Top Areas of Social Work for Today's MSW
We Asked, You Answered: Top Career Areas for MSW Students & Graduates
The University of New England asked our MSW online students and all other visitors to our Facebook page which career areas were of the greatest interest. Here are the specializations that were mentioned most frequently as exciting paths to pursue within the profession:
Returning to the home front is not always a smooth transition. Few career options for social workers can provide the depth of complexity and rawness of reality as the opportunity to serve America’s heroes.
Social workers play a key role within the Veteran’s Health Administration, helping veterans get the services they need to work through problem areas. Some vets have marital and family concerns, finding that the people they left behind are different now. Other veterans come home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or debilitating injuries which can escalate into depression, substance abuse or even violence. There are also financial worries when VA benefits get bogged down by red tape.
Aging & Illness
This sub-specialty has emerged in response to an aging population. Medical advancements make it possible to manage chronic conditions for greater longevity, but that doesn’t necessarily mean good health for seniors. Many elderly are also struggling with financial issues, as they outlive their money.
Another area that goes in tandem with geriatric social work is that of palliative care. Helping people face end of life issues is not an easy career choice. It takes a special person to comfort the fears of patients and their families. Social workers can also become integral members of oncology care teams, supporting patients in all stages of illness and recovery.
Women & Families
Women and families living in poverty make up a large population of those in need of social services. There are also women of all economic strata who are hiding the shadows, embarrassed that they (and their children) are living in abusive conditions. Helping women elevate themselves from negative situations – through employment and empowerment – can be deeply rewarding.
Child welfare has always been paramount in the social work profession. With millions of children living in poverty and other at-risk conditions, homeless, abuse and neglect are constant specters. School social workers are often the first line of defense for getting children into a better situation through family counseling or via out-of-home care by foster families.