6 jobs for people with a master of social work

Having an MSW can put you on the path to important and rewarding work.

6 jobs for people with a master of social work

You probably know that people who study social work tend to want to boost the quality of life for individuals, families, communities and organizations. But did you know those who earn a master of social work can achieve these goals through a wide variety of roles?

“Social workers find jobs in so many varied fields, including mental health, health care, substance abuse, private practice, criminal justice, geriatrics, advocacy and management,” says nonprofit consultant Leslie Rosen Stern.

In honor of March being National Social Work Month, we talked to several MSWs about their ideas for good job opportunities. Here are six they suggested.

School social worker

MSWs who work in school settings help children gain security and confidence by addressing any social and psychological issues that can block academic progress, Stern says. School social workers may work on bullying-prevention programs, social skills groups and crisis intervention. “They are the link between home life and school life for young children.” There are similar positions for MSWs in mental health settings, youth programming, advocacy roles and even camps.

Health care case manager

Health care case managers help people navigate the healthcare system. They determine their clients’ needs then coordinate services for those clients, help them follow care plans and refer them for further evaluation as needed, says Kathleen Gately of Western Governors University. Health care case managers may be employed by private physician groups or hospitals, or in private or state-run hospice or home health care agencies. They’re responsible for assisting with discharge planning, performing outpatient evaluations, and acting as a liaison between the health care organization, available resources and clients.

Nonprofit work

Chuck Solomon says he got his MSW at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where we pursued a macro-track with a focus on organizations rather than individuals. He has since gone on to start and develop several nonprofits in his community.

Because of those experiences, he says being an entrepreneur is also something for MSWs to consider. “Entrepreneurship is all about solving problems and MSWs are quintessential problem-solvers,” says Solomon, who now consults and advises other small businesses and startups

Career counselor

Because they often like working with people, MSWs would be strong career counselors, says Paul Bailo. Career counselors may help clients identify their core competencies, career interests, job prospects and educational opportunities, and will generally help their clients navigate the job market.

Customer service provider

MSWs training and experience can help them relate well to customers, understand other people and resolve issues while making others feel good, Bailo says. People with MSWs who work as customer service managers may oversee customer service teams and teach others how to best serve customers’ needs.


With the modern workforce soon to be dominated by Gen X and Gen Y, Bailo says that caring, results-driven CEOs will be in demand. “MSWs are trained for, understand and thrive in this environment,” he says. “The modern CEO is a person with a global caring heart doing right in the world. MSWs are made for the CEO role.”