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What can I do with this degree?

AreasEmployersDescriptions/Strategies

Public Welfare

  • Administration and Planning
  • Case Management
  • Program Evaluation Policy
  • Setting Research


  • Public welfare agencies
  • Private social service agencies


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

Criminal Justice / Corrections

  • Counseling/Therapy
  • Rehabilitation Probation
  • Parole
  • Youth Services
  • Victim Assistance



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



Social workers in corrections focus on assessment and rehabilita¬tion of clients.

School of Social Work

  • Clinical Social Work
  • Pupil Personnel Services
  • Higher Education Administration


  • Elementary and secondary schools School districts
  • School districts
  • Head start centers
  • Early intervention programs
  • Colleges and Universities


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

Child Welfare

  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Intervention


  • Public/private child welfare agencies
  • Adoption agencies
  • Foster care organizations
  • Child daycare


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

Gerontology

  • Advocacy/Intervention
  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Programming
  • Public Policy


  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Senior centers


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

Clinical

  • Counseling
  • Therapy


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


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

Administration

  • Management
  • Policy Development
  • Planning


  • 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
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Colleges and Universities


Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, operations man-agement, fund-raising and other crucial responsibilities that keep organizations functioning.

Research and Education

  • Research
  • Teaching


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


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

Occupational

  • Counseling
  • Educator
  • Wellness Promotion
  • Employee Assistance
  • Organizational Development
  • Human Resources


  • Businesses
  • Corporations
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Labor unions


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

Developmental Disabilities

  • Case Management
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Research
  • Policy Development


  • Assisted Living/Community Residential Care
  • State and local agencies
  • Medical facilities
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • Colleges and Universities


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

Healthcare

  • Case Management
  • Discharge Planner
  • Counseling
  • Program Development
  • Administration
  • Research


  • Hospitals
  • Community health centers
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Public health programs
  • Health insurance companies
  • Nursing homes
  • Group homes
  • Hospice
  • Veterans Administration hospitals


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

Community Organization

  • Program and Community
  • Development Advocacy
  • Politics
  • Education
  • Planning


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


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.

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/administrative positions.
  • Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) or Ph.D. is usually required for positions in teaching, research, and administration. Desirable for some clinical positions and private practice.
  • Must complete a degree from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Programs in¬clude practical field experience.
  • Most states require licensure, certification or registration.
  • The field practicum is used to determine suita¬bility for this profession and to provide exposure to various practice settings/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 function¬ing.
  • Social work is unique given its dual focus on the person and the environment.

Note: A large amount of this information was adapted from Choices: Careers in Social Work by the National Association of Social Workers and was originally prepared by the Career Planning Staff of Career Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. (1998) UTK is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/Section 504/ADA/ADEA Employer

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