Make A Difference With A Career in Social Work

Industry Outcomes for Social Workers Social work is both a great career move and a way to change lives for the better. By its nature, social work is a flexible field that can be tailored to fit your passion. Additionally, you shouldn’t have issue finding a job after graduation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts […]

To Put This in Context:

Social workers are unsung heroes that work hard to improve the lives of others. Additionally, with an increased demand for health care, the social services industry — which typically requires a bachelor’s in Social Work for an entry-level position — is set to add an estimated 74,800 new positions between 2014 and 2024. [1] If you are a current student interested in protecting some of society’s most vulnerable or disadvantaged, read on to see how you can make a difference with a career in social work.

Industry Outcomes for Social Workers

Social work is both a great career move and a way to change lives for the better. By its nature, social work is a flexible field that can be tailored to fit your passion.

Additionally, you shouldn’t have issue finding a job after graduation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the need for social workers will only increase over the next decade, leading to employment growth of 12 percent between 2014 and 2024. [1]

Social workers on average enjoy a salary of $45,900. However, median salaries for social workers vary according to industry focus:

  • Health care: $52,380
  • Children, family, and school: $42,350
  • Mental health, addiction, and substance abuse: $42,170

Here are a few ways you can make a difference with a career in social work:

Help vulnerable children and families.

A social worker examines a child as they share a warm conversation.

According to the Administration for Children and Families, a branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 702,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2014, leading to approximately 1,580 deaths. [2]

This number is based on the population at the time and the number of cases investigated and reported by states. So, in actuality, the number of abused or neglected children could be much greater.

As a social worker specializing in this area, you can help fill the gap between the number of suspected cases and the number of children who receive the help they need. Your skills become an additional resource for Child Protective Services agencies across the country, allowing them to get more children into safe, loving environments.

But addressing abuse or neglect isn’t the only way social workers help children. If you choose, you can use your education to direct yourself to a career helping children that have:

  • Emotional or behavioral problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental illness
  • Parents with substance abuse issues

Children who may benefit from the services of a social worker can sometimes be aggressively combative or inwardly withdrawn and shut-down, and many parents don’t know how to handle issues outside the emotional norm. Social workers can provide the resources and support needed to help these families lead healthier lives.

Restore lives with mental health.

A social worker speaks with a couple as they hold hands inside a private office.

Most of today’s mental health professionals are trained in social work, according to the National Association of Social Workers. [3] These people help others in a wide variety of ways, such as:

  • Assisting veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Working as school counselors
  • Conducting community wellness workshops
  • Treating long-term mental or emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, or even schizophrenia
  • Providing counseling for those going through marriage, divorce, the death of a loved one, or other emotional events
  • Traveling to decimated areas in the aftermath of a natural disaster

Did You Know?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18% of adults had a mental illness in 2014. [4] This number translates to 43.6 million people ages 18 and above who may benefit from counseling from a social worker.

Use therapy to combat substance abuse and addiction.

An overturned bottle of prescription pills and glass of alcohol rest on a table.

Substance addiction is incredibly difficult to treat, meaning social workers who go into this field must be dedicated and emotionally resilient. They should also be willing to work with patients for an extended period of time.

As the National Association of Social Workers noted, many mental and physical health professionals treat substance abuse disorders with short-term therapy and medication, but addiction is essentially a lifelong illness. [3]

As a social worker, you can help people who struggle with drug addiction get their lives back on track before it’s too late.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found most people use drugs during their late teens and early 20s — a critical time in a person’s life as he or she navigates college or the start of his or her career. [5] The decisions people make during this time can have serious consequences throughout the rest of their lives.

That’s why your work as a social worker can be so pivotal. You can help young individuals who have fallen to drug abuse recover and lead healthier, more productive lives, or you can even implement Title IX measures that address these issues at the collegiate level.

This doesn’t mean that all your patients will be young, of course. The NIDA also discovered drug use is increasing among aging baby boomers. As a social worker, you can help these people get clean, improve their health, and lead productive lifestyles before their golden years.

Commit to saving lives. Become a social worker.

Social workers enjoy a fulfilling occupation and a steady stream of opportunities in a growing job market, and they have the ability to specialize the career they want.

Additionally, more career opportunity exists for those that pursue a master’s in Social Work or obtain licenses and certificates for non-clinical roles.

Whether you desire to help rebuild unstable families or assist disadvantaged youth or adults with mental health treatment, a career as a social worker can offer you the opportunity to seek a gratifying career and make a difference in people’s lives.


We're academics. Education is at our core. It drives everything we do. In fact, we can trace our roots in education as far back as the 1700s. In the past decade alone, we have impacted hundreds of thousands of lives by connecting students with the right degree programs.