The Advantages of Studying Social Work
Social workers are often attracted to the profession because it gives them a chance to make a real difference in the lives of other people, striving to empower their clients.
Words used to describe dedicated social workers include terms such as altruistic, perceptive, and compassionate, and they are usually credited with emotional intelligence and cultural sensitivity.
For individuals that have such qualities, the field of social work is one that offers great job satisfaction and deep personal rewards.
A background in social work can also open the door to several other careers in social service in a wide array of different settings.
When experience and skills have been gained in the field, social workers are able to move into positions of even greater responsibility, including as clinicians, social service managers and team leads.
The salaries that social workers can earn are also above average and opportunities for career growth look strong through to the end of the decade, according to a report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There are several other advantages to studying to become a social worker.
The field keeps growing
The field of social work continues to expand at a rapid rate, with the demand for social workers expected to increase by as much as 16% within the next four years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which translates to around 110,000 new jobs by 2026.
The wide array of job options also makes it very likely that new social workers will be able to find meaningful employment.
Student loans could be forgiven
One of the advantages of studying to become a social worker is that professionals can sometimes qualify to have part or even the majority of their student loans forgiven, depending on the position.
The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 allows those who work in public service for a decade and have made repayments on their student loans to apply to discharge the remaining balance. It is also possible for social workers to qualify to have as much as $500,000 in student loans repaid if they work in a community site in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area.
Loan repayment and assistance programs are also provided by some employers to help defray the cost of education.
Many people think that social workers are only employed in government-run social service agencies, but this is not actually true.
There are many different opportunities and types of workplaces available to social workers in schools, health centers, churches, businesses, hospitals, and advocacy and non-profit agencies.
There are also many different types of positions in which social workers could be employed, such as direct client care, supervisory roles, policy development, grant writing, advocacy, and other avenues within the profession.
Social work does not have just one singular definition, making it much more likely for people to be able to find a role that interests them and is particularly suited to their talents and skills.
Room for growth
Once someone has begun their career in the field of social work, they will find there is a great deal of potential for growth, particularly if they continue with their education and complete an online Master of Social Work program.
The more qualifications a social worker possesses, the more roles they will have the necessary qualifications to fill, including more supervisory positions.
Social workers with particular credentials can even run their own private practices.
Making a difference
A discussion on the advantages of studying social work cannot be held without acknowledging the reality that working as a social worker allows you to make a real difference in the lives of others and to make a real contribution to society.
Many people would like to help the world to be a better place but do not know how to do so or even where to start. Social workers are in a unique position that allows them to help others, solve particular problems and often end up changing someone else’s life for the better.
Change does not happen overnight and there is a lot of hard work involved in becoming a social worker, but the knowledge that the work you perform makes a difference in the lives of other people can provide purpose and real personal fulfillment.
The application of core values
The majority of social workers choose to become a part of the profession due to the fact that its core principles are in alignment with their own priorities and values, with many actually being inspired to do so because of their own personal experiences that have given them the desire to help other people and advocate for services and support that they did not receive.
However, social workers who have not had such challenges in their own lives still find the profession enables them to embrace values such as equality, fairness, dignity, justice, respect, and the right of every individual to be healthy and happy.
If such values are appealing, then social work may be the right field for you.
Helping single parents
Social workers are devoted to helping people to function the best they possibly can, which sometimes means providing direct services to individuals at home or work, assisting them via the use of social service organizations, or trying to implement policy changes that will improve social conditions.
Social workers not only assist their clients with respect to their feelings regarding particular situations, but also how they can deal with them.
For instance, a social worker may wish to assist a single parent overwhelmed by stress and could do so in a variety of ways, such as connecting them to a local childcare agency, assessing their eligibility for public benefits such as childcare assistance, helping them explore flextime at work or trying to improve resources at a higher level.
Social workers find great meaning in the work they do to help others and that is just one of the many advantages of studying social work.