According to the Hoosier Hot 50 (a comprehensive listing of the 50 fastest growing, high wage jobs of tomorrow.) Social work is on track for continual growth.

The Bureau of labor statistics reports that overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 19% from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

“Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for health care and social services, but will vary by specialty.

Employment of child, family, and school social workers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Child and family social workers will be needed to work with families to strengthen parenting skills, prevent child abuse, and identify alternative homes for children who are unable to live with their biological families. In schools, more social workers will be needed due to rising student enrollments.

However, growth of this specialty may be limited by budget constraints at all levels of government. Specifically, the availability of federal, state, and local funding will be a major factor in determining the employment growth in schools.

Employment of healthcare social workers is projected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. As baby boomers age, they and their families will require help from social workers to find care, increasing the need for healthcare social workers.

Employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers is projected to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment will grow as more people seek treatment for mental illness and substance use disorders. In addition, drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs rather than to jail. As a result, use of substance abuse treatment programs is expected to grow, increasing demand for these specialists.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Career Possibilities

Social Work is a profession devoted to helping people function at their best in their environment.

Social work can involve providing services or therapy directly to people or working for change to improve social conditions.

  • Aging and Gerontology

    The U.S. population is aging. We live in a country where people over 65 outnumber teenagers. This translates into a tremendous need-and a variety of opportunities-for social work with older persons and their families

    Related Areas
    • Advocacy and Intervention
    • Home Health Care
    • Geriatric Case Management
    • Public Policy
    • Adult Day Care
    • Family Services
  • Child Welfare

    Child welfare social workers are advocates for American’s most silent minority; out nation’s youth.

    Related Areas
    • Family Preservation
    • Child Day Care
    • Child Protection Family
    • Foster Care
    • Group Care Adoption
    • Advocacy and Intervention
  • Public Welfare

    Public welfare provides income and support services to society’s most vulnerable people-children, the ill, the elderly, and the disabled. Although some of these people will always need services, traditional thinking about how to help is changing as the nation debates welfare reform. How to foster self-sufficiency and move people into the mainstream is today’s challenges complicated by an increase in social problems and general decrease in funds.

    Related Areas
    • Income Maintenance
    • Adult Protective Services
    • Housing Services/Management
    • Administration
    • Public Policy
    • Research
  • Justice/Corrections

    Corrections and justice is a field in which a social work can focus on rehabilitation and the constructive use of authority.

    Related Areas
    • Corrections
    • Probation
    • Forensics
    • Youth Services
    • Parole
  • Development Disabilities

    People with developmental disabilities may at some time seek out social services.

    Related Areas
    • Case Management
    • Planning Research
    • Policy Program Evaluation
  • Employment & Occupational Social Work

    Employment and occupational social workers help workers with problems that affect their job performance and satisfaction. Employee assistance programs is a growing practice area.

    Related Areas
    • Clinical Social Work
    • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Treatment
    • Health and Wellness Education
    • Grass Roots Organizing
  • Health Care

    Social workers are needed in hospitals, clinics and other medical and health care settings to facilitate medical and emotional treatment. They are vital members of the health care team, working in concert with doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

    Related Areas
    • Hospital Social Work
    • AIDS Counseling/Education
    • Hospice
    • Counseling/Management
    • Home Health Care
    • Case Management
    • Maternal and Child Health
    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Chemical Dependency
  • Mental Health/Clinical Social Work

    Many people at times in their lives need mental health services to get the most out of life. Clinical social workers are the largest group of professionally trained mental health providers in the United States, supplying more than half of counseling and therapy services. These mental health professionals help people find solutions to problems ranging from inability to cope with stress to severe mental illness.

    Related Areas
    • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Treatment
    • Individual and Family Psychotherapy and Counseling
    • Grief Counseling
    • Victim Service
    • Group Therapy
  • Educational Requirements

    To be a social worker, requires a degree in social work from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.  The undergraduate degree is the Bachelor of Social Work.  Graduate degrees include the Master of Social Work and the Doctorate in Social Work.  A Master of Social Work is required to provide therapy.

    Degree programs involve classroom study as well as practical field experience.  The bachelor’s degree prepares graduates for entry-level work.  The master of Social Work is required for more advanced practice.  A Doctorate is required for doing research or teaching at the university level.

    Related Areas
    • Community Organization
    • International Social Work
    • Management/Administration
    • Policy and Planning
    • Politics
    • Research