There are many areas of social work, but the skills you gained in your degree are transferable to alternative careers for social workers. Whether you have a bachelor’s degree in social work or an MSW, you can fill many job roles outside of traditional social work careers.
This article will explore the various careers social workers can pursue, including jobs in mental health, healthcare, criminal justice, child welfare, politics, teaching, and more. If you are interested in exploring what jobs fit with your social worker skills, then below is what you need to know.
Why Switch Careers from Social Work?
Social work is the practice of improving other people’s welfare by guiding and empowering them to get their lives back on track. It is an incredibly worthwhile career. However, there are two main reasons people decide to switch careers.
Firstly, they switch careers due to emotional burnout. That, coupled with the fact that it can take time to build a good salary, leads graduates to ask what other careers their bachelor of social work (BSW) or master of social work (MSW) degree can lead to.
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Secondly, some people switch careers from social work because they find they aren’t being challenged enough, or they want to help even more people. If you are looking at alternative jobs that you can do with your social work skillset, then keep reading.
What Are the Different Fields in Social Work?
Firstly, we will briefly look at the different social worker fields. Perhaps you are working in the wrong sector, resulting in you wanting to change your career.
Below are all the areas you can look into after becoming a social worker. It is a great idea to try the ones you would love to do before switching careers altogether.
- Clinical Social Work
- Child, Family & School Social Work
- Substance Abuse
- Veteran Social Work
- Healthcare Social Work
- International Social Work
- Public Welfare
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Social Work
- Social Justice
- Trauma and Disaster Relief
- Mental Health
- Administration and Management
- Community Organization
The Best Alternative Careers for Social Workers
If none of the above sectors catch your attention, then below is a close look at some alternatives that might take the cake. The skills you have gained from your social work degree are transferable and valuable, so don’t worry if you want to switch professions altogether.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be resilient, creative, invest in yourself, and be a fantastic leader. As a social worker, you will have had experience motivating people, possibly even groups of people, toward a particular goal.
You could quickly transfer these skills to learning entrepreneurship unless you already know about business, finances, and have a product that could help others. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, entrepreneurs can earn a median salary of $104,690 per year.
It is not a giant leap to consider the field of psychology as you will have learned about aspects of human behavior in social work. Those with an MSW can even diagnose mental health disorders already.
Although you will need to study again on the subject to pursue a successful psychology career, the money will be exponentially better. According to BLS, a psychologist’s average salary is $80,370 per year, and if you become a therapist the salary is $84,950 per year.
Diversity and Inclusion Specialist
Social workers gain experience working with marginalized populations and, therefore, can work as diversity and inclusion specialists. You can help companies acquire employees from diverse backgrounds, including race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, age, and national origin.
There are typically three main types of consultants: scientific, management, and technical. They provide clients who operate organizations with advice based on research and risk analysis. Consulting jobs require excellent problem-solving, research, and communication skills, which social workers possess.
High School Teacher
Due to the ability to work with young people and guide them through the transition to adulthood, a teacher’s role could be a perfect fit. Public school teachers also need to be licensed or certified with their state’s requirements.
The main difference between social work and teaching high school students is the focus on lesson plans. It is about teaching students a particular subject, but social worker skills are highly transferable. High school teachers earn a salary of $60,320 per year, with good holidays and benefits.
A less stressful option is a sociologist as you will study society and societal behavior by conducting research and composing studies. You would research projects to test theories about social issues, collecting and analyzing data on anything from education, health, crime, poverty, families, gender, population, or racial issues.
You will need to earn a master’s degree in sociology, and you could earn a median annual salary of $82,050.
Legal Mediator or Mental Health Advocate in Divorce or Business
This is a fantastic option for those interested in politics and activism. Social workers can move into this field and become involved in legislative issues and policies.
Potential roles include planning specialist, financial analyst, director of government relations, public affairs specialist, public health manager, research analyst, campaign manager, and an elected official, which you can see below.
Social work administrators can work as elected officials. Many of the skills required for this role are transferable, as you will need to know about social services, social policy, and human behavior.
If you find you want to help larger groups of people and even entire nations, then becoming an elected official will provide an exciting challenge. The pay is much better, and it is a huge responsibility and requires incredible organizational skills, resource management, and empathy.
What Are Transferable Social Worker Skills?
Below are the top transferable skills that social workers have. Employers in all sectors would be thrilled to have an employee with these skills. So research the skills required for different jobs to see if you fit the bill.
- Active listening
- Written communication
- Verbal communication
- Complex Problem-solving
- People skills
- Negotiation skills
- Organizational skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Decision-making skills
- Systems analysis
Final Tips On Switching Careers From Social Work
It is never too late to look at alternative careers from social work and put your degree to another use in your community. If you find you want to put your efforts into helping people in other ways, then go for it.
Make sure to look at all the options available to you, get advice from the Career Karma community, and enter a career that you find emotionally and financially worthwhile.
No matter what career path you choose, your social worker skills will open up plenty of doors. If you are still searching for more details on the best MSW online programs, additional skills for your resume, or other related topics, then browse the Career Karma website.
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