There is even an MSW employed by Google to help empower women in tech! If you’re interested in navigating uncharted waters, this is an exciting time to earn your social work degree.
Now more than ever, organizations of all sorts are realizing the value of involving MSWs in their day-to-day operations. Across every industry, there is growing respect for the skills a social worker can bring to a range of positions. Social workers are problem-solvers, game-changers, innovators, organizers, advocates, influencers, implementers, leaders and champions. They can engage on a micro level, while also operating in a macro context. And since they are trained to work with a variety of populations, social workers can adjust their practices to meet the needs of almost any job setting.
Non-Traditional Jobs for an MSW Degree Holder
Because of their expansive and versatile skill set, MSWs can play a valuable role in non-traditional positions. Their knowledge of human behavior equips them to understand personal and organizational needs. Their cultural competency and sensitivity to diversity make them a natural fit for organizations that have a commitment to social responsibility and inclusion.
In short, corporations large and small recognize that the social and emotional competencies possessed by MSWs are needed in the workplace. With that in mind, here are some alternative careers for social workers:
College Counselor/Educational Consultant
College counseling, either privately or in a school, is a natural fit for a social worker. In fact, many MSWs gravitate to being a counselor or educational consultant. It is not only emotionally rewarding to help students reach the next phase of their education, it can also pay off financially.
Legal Mediator/Mental Health Advocate in Divorce, Couples and Business Dispute Resolution
Helpings individuals or couples resolve disputes without going to court is a practice area for which MSWs are particularly well suited. Social workers help parties in conflict consider their own emotional needs and the needs of others, help them create fair and realistic agreements, and, at times, guide them through a separation or divorce. Many states offer interdisciplinary collaborative training and certification for social workers through their state’s Social Work Continuing Education Approval Collaborative. This training also counts as continuing education hours for social workers who are pursuing clinical certification.
MSWs are well equipped to perform community outreach; many work in field settings doing this type of work while completing their degrees, or even concentrate on social policy within their programs. Social workers are familiar with community outreach and empowerment, and easily transition to working in this capacity for non-profits and corporations.
Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
MSWs are also uniquely poised to take on careers in entrepreneurship and social enterprise. That’s because fighting for change and taking on seemingly intractable societal problems is the bread and butter of social work. Trained social workers can think outside of the box, and bring empathetic but informed perspectives to this kind of work.
Corporate Giving and Philanthropy
Because part of the mission of social work is to serve vulnerable populations, MSWs have the expertise to assess and designate organizations worthy of receiving corporate funds. They well equipped to understand how philanthropic gifts should be allocated, and to supervise that allocation.
Many employers hire social workers for human resources positions. This makes sense, because finding ways to meet employees’ needs lines up with a social worker’s skill set. In addition, over 90% of Fortune 500 companies have an employee assistance program (EAP). The majority of EAP work is performed by MSWs.