What Can You Do With a Master's in Social Work?

If you are interested in helping families and individuals solve problems or deal with social and emotional issues, then consider social work as a career. A master's degree in this area can provide the educational background and skills needed in social work and other related fields.

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Earning a master's in social work will typically make you a more competitive candidate when applying for social work positions. In some states, a master's degree is also required for clinical social workers. Finally, it may be valuable to consider as well that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for a social worker with a masters degree is $10,000 more than a social worker with a bachelor's degree.

Master's Degree in Social Work: Salary and Career Outlook

The table below shows salaries and projected job growth information for social work-related positions.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)
Child & Family Social Worker 44,380 14%
Fundraiser 55,640 15%
Healthcare Administrator 98,350 (Medical and Health Services Managers) 20% (Medical and Health Services Managers)
Mental Health Social Worker 43,250 19%
School Social Worker 44,380 14%
Social Services Manager 64,100 (Social and Community Service Managers) 18% (Social and Community Service Managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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What Jobs are Available for an Individual with a Master's in Social Work?

Master's level social workers can expect to find work in human services and social work settings as well as in related areas. The following are career descriptions for some jobs available to individuals with a master's degree in social work.

Child and Family Social Worker

A child and family social worker provides intervention to help families overcome issues related to parenting skills and limited financial resources. A social worker who specializes in this area may also investigate instances of child abuse and neglect as well as work with children in the foster care system.


Fundraisers work with non-profit organizations, political campaigns, and other groups to raise money for services and activities. The role involves generating lists of potential donors and contacting those donors. Maintaining good relationships with donors is an essential part of this job. Fundraisers often work with volunteers to develop strategies for raising funds.

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare administrators manage healthcare facilities or departments within those facilities. The duties of a healthcare administrator include planning, directing, budgeting, and assuring that the facility operates in compliance with laws and regulations. Social workers in this position must keep abreast of changes in regulations and emerging technologies.

Mental Health Social Worker

Mental health social workers are usually employed at community mental health centers and psychiatric facilities. Social workers in these environments provide individual and group therapy and counseling for clients who have been diagnosed with mental disorders. They also work with clients with substance abuse issues and persons who have difficulty coping with traumatic experiences.

School Social Worker

School social workers work with teachers, students and parents to address issues that may interfere with academic success. When children have problems at home that affect them at school, a school social worker may meet with parents to discuss such issues. Other problems addressed by school social workers include aggressive behaviors, bullying, and homelessness.

Social Services Manager

A social services manager oversees the activities and work of social workers. They also manage the day-to-day operations of social service organizations. Social services managers may work for government agencies, non-profits, and private companies.

A master's degree in social work prepares individuals to engage in practice in a variety of settings. Based on the salary and job outlook data for various practice areas, the field of social work offers steady employment and wages.

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