Career Definition for a Public Welfare Social Worker
The public welfare social worker is responsible for coordinating income and other support benefits to those most in need, typically the disabled, elderly, ill and children. A public welfare social worker also has the goal to foster self-sufficiency in the client, so as to apply decreasing resources for the benefit of those least able to function independently.
|Education||Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) or a bachelor's degree in a related field. A Master of Social Work (MSW) recommended for advancement opportunities.|
|Job Skills||Written and verbal communication; ability to work as part of a team; organizational|
|Median Salary (May 2017)*||$61,980|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||16% for social workers|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
A public welfare social working career typically begins with completion of a Bachelor of Social Work degree program, although a bachelor's degree in related fields, such as psychology, counseling or public health, may be an alternative educational route. In order to move beyond entry level positions, such as caseworkers and intake personnel, the public welfare social worker will usually work toward a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. The MSW degree generally requires one year of coursework beyond the bachelor's degree.
A career in public welfare social working requires skills in listening and communication skills. A public welfare social worker must be able to work as part of a team to find and coordinate private and public services for the long-term benefit of the client.
Career and Economic Outlook
Projected growth in the number of positions for social workers in general is expected to be much faster than the average, expanding by 16% over the 2016-2026 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Median annual earnings for social workers were recorded at $61,980 in May 2017, per the BLS.
Alternate Career Options
Social and Community Service Manager
Normally having at least a bachelor's degree in social work, public administration or urban studies, these managers supervise the staff and social service programs that offer various services to the public. The BLS reported their annual median wages in 2017 as $64,100 and projected that positions would increase at a much faster than average pace of 18% from 2016-2026.
Social and Human Service Assistant
Those interested in more quickly entering a career in social and human services might consider this occupation. Social and human service assistants are supervised by psychologists and social workers, where they can help others seek benefits and support to more easily make it through tough times.
High school graduates will have the best job prospects in this field with related work experience and courses or degrees in relevant fields. These assistants could expect much faster than average employment growth of 16% from 2016-2026, and these positions offered an annual median salary of $33,120 in 2017.