A career in social work is about more than earning a paycheck; it’s about doing good in a community. It’s a field rooted in service, whether that’s directly as a case representative or an advocate or indirectly as a policy maker. Social workers are employed across multiple disciplines in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools and settlement houses.
Though they work in many places, the starting point for social workers is the same; it’s earning a Bachelor of Social Work. Some career paths in the field require advanced training, such as a clinical social worker, which requires a Master of Social Work, two years of experience and a license. Though a master’s may be required to advance, there are plenty of entry-level positions that require only a BSW. Here are four of those positions.
Probation officers supervise people who have been placed on probation instead of sent to prison. These officers ensure probationers are not a danger to the community through a series of interviews, screenings and evaluations. Afterward, they write reports detailing the progress and treatment plans of probationers. In addition to monitoring probationers, these officers actively work to rehabilitate them into the community. They provide resources such as job training or substance abuse treatment.
A bachelor’s degree in social work, criminal justice, behavioral sciences or a related field is usually expected, but requirements vary by jurisdiction. A master’s degree may be required for advancement. The average median pay in 2017 was $51,420.
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Juvenile Court Liaison
Juvenile court liaisons support district attorneys and courts in juvenile court proceedings. They ensure those who do not meet the criteria for detention are referred to other programs and services that meet their individual and family needs. In addition to working with criminal cases, they also work as a liaison in family courts where they assist families by providing resources and information on issues that affect the family, such as divorce, dependency, status domestic violence and adoption.
Most juvenile court liaisons are required to have a bachelor’s in social work or psychology. The median pay for a court liaison is currently reported to be $37,440.
Family caseworkers provide social services and assistance — such as dependent care, job training, parenting classes or counseling — to improve the social and psychological well-being of children and their families. They may assist parents, arrange and counsel adoptions and find foster homes for neglected or abandoned children. Some work in tandem with schools to address problems like teen pregnancy, substance abuse, misbehavior and excessive absence, as well as prevent more serious problems from developing.
Caseworkers work in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies and community development corporations. The median pay for caseworkers in 2017 was $47,980.
Social Service Assistant
Social service assistants help clients identify and obtain benefits and services related to issues such as substance abuse, human relationships, rehabilitation or dependent care. Then, they follow up with clients to ensure the services meet their needs. They work under the direction of social workers, psychologists or other community and social service workers.
Social service assistants may work with local, state or federal government agencies, nonprofit organizations or religiously affiliated groups and earned a median income of $33,120 in 2017. Employment of social and human service assistants is projected to grow 16 percent by 2026. To gain the competitive advantage, those interested in this position are encouraged to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work. In order to advance in this career path, a master’s degree and licensure is needed.
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Whether you’re starting or advancing your social work career, you can take the first step by choosing Aurora University Online. Our fully online Bachelor of Social Work is offered in convenient eight-week modules, which allows you to complete your coursework in a flexible learning environment while managing work and family.
When you’re ready to advance your social work career, our online MSW lets you customize your learning experience with eight optional specializations: Addictions, Child Welfare, Forensics, Gerontology, Health Care, Leadership Administration, Military & Veteran, and School Social Work. You may also pursue the dual MSW/MBA or MSW/MPA degree program.