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Social Work and Human Services

The United States faces an unprecedented demand for skilled social workers. While private companies and health maintenance organizations take on the challenge of preventing and treating mental illness, a variety of private and public organizations employ social work professionals to help citizens cope with a variety of problems. Social work is a profession committed to the pursuit of social justice, to the development of each individual, group, and community in society.

A Social Work Degree: Teaching You to Help Others

From unemployment to abuse, social workers try to stem the tide of a variety of social maladies. Accredited degree program in human services in social work can provide students with the critical skills they need to help people overcome their challenges. Social work students learn how to cope with the potential stress of their careers, while solving problems in their specialty fields. Students traditionally explore the elements of social problems, their causes, their solutions, and their impact on human society.

Career Opportunities in Social Work

Social workers are typically individuals who care about people and society, and have a genuine desire to make a difference. Careers can be found in public agencies, private business, hospitals, schools, police departments, and other fascinating workplaces. Social workers can be managers, supervisors, political leaders, researchers, analysts, and more.

Below are some common occupational fields of those who graduate with a social work degree may find employment:

  • Child, family, and school
  • Medical and public health
  • Mental health and substance abuse

Social Work Career Training: Learning the Necessary Skills

While a bachelor's degree is typically sufficient to enter the social work field, a master's degree is usually required for health care and clinical positions. Degree programs offer regular classroom studies, but applicable field experience can give you more knowledge and a better understanding of the field. Typical studies may include human behavior, research methods, policy analysis, social justice, general psychology, and more. Aside from the technical knowledge, social workers usually learn to deal with people on a daily basis and be comfortable in such interactive situations.

Social Work Salary and Earnings Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for social workers should continue to increase between 2006 and 2016. The most recent data notes there should be a 22 percent increase in job opportunities for social workers during that time. In addition to positive job growth, individuals with a degree in social work can also command solid annual earnings.

In 2007, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that social work professionals earned a median annual salary of $45,800, depending on their specialty. The lowest 10 percent earned $26,380, and the top 10 percent earned more than $71,940. Some of the top employing states included New York, Delaware, and Alaska, while the top paying states included South Dakota, Mississippi, and New Jersey.

Social work jobs should continue to increase, as agencies expand to handle more cases every day. According to the BLS, opportunities may be better in rural areas where it is tougher to attract and retain qualified staff. While cities and metropolitan areas may offer more training programs, this may result in much more competition when searching for jobs.

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