Social workers are integral to society; they work in tandem with communities, families, and individuals as a whole to achieve a harmonious balance of human rights. The core principles and work ethics that define a social worker are collective justice for all, the dignity of human labor, building human relations through social advocacy, and striving for social equality among the various residential areas.
These humanitarians break social barriers and connect cultural diversities. The culminating objective of social work is universal, but the dynamics change in terms of heritage, geographic location, political and socio-economic scenarios.
1. What are the Responsibilities of a Social Worker?
There are psychological and social implications to work involved when one becomes a social worker. Psychological responsibilities may include guidance, group therapy sessions, individual mentoring, working with mental health organizations, and creating an emotionally intelligent society to address modern issues. Social responsibilities can include fighting for justice, defying social norms, changing and challenging political policies, safeguarding the interest of women and children, protecting minority groups, advocating gender equality, and working towards creating a strong community.
In the wider sense, their job is divided professionally into these main tasks:
In this role, they are seen as an organizer, facilitator, or managing any socio-government organization. They work as advocates, change-makers, draft policies regarding socio-human matters, and influence change for the underprivileged sections of society.
Social workers provide guidance and counseling to victims of child abuse, women’s health organizations, teach and mentor youngsters from economically challenged neighborhoods and create a positive educational system for effective communication and prevention of violence.
- Case Manager
In some cases, social services are required to support child welfare services, advocacy for the homeless, legal aid for victims of violence, and work for people with disabilities. Provide psychological support to victims of human trafficking and women who have faced domestic hostility.
The most crucial role of a social worker is to be a social defender and to stand up for the rights of others nationally and internationally. They are pioneers when it comes to motivating an individual or an entire community to come together and oppose injustice and oppressive policies.
2. What are the Benefits of Being a Social Worker?
Initially, the field of social work was considered informative work that was performed only by people with philanthropic aspirations. This field was supposed to be reliable on charity and donations to social innuendo by the rich class. Fortunately, those times have changed, and being a social worker in modern times has proven to be a dynamic occupation.
3. Post-Pandemic Boom
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the masses across the globe, the liability of a social worker has increased. They are working in close coordination with the healthcare representatives to provide guidance and counseling to the families grieving from the loss of a loved one to conducting de-stressing sessions for the overworked healthcare professionals. There has also been an increase in social work stations in mental health facilities and child care facilities to deal with COVID-19 counseling services. Many children around the world have lost their parents to this deadly virus that drives social service workers to act as stewards of their wellbeing.
4. Challenging Scenarios
This job is never mundane; being a social worker will allow one to meet people from diverse economic, cultural, and social backgrounds. This provides an opportunity to learn new skills, such as learning a new language or getting to know the traditional customs of a community. One can also choose the kind of responsibility to take up, which means it could be a desk job of a counselor at a social organization or a traditional work set up at a hospital, school, or a non-profit foundation. There is never a dull moment as a social worker; at the end of the day, one is giving back to society.
5. Being Vigilant
A social worker has to be the contact point while working with victims of abuse. They may very often be children who have experienced trauma or who are held against their will in violent homes. Work involves being a vigilante for social causes and trying to create a better future for people who are underprivileged.
6. Growth with Good Salary Options
Students who pursue a degree in social work have a distinguished career ahead of them. First, it is not a nine- to five-hour overtime job at a corporate office. A social worker has the freedom to choose the hours for fieldwork and may even work from home when necessary. Autonomy to manage clients from all over the globe is also possible. They get multiple opportunities to work as interns with government organizations like the World Health Organization, Red Cross, Doctors without frontiers, etc. Salary as a social worker is lucrative, with them earning $ 70,000 annually. Mental health disorders and substance abuse cases have risen since the onset of the pandemic, making it necessary for social workers to manage clients as social entrepreneurs or private practitioners.
7. Skills and Traits Required to Become a Successful Social Worker
- Detailed knowledge of human psychology and social behaviors
It is imperative that those who are majoring in social work have a degree in human psychology and sociology. They need to understand basic human behavior, the history of humans, the formation of world societies and cultures from different states and regions of the world. In-depth knowledge about how and why humans turn violent in certain social settings. A social worker also must have empathy to guide and teach communities to better living.
- Good Communication Skills
Knowledge of over two languages will always be a plus for any social worker who has a job in the field. Ability to write explanatory notes, communicate regularly with local people and victims of violence, develop specific case details and produce well-documented case studies.
- Maintain professional boundaries
Quite often, guidance counselors and social teachers have the tendency to mingle with their clients on a personal level. It is very important that social workers maintain a strict work boundary and do not carry their victims’ stories in their own personal lives. Adherence to work ethics is essential to being an excellent community worker.
- Problem-solving and Organizational Skills
An ideal social worker will display excellent active listening skills, be an efficient problem solver, work on exit strategies for social problems, be good with drafting legal papers for government and social cases, manage to gather accurate information, be ready to travel, and work harmoniously with non-profit organizations.
8. Job titles and Opportunities of a Social Worker
The national association of Social workers has segmented the work on the basis of micro, mezzo, and macro social work. A licensed clinical social worker works at the micro-level with individual clients. The primary goal of these community workers is to develop a sense of mental wellness, overcome physical challenges and create emotional balance among their clients. At the mezzo level, social workers are charged with managing multiple groups, clients, families, community units, and various social health organizations. On the macro level, social workers manage government policies, are the bridge between the micro and mezzo level social issues, bring about social-economic reforms and make positive changes on a global level.
A Bachelor of Social Work or an associate degree will let the student gain entry into the lower level of this profession. Through a Master’s degree in Social Work, eligible students will earn the title of Social Service Assistants, Policy Makers, Influential Social Workers working with reputable organizations, and Social Scientists. These higher-level positions will earn them more salary annually than the entry-level jobs.
9. Child Welfare
Child welfare social workers protect the rights of children all over the world and work in tandem with child development organizations. There is no license requirement for this work, an entry-level assistant can earn up to $35,450 annually, and with experience, this increases to $46,549 annually.
- Case Manager
A Master’s degree will provide excellent opportunities to grow as a social case manager in private and government institutions. These social workers do not take up individual cases; they rather work in community projects. They are eligible for $39,074 per year.
- Social Science Research Assistant
They work in school, college, and government set up to carry out social experiments and collect data. The annual earnings of a social science research assistant can go up to $ 50,420.
- Health Educator
A health educator works with health organizations, hospitals, outpatient care centers, and non-profit organizations. They are responsible for health education sessions at the academic and collegial levels. Develop training programs for health practitioners, work for community health, and collect data for better health opportunities. This designation requires an undergraduate degree, and one may expect to earn $55,220 annually.
10. Niche Based Job titles
- Clinical Counselors
Clinical social workers assume responsibility for individual and group therapies in rehabilitation centers, clinics, and hospitals. A master’s degree plus two years of work experience in a clinical setting will allow them to earn a decent salary of $ 58,390 annually.
- Social Work Teacher
Schools and colleges hire social work teachers on a part-time and full-time basis. To become a social work teacher, one needs to hold a doctorate degree. The annual salary may rise from $78,320 to $72,090.
- Substance Abuse Social Worker
Substance abuse social workers have the responsibility of guiding, counseling, and rehabilitating victims of alcohol, sex addiction, gambling, and drug abuse. They work in detention centers, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and various non-profit organizations. Their annual salary can go up to $ 51,670.
11. Top Universities and Scholarships for Social Worker
There are various top universities like Boston University, Washington University, Fordham University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of California, New York University, Ohio state university, and Columbia University.
Scholarships in social work are available with various colleges and institutions across the country. They are based on a number of categories like social work scholarships for women, minority students, military assistance, and loan repayments.
Social development is made for the empaths; they are great problem solvers and work for the betterment of people living in improvised conditions, the oppressed and the vulnerable. There are about 600,000 professional social workers in the U.S. alone. Social workers help individuals and the broader community make life-altering decisions. They work on strengthening the social network by bringing social justice. It is a noble profession that comes with the immense satisfaction of giving back positive results to society.