College degrees are no longer a must to begin a career in social work. Currently, there are several openings for social work jobs without a degree. You can even land a social work job with a GED if you know where to look and have the correct skillset.
This article provides you with a detailed step-by-step guide on how you can get high-paying social work jobs without a degree. We also list a range of common social work jobs that don’t require a degree, including some of the highest-paid available.
What Is Social Work?
Social work is a profession that focuses on empowering people and developing stronger communities by promoting positive social change. Usually, social work addresses issues such as child abuse, lack of housing, and mental health issues that are detrimental to the overall wellbeing of individuals or an entire society.
Social work is a diverse field. Social workers can be found in various settings, including nonprofit organizations, hospitals, and private firms.
What Do Social Work Jobs Pay?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for social work jobs is $51,000 per year. However, annual wage figures range from less than $33,000 to more than $85,000, depending on where you work.
Most high-paying job opportunities require you to have a bachelor’s degree as the minimum requirement. However, some social work career options that don’t require a degree also offer very attractive salary packages.
What Skills Do You Need to Land a Social Work Job?
As a social worker, it is essential to have excellent communication skills. A large part of social work involves having difficult conversations with clients. Depending on the situation, you may also need to liaise with people from various academic backgrounds to develop solutions that would be beneficial for your clients.
Having excellent interpersonal skills will strengthen your relationship with your clients and make it easier for you to talk them through complicated processes.
If you intend to become a social worker, critical thinking is a vital skill that you must possess. In many instances, you will need to categorize large amounts of information and analyze it to draw valuable insights that could help your clients.
Because social work usually deals with complex individual and societal issues, social workers are often required to find unorthodox solutions to these challenges. Having critical thinking skills will enable you to examine all the details presented by your client and provide a suitable solution.
Organization is another vital social work skill you must have. Social workers often handle multiple issues simultaneously. Strong organizational skills will help you sort the data from each of your cases and categorize them appropriately.
Organizational skills also help you effectively allocate your time and resources to ensure that every client and case receives sufficient attention.
What Education Do You Need to Get a Social Work Job?
The majority of social work jobs have a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work or any other related field as the minimum requirement for employment. Sometimes, depending on the nature of the job, an advanced degree like a master’s may also be required.
However, social work is rapidly expanding. There are currently several opportunities to get high-paying social work jobs without a degree. Provided you have a high school diploma or its equivalent, such as the GED, you should still be able to start a career in social work.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
College may not be for everyone primarily because it is expensive. According to the latest data released by the National Center for Education Statistics, a four-year undergraduate degree costs an average of $28,000 inclusive of extra fees such as boards and accommodation.
While some people may be willing to incur thousands of dollars in student loans to get a degree, it may not be worth it for others. Many lucrative jobs are available that do not require a college degree. So, depending on your field or industry, a college degree may not always be the right choice for you.
How to Get a Social Work Job With a GED
Find the right industry
Before looking for a social work job with a GED, you must identify what industry you would work in. For example, you could decide to become a hospital social worker or work for government agencies. There are many career options in social work. So, whatever you choose, just be sure that it is the right fit for you.
Develop the necessary skills
After you have identified the area of social work you would want to be involved in, you then need to develop the skills required. For example, most social work jobs require active listening, communication, and time management skills.
You can find resources online or register for courses to sharpen your skills and increase your chances of getting hired in a social work role.
Seek out volunteer opportunities
Volunteering is a great way to build your network and secure a job as a social worker, especially if you only have a GED. Many nonprofit organizations and private companies have open volunteer positions. By accepting a volunteer role, you can gain relevant experience and receive referrals and recommendations for companies that need your services.
Prepare your resume
Before you apply for a job, you need to write a great resume. Your resume should include all the social work experience you have gathered, including your volunteer jobs. It should also indicate any courses or certifications that show that you would be a good fit for a social work role.
Start searching on job platforms
The next step on your journey to getting a social work job is to explore all available online job search platforms. According to BLS, about 78,000 job openings are projected to be available every year from 2020 to 2030. Websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor are helpful resources to identify these openings.
High-Paying Social Work Jobs Without a College Degree
|Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor||$47,660||23%|
|Community health worker||$42,000||17%|
|Social and human service assistants||$35,960||17%|
|Customer service representative||$35,830||-1%|
|Behavioral health technician||$31,570||11%|
|Home health and personal care aide||$27,080||33%|
Best Social Work Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look
Research analysts handle data of various types and are tasked with validating these data and turning them into valuable insights. Research analysts can work in different private and public social welfare organizations.
If you decide to become a research analyst in a social work organization, you will most likely work as part of a team. You will be responsible for converting random data into solutions that could be useful for helping various people or groups.
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are healthcare social workers. They provide counseling services to people dealing with alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other similar issues.
Substance abuse counselors evaluate the nature of a client’s problem, identify any possible triggers, and develop strategies to curb their negative behavioral patterns. They are usually found in hospitals, mental health clinics, religious centers, and some government organizations.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Community Health Worker
Community health workers help bridge the gap between the local healthcare facilities and community members. These social workers employ various means to ensure that their communities stay healthy.
Although they are not healthcare professionals, community health workers routinely give informal health advice to people within their community. They also participate in sensitization campaigns and help raise awareness about health initiatives that could benefit their region.
Social and Human Service Assistant
Alongside many other responsibilities, social and human service assistants help to connect clients with the resources and services they need. They also are responsible for providing follow-up to ensure that a satisfactory service was rendered. Social and human service assistants interact closely with professionals from diverse fields, such as public health and the social sciences.
Customer Service Representative
Customer service representatives are needed at most organizations, including those in social work. As a customer service representative, you will be responsible for handling client complaints and forwarding them to the appropriate quarters for resolution.
Customer service representatives are also expected to thoroughly know their organization’s services and processes to provide clients with instant and accurate feedback.
Behavioral Health Technician
A behavioral health technician is a clinical social worker that assists doctors and mental health professionals. They work in healthcare settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and other mental care facilities.
As a behavioral health technician, you ensure that patients follow their treatment plan. You also carry out a clinical assessment of each patient and report your findings to a healthcare professional.
Teacher assistants are school social workers. These professionals are responsible for performing essential duties like preparing learning resources and ensuring the environment is suitable for learning. Teaching assistants sometimes also work closely with people or groups to help them with their learning challenges.
Recreational workers help people of different demographics stay active and fit. As a recreational worker, you will be expected to create fun and safe activities for people of varying age groups. Recreational workers are usually seen in nursing homes, parks, and similar environments.
Home Health and Personal Care Aide
Home health and personal care aides help people who are unable to adequately take care of themselves due to age or chronic health conditions. These professionals work in hospitals, nursing homes, or private practice in most cases.
Home health and personal care aides ensure that their clients receive appropriate care. They also perform everyday tasks such as cleaning and other household chores.
A childcare worker is expected to oversee the well-being and safety of children placed in their care. Childcare workers can be found at schools or in the homes of private clients. Child welfare social workers have several responsibilities, including preparing meals and creating an activity roster for the children.
Companies That Offer Entry-Level Social Work Jobs
- AMITA Health: AMITA Health is an organization that seeks to provide medical services to people. They also carry out community benefit programs to improve access to healthcare and educate community members.
- Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS): CUCS is a New York-based organization that caters to the needs of the homeless. Its social work programs provide housing, case management support, and medical care.
- Sycamores: Sycamores is a social welfare organization that helps children, adults, and families living in Southern California. They provide a wide range of services like housing support, advocacy, and residential services.
- Crisis Connections: Crisis Connections helps people in distress by providing helpful resources. The company has a 24-hour helpline for crisis situations. It also organizes training for people and communities.
- Opportunity House: Opportunity House is a nonprofit organization that provides support for people with disabilities. The company is based in Illinois, where it offers constant residential care, recreational activities, and developmental training for its clients.
Where to Find Social Work Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree
SocialService.com is a job search website exclusively for social work professionals to post their resumes or search from a list of available social work job opportunities. An outstanding feature of this platform is that you can set your job search parameters to display only social work jobs for people without a college degree. You can also filter the results based on location.
On LinkedIn, you can reach out to professionals in the fields you would like to work in to find out if there are any openings in their organization. Recruiters may also post employment opportunities on LinkedIn that may not be displayed on popular job boards. Using LinkedIn increases your chances of finding opportunities as a social worker.
On Indeed, you can find social work jobs that do not have a bachelor’s or master’s degree as a mandatory employment requirement. Social work is vast, and many organizations are beginning to advertise social work roles that any person, regardless of their level of education, can perform. Indeed is a great platform to connect you with all these new opportunities.
Consider a Social Work Degree Later in Your Career
You can always get a social work degree as you progress in your career. You could even begin a career in social work while pursuing your bachelor’s degree simultaneously. By registering for an online program, you can advance your career goals and gain social work experience while getting your degree from an accredited college.
Social work careers are open to everyone. Whether or not you have a degree, you can begin a gratifying social work practice with the right amount of information at your disposal.
Social Work Jobs Without a Degree FAQ
Yes, a career in social work is right for you if you are interested in helping others and can handle people well. Social workers also need skills such as communication, empathy, and problem-solving. As long as you have some of these abilities or are willing to learn and develop them, you can have a fulfilling career path in social work.
Yes, there are remote social work jobs available. For many social service jobs, location is not a barrier. Many of the top companies hiring social workers offer remote roles. You can search for these remote job openings on Indeed, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor.
Yes, social work jobs are usually challenging. Social workers often need to switch between different tasks and work several hours per week. However, despite the amount of work involved, it becomes easier to deal with the everyday work challenges with proper organization and time management.
Yes, you can find part-time social work jobs on job search platforms or online communities. Many social work jobs are very flexible and allow you to work part-time. Most job sites provide an option that allows you to filter out available jobs to include only part-time offers. This function can help you narrow your search and make it easier to find a part-time social work job.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.