Often, when we think of social workers, we think of givers. Social workers strive tirelessly to help others, and you might be wondering what they get out of all this effort for themselves. As it turns out, there are a lot of great reasons to go into this field, and as many social workers will tell you, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Here are just some of the benefits of pursuing an exciting and fulfilling career in social work.
1. It's a Growing Field
The field of social work is expanding rapidly. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for social workers will increase by 16 percent by 2026, which is faster than for other occupations.1 That translates to about 110,000 new jobs in the next decade.1 And with a wide range of job options, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find meaningful work in this field.
The pay for social workers isn't terrible, either. The median salary for a social worker with a Master of Social Work (MSW) is $61,592 per year,2 a number that rises to $66,749 for a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).3
2. You May Have Your Student Loans Forgiven
One of the benefits of becoming a social worker is that depending on the position, professionals may qualify to have some or most of their student loans forgiven. As part of the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, if you work in public service (which includes both nonprofit and government jobs) full time for 10 years and make payments on your loans, you can apply to have the remaining balance discharged. You may also qualify to have up to $50,000 of your student loans repaid if you work for two years in a community-based site in a high-need designated Health Professional Shortage Area as part of the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program.4 Some other employers may also provide loan repayment or assistance programs as well to help defray the cost of your education.
3. You Have a Variety of Opportunities
While you may assume that social workers only work in social services agencies run by the government, that is not the case. There is a wide range of opportunities and workplaces for social workers. You can find jobs in schools, hospitals, health centers, nonprofit and advocacy agencies, churches and even businesses, such as insurance companies and law firms. And the types of positions vary as well: You could be involved in direct client care, serve in a supervisory role, or focus on policy development, advocacy, grant writing or other aspects of the field. In short, there is no single definition of social work, and you can find a role that interests you and fits your skills and talents.
4. There is Room to Grow
Once you get your foot in the door of the social work field, you have a great deal of potential for growth, especially if you continue your education and earn an MSW degree. The more education you have, the more positions you will qualify for, including supervisory roles. Depending on their credentials, some social workers may also end up going into private practice.
5. You Can Make a Difference
You can't have a discussion about the benefits of a career in social work without addressing the fact that working in the field allows you to make a difference in the lives of individuals and provide a tangible benefit to society.
Many people want to make the world a better place, but aren't sure where to start or what to do. As a social worker, you are in a position to solve specific problems and help others, and there is a good chance that you will end up being the person that changes someone else's life. While it is a lot of hard work and change doesn't always happen quickly, just knowing that your work is meaningful to others can help provide you with a purpose and personal fulfillment.
6. You Can Apply Your Core Values to Your Work
Many social workers enter the profession because its core principles align with their own values and priorities. In fact, many social workers were inspired by their own experiences, which spurred a desire to help others and advocate for the support and services that they themselves didn't have. Yet even if you don't have your own challenges to draw upon, working as a social worker allows you to live out the values of equality, justice, fairness, respect, dignity and the right of everyone to health and well-being. If these values align with yours, then consider becoming a social worker.
Social work has a number of benefits for those who commit to it. If you have been thinking about a career in this field, now is a great time to get started and begin making a difference in your community. Contact Yeshiva University today to find out even more about the benefits of pursuing an online Master of Social Work degree.
1 Retrieved on February 21, 2018, from bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm
2 Retrieved on February 21, 2018, from www1.salary.com/Social-Worker-MSW-Salary.html
3 Retrieved on February 21, 2018, from www1.salary.com/Licensed-Clinical-Social-Worker-salary.html
4 Retrieved on February 21, 2018, from socialworkers.org/Advocacy/Policy-Issues/Student-Loan-Forgiveness