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Career Paths

Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by specialization.

Download our social work career map

Opportunities with a BSW degree

We prepare you for any of three career trajectories, and each of those trajectories has multiple options. With your BSW degree, you can enter into generalist social work practice

  • pursue your MSW, or
  • seek career opportunities or graduate education in communications, corrections, education, government, health care, human resources, or many other areas.

As a BSW social worker, you are able to help lots of people: those with disabilities or facing life-threatening illnesses. Those suffering from poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, or mental illness. Those who have experienced domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault.

And you’ll have options in the type of work you do. You might work as a case manager, in a residential program, as a counselor, as an advocate. You can be employed by numerous services and agencies:

  • Advocacy programs
  • Children and youth services
  • Community action agencies
  • Community mental health agencies
  • Criminal justice organizations
  • Developmental disability services
  • Disability support agencies
  • Domestic violence and sexual assault programs
  • Elderly programs
  • Hospitals and hospices
  • Income assistance programs
  • International relief
  • Public health agencies
  • Schools
  • Substance abuse programs

Opportunities with a MSW degree

The MSW program is designed to prepare students for direct practice based on the student’s chosen concentration: Advanced Clinical Practice or Leadership and Social Change. Students who choose Advanced Clinical Practice select one of four focus areas: Children, Youth, and Family Services, Health Care, Mental Health, or Schools. However, there is a great deal of intersection with these focus areas in practice and a student’s concentration or focus area does not necessarily limit them as far as employment opportunities. The one exception to this is the Schools concentration as a student MUST complete the specific requirements of this concentration in order to work as a school social worker.

Possible Career Paths:

Leadership and Social Change

Policy advocate, program director, executive director, political strategist, supervisor, administrator, public service leader, strategic planner, and consultant

Advanced Clinical Practice

Advocacy programs, children and youth services, community action agencies, community mental health agencies, counseling centers, criminal justice organizations, developmental disability services, disability support agencies, domestic violence and sexual assault programs, elderly programs, higher education, hospitals and hospices, income assistance programs, international relief, public health agencies, schools, substance abuse programs


Opportunities with a PhD

The PhD program equips students with tangible skills to use rigorous scientific methods to develop and disseminate knowledge, teach the next generation of social workers, and serve their communities. Grounded in social work values and related theories, our social-justice oriented students are prepared for leadership roles in conducting high impact interdisciplinary work, educating students, and meeting the changing needs of a global social work landscape.

We aim to develop leading scholars who:

  • influence and define knowledge on social work values and related theories;
  • are well versed in qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, and intervention research;
  • have real-world impact on policies and practices commensurate with the profession’s social justice-orientation; and
  • understand and address the changing needs of a global world.


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