward, and people fight for the custody of their children. They need the help of social workers.
According to BLS, the number of social workers in 2016 was more than 680,000. It increased to 715,600 in 2020. The job opportunities for competent and qualified social workers constantly grow every year. The growth outlook for social workers for 2020-2030 is 12% faster than average.
This growth trend is not limited to the US only. The Social Services Europe notes in a report that jobs in social work and human resources sectors account for 10-19% of the total employment in countries like Denmark, France, Germany, Belgium, and Finland.
Social work is also one of those jobs that showed positive growth even during the 2008 financial crisis.
So, if you are planning to get a social work degree, numbers vouch for your decision stating that you are on the right track.
3. Social Work Degrees Are Taught in Prestigious Institutions
One of the qualities of highly prestigious degrees is that they are taught in élite institutions. Social work degrees possess this trait. You will find highly prestigious institutions around the globe offering degrees in social work.
So, if you get your social work degree from one of these institutions, you place yourself in an ideal situation to land the role of your choice.
4. Tuition Fees for Social Work Degrees Are Affordable
The need for social workers is increasing. Therefore, the cost is often kept affordable to encourage more students to enroll in this degree. Online programs are even cheaper than on-campus programs.
You don’t need to pay for transportation costs as you take classes from the comfort of your house.
Moreover, for online institutions, the only expense they incur is the salary of their teaching staff.
Reduction in the overall expense of maintaining an extensive physical infrastructure trickles down. It helps students because the tuition cost of online degrees is considerably less.
5. Gain Transferable Skills
Social work degree prepares you to work not just in the social work sector but in other careers too. The skills developed during a social degree program help you develop some crucial transferable skills that employees across the industries value.
Skills like communication, problem-solving ability, critical thinking, teamwork, and team management are needed in all fields and sectors.
Businesses are hiring social work graduates to initiate corporate social responsibility programs to give back to the community and, at the same time, build a strong connection with their local communities.
6. Social Work Makes You Empathetic and Contented
As a social worker, you engage with different people regardless of their social status, culture, religion, race, color, caste, and social standing. You care for their grievances and needs indiscriminately. Therefore, a social work degree does not just develop you professionally but also plays a role in your personality development.
You learn to engage with and assess people who are very different from your society and the social status you enjoy. This process begins when you develop empathy for them.
You cannot perform the job of a social worker if you are not empathetic towards others. This empathy makes you a better problem solver and a better person overall.
Professionally, empathetic social workers can perform their job more effectively. Studies have also shown that patients who work with compassionate caregivers such as therapists and social workers display improved treatment responses.
Moreover, working with people who have been through traumatic situations and are deprived of necessities and rights makes you thankful for what you have in your life.
You try to reflect on your life positively and feel more contented and happy.
7. Social Work Degree Increases Your Earning Potential
Higher education in the field of social work increases your earning potential. Due to the complexity and challenging nature of their job, including working in far-flung areas, marginalized populations, vulnerable groups, and minorities, social workers often command a better salary.
According to Glassdoor, the average yearly wage of qualified social workers is $92,718. The salary depends on your experience, your achievements in the field, and your employer (public or private sector).
The bottom line is that the wages of professional social workers are very competitive.
Social work is not just emotionally and morally gratifying but also mentally satisfying and rewarding. Working for the betterment of grieving families and marginalized minority groups makes your job fulfilling and meaningful.
However, the more qualified and competent you are, the better you can perform your job.
Therefore, earning a higher education degree is rewarding professionally and personally, and ultimately it can be financially rewarding too.