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Where Do Social Workers Work? 4 Professional Social Work Settings You May Not Expect

Social workers do not just work in school or office settings. They do not solely have private practices, either. Many people do not realize the wide variety of settings in which social workers are present, and thriving in, on a daily basis.

The demand for social workers is not limited to one field of work: as the need for healthcare and social services grows, so will the need for trained professionals. In 2014, social workers held nearly 650,000 jobs in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 percent of those social workers were employed by state and local governments, 18 percent focused on individual and family services, 13 percent worked in ambulatory services, and the remaining in hospitals and residential care facilities.

If you are pursuing a social work degree, you have chosen a rewarding career path. Today, there are hundreds of different settings that need psychiatric assistance. You have the ability to choose what work environment will be the best fit for you. The following four sought-after settings are where you will likely find a social worker today.

Foster Care and Adoption Agencies

There is always a need for social workers when it comes to child welfare, and if you have a passion for children, a foster care or adoption agency may be the best workplace for you. In this social work setting, you will work one-on-one with children and youth, and in many cases, their parents or guardians as well. In the foster care system, you will encounter families with histories of physical abuse, mental illness, addiction, poverty, and other emotional or behavioral issues. Here, you may work with parents to find appropriate resources for raising a child (child care or food stamps), or handle crisis situations such as child abuse and neglect. In an adoption agency, you may help a child find a secure and loving home, work to reunite families, or help both children and mothers cope.

Prisons & Correctional Facilities

The National Association of Social Workers recently revealed that over 600,000 inmates are released from prison in the U.S. each year. This means that there are thousands of people needing the help of a social worker as they reenter the community and adapt to lifestyle changes. They will need the help of people like you to appropriately traverse the social services system and avoid crime in the future. Prison social workers can help with mental issues, social issues, as well as education challenges. If you choose to work in Corrections, your workplace is not limited to a prison. You can work in juvenile detention facilities, rape crisis centers, police departments, and court systems.

Military Bases

When many think of a career in social work, they do not always think of military bases and hospitals as possible work environments. There is, however, a great demand for social workers in several branches of the military. If you choose to work on field, on base, or in a military hospital, you will be working directly with military personnel to prepare for, and cope with, the complex stresses of war. Military officers and soldiers, as well as veterans, need mental-health counseling and trauma support during and after their services. Social workers in military settings may also work in family-support programs, helping spouses and dependents cope with their emotions while their loved ones are at war.

Substance Abuse & Addiction Treatment Centers

Social workers play a major role in residential drug treatment and addiction rehab centers. Substance abuse is a growing epidemic in the country, and most often, stems from or develops alongside deeper mental disorders. Social workers are needed to help alleviate these co-occurring disorders, uncover the root of an addiction, and provide clients with the help that they deserve. If you choose to work in a treatment center, you may employ psychotherapy, help clients cope with lifestyle changes, or provide information on support groups and 12-step programs.

The question “Where do social workers work?” does not come with an easy answer. But that is the great advantage of a career in social work– there are always options. These are just some of the many possible workplaces you can choose after completing your social work program. From community centers to nursing homes, psych hospitals to college universities, there is undoubtedly an ideal social work setting for you.

Want to get started on your social work career today? Call Goodwin College at 888-873-2043 to learn more about our social work program in CT.