What Can I Do With This Major?
SOCIAL WORK

PUBLIC WELFARE

Administration and Planning
Case Management
Program Evaluation
Policy Setting
Research

EMPLOYERS
Public welfare agencies
Private social service agencies

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Public welfare is designed to provide services and support for poor, disabled, ill, elderly, or juvenile clients.

Volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, battered women homes, literacy programs, or other social service agencies to get experience.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/CORRECTIONS

Counseling/Therapy
Rehabilitation
Probation
Parole
Youth Services
Victim Assistance

EMPLOYERS
Prisons and correctional facilities
Courts
Police departments
Probation offices
Victim services organizations

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Social workers in corrections focus on rehabilitation of clients.

Obtain experience by volunteering at a corrections facility or victims program such as a rape crisis center.

SCHOOL SOCIAL WORK

Clinical Social Work
Pupil Personnel Services
Student Advocacy
Instruction

EMPLOYERS
Elementary and secondary schools
School districts
Head start centers
Early intervention programs

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
School systems may employ social workers to help students cope with and resolve emotional, developmental, or educational difficulties.

Gain experience with children at daycare centers, camps, or Scouts.

CHILD WELFARE

Case Management
Advocacy
Intervention

EMPLOYERS
Public and private child welfare agencies
Adoption agencies
Foster care organizations
Child daycare

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Child welfare social workers strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children through treatment of the whole family.

Volunteer at daycares, child shelters, camps, YMCA, Scouts, or other agencies that aid youth.

GERONTOLOGY

Advocacy/Intervention
Counseling
Case Management
Programming
Public Policy

EMPLOYERS
Hospitals
Nursing homes
Senior centers
Assisted living
Hospice

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Gerontology involves working with older adults, healthy or ill, and their families.

Get involved with programs or organizations designed for senior citizens.

CLINICAL

Counseling
Therapy

EMPLOYERS
Community mental health centers
Psychiatric hospitals
Residential and day treatment hospitals
Employment assistance programs
Schools
Family service agencies
Private practice

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Clinical social workers are found in a variety of settings that provide therapeutic counseling to clients.

Master of Social Work (MSW) is required.

ADMINISTRATION

Management
Policy Development
Planning

EMPLOYERS
Family service agencies
Child welfare departments
Social service agencies
State mental health departments
Employee assistance programs
Probation departments
Public welfare agencies
Public interest groups
Local, state, and federal government

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, marketing, supervising, operations management, fund raising, and other crucial responsibilities that keep an organization functioning.

Obtain an MSW and gain management experience.

RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

Research
Teaching

EMPLOYERS
Colleges and universities
Research institutes
Local, state and federal government
Advocacy organizations

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Research provides data and statistics important in program implementation and policy development.

Doctor of Social Work (DSW) or Ph.D. usually required.

OCCUPATIONAL

Counseling
Education
Wellness Promotion
Employee Assistance
Organizational Development
Human Resources

EMPLOYERS
Businesses
Corporations
Employee assistance programs
Labor unions

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Occupational social workers help employees to be more productive and satisfied.

DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

Case Management
Program Planning and Evaluation
Research
Policy Development

EMPLOYERS
Community residential homes
State and local agencies
Medical facilities
Schools

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Social workers in this area help people with disabilities to adjust and to lead productive lives.

Volunteer at special needs camps, daycares, schools, or hospitals to gain experience.

HEALTH CARE

Case Management
Counseling
Program Development
Administration
Research

EMPLOYERS
Hospitals
Community health centers
Outpatient clinics
Public health programs
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
Nursing homes
Group homes
Hospice
Veterans Administration hospitals

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Social workers in health care facilitate medical and emotional treatment of patients.

Choose volunteer settings such as hospitals, the American Red Cross, or AIDS agencies to get experience.

COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION

Program and Community Development
Advocacy
Politics
Education
Planning

EMPLOYERS
Advocacy organizations
Development corporations
Community centers
Local, state, and federal government
Associations

DESCRIPTIONS/STRATEGIES
Social workers in this area work with existing organizations to improve conditions for specific groups, enhance quality of living, and involve community members in the political process. Get involved with grassroots causes and community agencies.


GENERAL INFORMATION

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) prepares individuals for entry-level direct practice.

Master of Social Work (MSW) is necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions.

Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) or Ph.D. usually required for positions in teaching, research, and administration. Desirable for some clinical positions and private practice.

Complete a degree from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Programs include practical field experience.

Most states require licensure, certification, or registration.

The field practicum is used to determine suitability for this profession and to provide exposure to various practice settings and clients.

Candidates should possess empathy for others, an appreciation for diversity, and an interest in social change.

Social workers serve a range of client systems (individuals, families, groups, communities) as they attempt to enhance social functioning.

Social work is unique given its dual focus on the person and the environment.

Note: Much of this information was adapted from Choices: Careers in Social Work by the National Association of Social Workers.

Prepared by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (2005) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer

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