What Can You Do With a PhD in Social Work?

Sep 30, 2018

With a PhD in Social Work, students will gain a better understanding of human behavior and be able to analyze data to construct social programs. Their degree will qualify them for management positions like human resource managers.

Similar to many other doctorate programs, students who decide to pursue a PhD in Social Work will have the opportunity to select their concentration in fields like addiction, social work administration, policy practice and family studies. While many graduates go into the fields of research and academia upon completing their degree, there are many other careers in social work outside of those areas. Below you will find information on some jobs available to those with a PhD in Social Work.

PhD in Social Work Careers/Salary

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Postsecondary Social Work Teachers $64,480 (for all social sciences teachers) 10% (for all social sciences teachers)
Human Resources Managers $110,120 9%
Training and Development Managers $108,250 10%
Social and Community Service Managers $64,100 18%
Social Workers $47,980 16%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

PhD in Social Work Jobs

Postsecondary Social Work Teachers

Postsecondary social work teachers will need to have a PhD in order to teach at a traditional four-year university. These same individuals may need to have certifications in the social work jobs they cover, and they will also need to know how to operate software associated with such jobs. Additionally, they will instruct students on the proper ways to interact with individuals and educate them on how to go about identifying underlying psychological issues.

Human Resources Managers

Human resources managers oversee employee benefit programs and plans, as well as, interview and hire employees to ensure the proper use of their talents. Additionally, they advise members of management on issues such as equal employment and sexual harassment. Those with a PhD in Social Work will have a good understanding of the ways in which they can manage employees' emotions and their environment.

Training and Development Managers

Training and development managers determine the type of training that employees need and oversee the programs. They study the organizations' strategic goals to determine the appropriate training and utilize all resources effectively. Those with a PhD will have a better understanding of why employees react in the ways they do and will be better equipped to deal with differing personalities.

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers work with community members and supporters to determine what kinds of services and programs are needed within a certain area. They monitor the administrative actions of a given program to ensure that pre-assigned goals are being achieved. Additionally, they plan community outreach events and work to spread awareness of their program. Having a PhD will give recent graduates the educational background necessary to better connect with individuals, analyze data and write funding proposals.

Social Workers

Social workers help to determine which individuals within the community need aid. They then set up meetings with these same individuals to tailor resources and services to their specific needs. Furthermore, they request additional resources from government officials and advocate for the creation of new programs and services. While such an advanced degree is not required, those who have a PhD will be able to partake in a wider range of cases.

For students who wish to have a lasting impact on their communities at the highest level, a PhD in Social Work gives them the tools and skills necessary to do so. They can not only pursue careers in academia and research but also in a multitude of areas geared toward helping individuals in the community and establishing social programs.

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