Social Work: What Direction Can This Career Take You?

In every community, there's a need for social workers. Social work covers a broad range of societal needs. If you are considering social work or related therapy as a career, you need to know what directions you can take withe the education and certification. It's a career with many different doors, which makes it a good fit for a variety of personalities. Here are some career directions you might want to consider. 

1. Addiction counseling.

If you enjoy counseling with people and working with them through past problems, you might consider treating drug and alcohol addiction as a career path. You could work with patients at rehab centers who are rebuilding their lives, directly counsel those who relied on substances to cope with guilt, abuse, or financial trouble, or spend more time working case files if you have amore administrative personality. 

2. Family cases and parenting classes.

If you are interested in working with families and children, you might consider a position with state family agency. You could work with foster care children to help them get placements, including with adoptive families, or you could work with education programs to help teach low-income families parenting skills, budgeting, employment, and nutrition. 

3. Hospital social work.

Entirely different, but essential, hospital social workers help patients and families deal with non-medical issues. For example, after a child passes away, a social worker might help the family by connecting them to funeral services and other community resources. Social workers may also work with families who choose organ donation or who are facing challenging long-term treatment. 

4. Detention centers and prisons. 

Counseling is part of the prison experience, and many social workers find meaning in working with inmates. You might lead a life-improvement program, run addiction recovery programs, work with juveniles to rehabilitate for future education and employment, or facilitate group discussions for people of similar criminal backgrounds. 

5. School counseling. 

A degree in social work or therapy could also put you on the path to work and influence children in high school or junior high. You may work with teens applying for college, discuss teen pregnancy and bullying, or help with developing mental health programs for teen depression and anxiety. After a traumatic incident, school counselors may also offer grief or trauma sessions for affected students.

Social work is a field that requires a variety of personalities and skill sets. If you are interested in this line of work, research career opportunities near you.