A social worker is someone who helps individuals face their problems with resolve by providing them with compassion, resources, and experience. There are times in people’s lives where everything seems to be going wrong, and issues compound into other issues, creating a problem cycle that people need a helping hand to get out of. In this sense, social workers are one of the foundational support systems of our society. Social workers can be found in a variety of settings, including:

  • Mental Health Clinics: Mental and behavioral health organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration help to support mental health clinics which employ social workers to work with individuals and their families to ameliorate the impact of mental health issues.
  • Schools: There are many school social workers who help provide resources for at-risk students, and allow them to find resources outside of their school to help them achieve in the classroom.
  • Human Service Agencies: The Department of Human Services, The Administration on Aging, and Administration for Children and Families are all examples of human service agencies that employ social workers to help deal with a variety of problems on a case-by-case basis.
  • Hospitals: Many times patients who get checked in to hospitals will have a hard time reacclimating to life once they are home. Hospitals employ social workers to help keep patients from needing to be readmitted.
  • Settlement Houses: Settlement houses are inner-city institutions that provide a variety of services to the community, including social work.

If you can see yourself working in one of these environments, you should check out our ranking of the top 20 best online MSW degree programs. If any of the programs catch your attention, you should follow the links to their school website to find out more information about social work.

What Do Social Workers Do?

Social workers help people with problems that are affecting their everyday lives. There are a variety of different kinds of social workers who help people with specific problems in different settings. Some of the specializations for social workers include:

  • Substance Abuse Social Worker: Drug addicts and alcoholics often face a wide range of problems that go beyond addiction, creating a cycle that they can’t break without help. Substance abuse social workers work in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities to provide stability, resources, and solutions.
  • Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker: Hospice social workers help people who are chronically ill, terminally ill, or seriously ill, by helping their family members understand how to care for them, and providing support services.
  • Military Social Worker: Military members and their families face many issues that are particular to active duty members. Social workers help families cope with these issues by providing support and resources.
  • Child and Family Social Worker: Child and family social workers understand how to improve family dynamics to create a safe and productive home for all parties. They can also locate appropriate services for children with emotional or learning difficulties.