Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers—clinical social workers—also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.
Social workers are employed in a variety of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service agencies, hospitals, settlement houses, community development corporations, and private practices. They generally work full time and may need to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
How to Become a Social Worker
Although most social workers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and 2 years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.
Employment of social workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services, but will vary by specialty.
This occupation supported 607,300 jobs in 2012 and 649,499 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 6.9%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 18.8% in 2022 to 721,500 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 630,100, compared with an observed value of 649,499, 3.1% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 12.3% in 2024 to 724,100 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 744,300 jobs for 2024, 2.8% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.