SOCIAL WORK PROGRAM FINDER
Nursingprocess.org is an advertising-supported site. Clicking in this box will show you programs related to your search from schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

19 Different Types of Social Workers – Salaries and Outlook


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Do you have the desire to have a personal impact on the lives of others? Have you considered finding a career where you can be a positive influence and help people overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams? If so, a career in social work could be a perfect fit for you. Different focus on specific populations of people and job objectives. If you are wondering, “What are the different types of social workers,” you have found the right article. As you continue reading, you will learn about 19 different types of social workers and find out what they do, where they work, and how much money they earn.


WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOCIAL WORKERS?

(Below you will find detailed information about all the 19 Different Types of Social Workers.)

1. Child and Family Social Worker

Do you have a heart for children and families? Does it make you feel happy when you can encourage others and help them realize their full potential? How do you feel about helping families in times of struggle? If these things interest you, the role of a Child and Family Social Worker may be something you would find fulfilling.

What Does a Child and Family Social Worker Do: Child and Family Social Workers aid children and families to help improve each person's psychological and social functioning as individuals and part of a family unit. They assist parents as they learn ways to help their children reach their full academic potential and work to maximize overall family well-being. Some Child and Family Social Workers help find foster homes for abused or abandoned children, monitor supervised visitation between parents or other family members and children, and help find adoptive families for children who are unable to reconcile with their families. Child and Family Social Workers may also be responsible for offering counseling for behavioral issues, truancy, teenage pregnancy, or other crises in school settings.

Where Do Child and Family Social Workers Work: Child and Family Social Workers have a variety of work settings to choose from. Some choose to work in government agencies, like the Department of Children and Family Services, or work in the Foster Care System of the state where they live. Child and Family Social Workers may work in school systems, residential facilities, behavioral health centers, and juvenile correctional facilities, as well.

What are the Typical Working Hours of a Child and Family Social Worker: Child and Family Social Workers often work typical office hours, meaning they do not have to work nights or weekends. However, some jobs may require them to take call or to work extended hours. Non-traditional hours are more likely to be a requirement in places of employment such as correctional facilities or behavioral/mental health facilities.

What are the Requirements to Become a Child and Family Social Worker: Child and Family Social Workers are typically required to have a minimum bachelor's degree in social work. There are some entry-level positions where applicants with degrees in psychology, sociology, or other related fields may be offered a job while earning their social worker degree. Child and Family Social Workers who wish to work in clinical positions such as those in school or health facility positions or those who want to pursue administrative or supervisory positions may be required to possess a master's degree in social work (MSW).

The University of Memphis offers a Master of Social Work in Children, Youth, and Family. Students can choose from part-time or full-time learning and have the option of virtual education, as well. Another option for anyone interested in becoming a Child and Family Social Worker is the Master of Social Work in Child and Family Welfare at Mississippi State University.

What is the Job Outlook for a Child and Family Social Worker: Approximately twenty-two percent of the United States population are children. That is seventy-three million children in the U.S. According to information from DataUSA, there were 70,000 Child and Family Social Workers in the United States at the end of 2019. The same source projects a growth in jobs for these types of social workers of 15.5% yearly.

What is the Average Salary of a Child and Family Social Worker: Child and Family Social Workers earn an average of $26.31 hourly or $54,730 yearly.

Hourly$26.31
Monthly $4,560
Annual $54,730


2. Community Social Worker

Do you have an interest in how communities of people can grow and function together? Does working with groups of people make you happy? If so, you may find a career as a Community Social Worker very rewarding.

What Does a Community Social Worker Do: Community Social Workers, as their name implies, work to help communities function effectively. Some of these types of social workers work with individuals to conduct needs assessments or make referrals for community resource services. While social workers generally help people with immediate needs, Community Social Workers may be responsible for setting up systems within communities that offer help or assistance long after their presence is needed.

Where Do Community Social Workers Work: Community Social Workers can be found in positions around the world. They are actively involved in every stage of planning, and running organizations focused on promoting community health and wellness. Some may work with non-profit organizations, grant writers, or other community organizers. The services provided by Community Social Workers can vary from local to cross-continental work. Some Community Social Workers may work for national or international organizations and may be required to travel to other countries.

What are the Requirements to Become a Community Social Worker: Although a person with a bachelor's in social work can find employment as a Community Social Worker, many of these types of social workers are required to achieve at least a Master of Social Work degree. Fordham University offers four MSW plans of study, one of which is the Organizations and Community Master of Social Work track. The program is designed to prepare students to work with public and private companies, non-profit organizations, and entire communities. Howard University is a federally chartered historically black university located in Washington, D.C. The university provides a Master of Social Work in Community, Administration, and Policy Practice. The program curriculum is designed to examine how segregation, oppression, and culture influence service to individuals and communities.

What is the Job Outlook for a Community Social Worker: Because community health encompasses such a wide variety of components, Community Health Social Workers may have different practice focuses. Whether focusing on community economic needs, physical health disparities, family challenges, or educational concerns, Community Health Social Workers play a vital role in improving the quality of life for individuals and communities. Their work to address socioeconomic barriers that may lead to poor health, poverty, crime, and low academic success makes them a vital part of the social work community now. As populations grow and age, their expertise will continue to be a valuable resource.

What is the Average Salary of a Community Social Worker: Community Social Workers earn an average income of $26.05 per hour or $54,179 yearly. It is common for social workers in this specialty who travel, especially overseas, to earn higher average salaries.

Hourly$26.05
Monthly $4,510
Annual $54,179


3. Criminal Justice Social Worker

Does learning about the legal system intrigue you? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an advocate for people in the criminal justice system? Maybe you have an interest in the law and the rights of others, but becoming a police officer or an attorney is not something you are interested in. If that sounds like you, becoming a Criminal Justice Social Worker could be an excellent alternative option for you.

What Does a Criminal Justice Social Worker Do: Criminal Justice Social Workers are one of the types of social workers who serve clients within the criminal justice system. The people they work with include offenders, victims, and their families. The daily responsibilities of Criminal Justice Social Workers vary depending on where they work. In correctional facilities, Criminal Justice Social Workers may prepare inmates to transition from life in jail to a life that does not involve incarceration or vice versa. This may include conducting psychoeducational classes or teaching groups about anger management, job readiness, or positive coping skills. Criminal Justice Social Workers may work in Diversion Programs and counsel individuals who have been found guilty of a crime but offered the opportunity to avoid jail time by completing the program. Other Criminal Justice Social Workers may serve as expert witnesses in court or advocate on a client’s behalf before a judge or district attorney. Another job some Criminal Justice Social Workers fill is that of a victim advocate. Victim advocates work with law enforcement to assist victims as they go through the legal process of reporting a crime and following through. Some victim advocates continue to work with victims long after a trial has ended, and an offender is sentenced.

Where Do Criminal Justice Social Workers Work: Criminal Justice Social Workers work in state or federal correctional facilities. Other places of employment for this type of social worker include probation and parole boards, diversion programs, and local or state law enforcement offices.

What are the Requirements to Become a Criminal Justice Social Worker: Most Criminal Justice Social Worker positions require a master's degree in social work. However, there are some jobs for which applicants with a Bachelor’s in Social Work may qualify if they work under the supervision of a social worker with at least a master’s degree. Southern New Hampshire University offers a bachelor's and master's in social work degrees and the option to earn a criminal justice dual degree. Walden University offers a graduate certificate in criminal justice that is appropriate for social workers who have earned an MSW.

What is the Job Outlook for a Criminal Justice Social Worker: The United States arrests more people, per capita than any other country. Over the course of a year, approximately 2.4 million people are incarcerated, and another 3.4 million are on probation or parole. That is 6.7 million people who are limited to some type of correctional control in the U.S! Of the nearly 680,000 social workers in the United States, Criminal Justice Social Workers account for only seven percent or 47,600. These numbers alone suggest there is one Criminal Justice Social Worker for every 141 offenders, and the number of victims is not included in these statistics. With that in mind, it is safe to assume the job outlook for Criminal Justice Social Workers will not only be steady but will see growth.

What is the Average Salary of a Criminal Justice Social Worker: Criminal Justice Social Workers earn an average annual salary of $52,731 or $25.35 per hour, which is three and a half times the national minimum wage.

Hourly$25.35
Monthly $4,390
Annual $52,731


4. Disability Social Worker

Are you one of the special people who have a desire to help people with mental or physical disabilities? Do you feel fulfilled when you can help others overcome challenges and realize their potential? Disability Social Workers are dedicated to working with individuals with disabilities and their families or caregivers.

What Does a Disability Social Worker Do: Disability Social Workers work with people who have varying degrees of physical or mental disabilities or challenges. One of the most important responsibilities of a Disability Social Worker is to help clients understand their diagnoses and offer guidance and support to help them make lifestyle adjustments to cope with those disabilities. There are many types of physical and mental disabilities, and those who are diagnosed with them may experience them differently.

The services Disability Social Workers provide depend upon the client's level of disability, their support system, and specific needs. For example, some clients may need help securing safe housing that accommodates their disability. Others may need help finding appropriate transportation to and from appointments or work if they are able. Disability Social Workers may connect clients with support groups who specialize in dealing with a specific type of disability.

There are several subspecialties of Disability Social Workers, and their job responsibilities vary depending on their specialty. The following are a few examples.

Developmental Disability Social Workers work with clients who have developmental issues, including Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, or similar problems. People with developmental disabilities typically have substantial limitations in at least three daily life activities such as self-care, communication and learning, self-direction, and independent living. A Developmental Disability Social Worker will assess their client’s individual needs and strengths to determine the type of support necessary to help them achieve the highest level of functioning. They create care plans that offer client support and promote a sense of well-being for the client.

Learning Disability Social Workers work with individuals who are intellectually challenged. Children with learning disabilities who are in school will be evaluated for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan. The Individualized Education Program is a program developed to ensure children with identified learning disabilities in elementary or secondary schools receive special, individualized instruction and services to help them succeed academically to the best of their abilities. Learning Disability Social Workers work with schools to develop the IEP for their clients and acts as an advocate for the child.

Where Do Disability Social Workers Work: Disability Social Workers work in various settings. Some work in schools, while others may work in hospitals, mental health clinics, or for the Department of Children and Family Services. Although some types of social workers have typical "office hours," it is not uncommon for Disability Social Workers to be required to work evenings, holidays, or weekends, depending on their client's needs.

What are the Requirements to Become a Disability Social Worker: Like other different types of social workers, a Disability Social Worker will need a bachelor's degree in Social Work to secure an entry-level position. Some employers may accept applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree in psychology or sociology, but that decision is reserved for the employer to make. A Master of Social Work degree is the preferred degree for anyone who aspires to have a leadership or administrative position as a Disability Social Worker. Regis College’s MSW program prepares students with practical learning experiences relevant for anyone who wishes to advance into the specialized field of Disability Social Work.

What is the Job Outlook for a Disability Social Worker: According to the Centers for Disease Control, sixty-one million adults in the United States live with some type of disability. The U.S. Census Bureau reports over three million children under the age of eighteen have a disability. As people grow older and experience age-related changes in cognition and physical functioning, the need for assistance will increase. Further, if current trends in the occurrence of disabilities as the population grows, it is safe to assume that the job outlook for Disability Social Workers will remain favorable.

What is the Average Salary of a Disability Social Worker: Disability Social Workers earn an average of $26.22 hourly or $4,550 each month. This is the equivalent of $54,540 annually, almost $20,000 more than the median individual income of people living in the United States.

Hourly$26.22
Monthly $4,550
Annual $54,540


5. Environmental Social Worker

Have you wondered about the importance of the environment and its impact on life as we know it? Environmental and ecological sustainability are essential factors in achieving well-being for every living being and protecting the planet. Did you know there are professionals who work to ensure environmental and ecological measures of sustainability are met? Perhaps this type of work interests you. If so, you may like to consider a career as an Environmental Social Worker.

What Does an Environmental Social Worker Do: Environmental or Ecological Social Work is described as the place where the environment and humanity intersect. Environmental Social Workers use theories of social and ecological justice spirituality, human rights, and issues regarding biological sustainability to develop and implement plans to support life on the planet. These types of social workers are primarily concerned with how environmental issues affect people and populations.

Where Do Environmental Social Workers Work: Environmental Social Workers may practice in social or political environments where they apply their knowledge of environmental factors that impact society. Others may work in community centers or among migrant or immigrant populations. In these settings, this type of social worker uses cultural sensitivity to understand and alleviate problems faced by individuals who must adapt to a new environment and initiate resources and strategies to help communities overcome adversities.

What are the Requirements to Become an Environmental Social Worker: It is recommended that Environmental Social Workers earn a master’s in social work degree with a concentration in global or environmental practice. Denver University’s Graduate School of Social Work offers a Master of Social Work concentration in Sustainable Development and Global Practice. The program prepares students to work in environmental or international social work. Students learn to assess environmental risk factors, how to engage and educate communities, promote health and organize and mobilize efforts focused on environmental and biological preservation.

What is the Job Outlook for an Environmental Social Worker: Several factors indicate the job outlook for Environmental Social Workers is positive. Issues such as climate change and the need to assist humanity in creating a biologically diverse ecosystem mean there is a need for qualified people to lead these efforts.

What is the Average Salary of an Environmental Social Worker: Environmental Social Workers have an average annual income of $51,970, two and a half times that of the national individual income average.

Hourly$24.99
Monthly $4,330
Annual $51,970


6. Gerontological Social Worker

Do you enjoy spending time with the elderly? Have you considered what it would be like to have a job that is devoted to caring for the aged? If being an advocate for older adults interests you, a career as a Gerontological Social Worker, also called a Geriatric Social Worker, may be the perfect job for you.

What Does a Gerontological Social Worker Do: Gerontological Social Workers help coordinate the care of older adults in various settings. They help clients and their loved ones learn ways to manage emotional, psychological, and social challenges that occur because of aging. Gerontological Social Workers may act as a liaison between a client’s healthcare team and family to ensure the client receives appropriate care and services based on their individual needs.

Where Do Gerontological Social Workers Work: Gerontological Social Workers work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. They may also work in physician's offices, home health, or hospice agencies. Depending on their place of employment, most Gerontological Social Workers work typical office hours. However, there may be times when they are required to be called out to work during unscheduled times, including during emergency situations or if a death of a client occurs.

What are the Requirements to Become a Gerontological Social Worker: Like other types of social workers, one may find an entry-level position in gerontological social work with a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) degree. However, to advance into leadership roles, an MSW is preferred. Social workers who wish to work with geriatric clients may pursue the Social Worker in Gerontology, which is a post-bachelor of social work. The SWG requires candidates to have completed a gerontology concentration or have at least twenty hours of relevant continuing education.

What is the Job Outlook for a Gerontological Social Worker: There are a little more than seven thousand geriatricians practicing in the United States today. While Gerontological Social Workers are not practicing physicians like geriatricians, their expertise is invaluable in the care of older adults. In 2018, fifty-two million Americans were aged sixty-five or older. The Population Reference Bureau estimates that number will grow to ninety-five million by 2060. Further, according to the American Geriatrics Society, at least thirty percent of Americans aged 65 and older will require geriatric care by 2030. The current statistics and projected growth in numbers offer a strong indication that the job outlook for a Gerontological Social Worker is promising.

What is the Average Salary of a Gerontological Social Worker: Gerontological Social Workers are ranked in the top five income earners among diverse types of social workers. They earn an average annual salary of $65,076.

Hourly$31.29
Monthly $5,420
Annual $65,076


7. International Social Worker

Does impacting individuals and communities across the globe sound like an exciting opportunity to you? Are you interested in understanding issues that influence populations internationally? International Social Workers specialize in addressing these issues, and if this sounds interesting to you, it could be an excellent career option to consider.

What Does an International Social Worker Do: International Social Workers provide education, counseling, and other types of assistance relevant to global issues. Some of the things these types of social workers focus on include gender inequality, poverty, child labor, natural disasters, and war. International Social Workers advocate for those in need globally by communicating what specific populations need and reaching out to private and government organizations for assistance.

Where Do International Social Workers Work: International Social Workers provide aid to populations all over the world. Some of these types of social workers may be deployed to work in third-world countries where there is a great need for basic human needs to be met. Many government agencies rely on International Social Workers to provide structure and a qualified workforce capable of helping remedy critical issues.

What are the Requirements to Become an International Social Worker: Anyone interested in pursuing a career as an International Social Worker should earn a Master of Social Work from an accredited institution. Although learning a second language is not a requirement to become an International Social Worker, it can be helpful.

The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration offers a two-year International Social Welfare program for candidates who wish to become International Social Workers. The program includes a study-abroad requirement available at over six hundred partner agencies. The university also offers a Global Health Certificate for social workers with an interest in international work. The University of Michigan also provides a Global Social Work Pathway for social work students interested in global issues.

Studying from a global perspective positions graduates for opportunities with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the International Justice Mission and World Health Organization.

What is the Job Outlook for an International Social Worker: International Social Workers play a vital role in advocating for diverse populations worldwide. With chronic issues like war, poverty, human trafficking, natural disasters, forced labor, and disease, the need for International Social Workers continues to grow.

What is the Average Salary of an International Social Worker: International Social Workers earn an average of $60,818 yearly. This salary is equivalent to $29.24 hourly or $5,070 monthly.

Hourly$29.24
Monthly $5,070
Annual $60,818


8. Medical Social Worker

Do you enjoy helping and caring for others? Are you interested in working in a healthcare setting but prefer not to have a hands-on clinical role like a doctor or nurse? A career as a Medical Social Worker will allow you to care for clients and be part of an interdisciplinary team without having to participate in the clinical side of care.

What Does a Medical Social Worker Do: Medical Social Workers partner with members of the interdisciplinary healthcare team to provide care for patients across the lifespan. Their jobs involve helping patients and their families understand their illnesses and provide information about available resources. Medical Social Workers are an essential part of patient care from the time the patient is admitted to care to discharge and often through follow-up.

Job responsibilities may differ but typically include the following:

◦ Review admission information to determine issues or special needs the patient may have
◦ Help develop discharge plans, including making sure referrals to specialists or other services such as physical therapy or counseling are complete
◦ Provide clients and their caregivers with information regarding financial resources to help them
◦ Coordinate the care of clients with complex needs who require multiple healthcare services


Where Do Medical Social Workers Work: Medical Social Workers work in various settings, including outpatient healthcare centers, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospice agencies, home health agencies, and hospitals. These types of social workers may also work in adult correctional centers, juvenile detention centers, or mental health hospitals.

What are the Requirements to Become a Medical Social Worker: Applicants with a bachelor's degree in social work, sociology, or psychology may be suitable candidates for some types of social worker jobs. However, minimum job requirements vary from one organization to another, and some may require a master's degree in social work. Medical Social Workers must obtain a license to practice as social workers in the state where they wish to practice. Most states require a minimum amount of supervised work experience to become eligible for licensure.

Campbellsville University and the University of Nebraska at Kearney offer online Bachelor of Social Work programs with the option of a Medical Social Worker concentration.

What is the Job Outlook for a Medical Social Worker: As populations age and the overall population increases, there will be a continued need for Medical Social Workers to help clients and their families adjust to lifestyle and health changes. Of all types of social workers, Medical Social Workers are one of three types that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives specific projections for job outlook. According to the BLS, healthcare/Medical Social Workers will experience a fourteen percent growth in employment opportunities from 2019 to 2029. That is an estimated 20,700 new jobs, indicating a good job outlook for Medical Social Workers.

What is the Average Salary of a Medical Social Worker: Medical Social Workers are the second most popular type of social worker. Their average hourly pay rate is $30.12 or $62,645 annually.

Hourly$30.12
Monthly $5,220
Annual $62,645


9. Mental Health Social Worker

Mental health issues are an essential factor that impacts populations worldwide. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that twenty percent of Americans, one in five, live with some type of mental health disorder. If you desire to work with people recovering from behavioral, mental, or emotional challenges, a Mental Health Social Worker career may be an excellent option for you.

What Does a Mental Health Social Worker Do: Mental Health Social Workers play a vital role in empowering individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. This type of social worker specializes in offering support, providing therapy, and coordinating care for their clients in various settings and roles. Mental Health Social Workers conduct psychosocial and risk assessments, implement measures for crisis intervention, establish plans for coordinated care, and arrange and often supervise individual and group psychotherapy.

Where Do Mental Health Social Workers Work: Mental Health Social Workers are employed in various settings, including outpatient mental health clinics, inpatient mental or psychiatric hospitals, Alzheimer's and dementia units, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and intensive psychiatric facilities. Some of these types of social workers may work in prisons or juvenile detention centers, while others work in academia and prepare future Mental Health Social Workers for their role.

What are the Requirements to Become a Mental Health Social Worker: The work required of Mental Health Social Workers is intensive and often involves caring for clients with severe behavioral issues and mental health disorders. Because of this, psychiatric social workers are usually required to earn a graduate degree in social work methods, including crisis interventions, psychotherapy, group therapy, and interprofessional collaboration. A Master's in Social Work with a concentration in psychiatric or clinical social work is the preferred degree for this type of social worker. Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Social Work program within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

What is the Job Outlook for a Mental Health Social Worker: Over fifty-one million people in the United States have experienced some form of mental illness. The Centers for Disease Control projects more than fifty percent of the population will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lives. With statistics that indicate the continued occurrence of mental health issues and growing public awareness of mental health and wellness, there is a strong indication that the job outlook for Mental Health Social Workers will remain promising.

What is the Average Salary of a Mental Health Social Worker: Mental Health Social Workers in the United States earn approximately $27.30 hourly, an average of nearly $57,000 annually.

Hourly$27.30
Monthly $4,730
Annual $56,782


10. Military and Veterans Social Worker

Military service members, veterans, and their families make or have made significant sacrifices to provide liberties for citizens of all backgrounds. Have you ever wondered who advocates on behalf of military servicemen and women and veterans? Perhaps you have considered being one of the people who fill the role of military and veterans advocate. If so, a career as a Military and Veterans Social Worker is something to consider.

What Does a Military and Veterans Social Worker Do: Military and Veterans Social Workers focus on supporting active servicemen and women, veterans, retired members of the military, and their families. This type of social worker offers case management and counseling services and advocates for clients in the Veterans Administration system.

Issues including military deployments, especially in combat areas, and exposure to violent or dangerous situations can lead to problems like depression, anxiety, alcohol or drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, or suicidal tendencies. Military and Veterans Social Workers are specially trained to help clients face these issues and gain control of their lives. This type of social worker also helps military members, active and retired, who have experienced physical injuries to access benefits such as therapy, counseling, and other rehabilitative services.

Unfortunately, the mental and emotional trauma that active and veteran military members experience often affects their loved ones in the form of spousal abuse, domestic violence, or child abuse. Military and Veterans Social Workers act as advocates for victims of these types of violence by providing access to protective and legal resources.

Where Do Military and Veterans Social Workers Work: The federal government employs the most significant number of Military and Veterans Social Workers. However, state, and local governments, private hospitals and clinics, Veteran's hospitals and nursing homes, and non-profit groups are other places where Military and Veterans Social Workers may work.

What are the Requirements to Become a Military and Veterans Social Worker: Aspiring Military and Veterans Social Workers should pursue a Master of Social Work degree. Master's in social work programs with military social work concentrations are rare. Therefore, students may opt to use electives relevant to the types of cases they may work. These include psychology with a focus on substance abuse counseling, individual and family counseling, and the psychology of traumatic events. Although a master's in social work is the preferred and most direct academic path to a career as a Military and Veterans Social Worker, alternative options that do not require a graduate degree are available. For instance, individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in social work can pursue a certificate in military or veteran social work.The University of Central Florida offers a Master of Social Work degree with the option to earn a specialty certificate in military social work. The University of Southern California offers an online Master of Social Work program with a specialization in military social work.

What is the Job Outlook for a Military and Veterans Social Worker: There are currently 2.2 million active-duty military personnel and more than 18 million retired military veterans in the United States. These numbers alone account for more than twenty million military members, not to mention their spouses, children, or other family members. Military and Veterans Social Workers are responsible for the care of military personnel and their families. Judging by the numbers, it is natural to assume a strong employment outlook will remain for this type of social worker.

What is the Average Salary of a Military and Veterans Social Worker: Military and Veterans Social Workers are among the least common of the different types of social workers. However, their average annual salary of $58,838 ranks them among the top ten money-earners among all social workers.

Hourly $28.29
Monthly $4,900
Annual $58,838


11. Occupational Social Worker

Do you have a mind for business and an interest in learning ways to make businesses more efficient? Are you interested in finding ways to make people feel more confident and appreciated and preventing or addressing and eliminating work-related problems? If so, maybe you should consider a career as an Occupational Social Worker.

What Does an Occupational Social Worker Do: Occupational Social Workers perform a wide variety of daily tasks. At times, this type of social worker may work with employers and companies to help them assess their business structure and methods and find ways to improve productivity, efficiency, and boost employee morale. They may manage mental health services for companies or offer resources and referrals for substance abuse, domestic violence, or anger management counseling. Additionally, Occupational Social Workers may provide vocational rehabilitation services and provide resources for working single parents.

Where Do Occupational Social Workers Work: Occupational Social Workers work in a variety of public and private businesses, associations, and corporations. Some of these types of social workers may be involved with employment counseling or work for a union.

What are the Requirements to Become an Occupational Social Worker: As with different types of social workers, candidates pursuing a career as an Occupational Social Worker should earn at least a bachelor’s degree in social work. However, as with different types of social workers, anyone who has a desire to work in an administrative position or move from entry-level work should consider pursuing a Master of social work degree.

What is the Job Outlook for an Occupational Social Worker: Successful businesses mean economic stability for everyone. Occupational Social Workers have an essential role in developing plans to help businesses and employees reach their full potential, which impacts populations worldwide. Increased awareness of the importance of boosting employee morale, offering emotional or mental health services, and promoting vocational rehabilitation services, the job outlook for Occupational Social Workers is promising.

What is the Average Salary of an Occupational Social Worker: Occupational Social Workers rank in the top five income-earners among the different types of social workers. They make an average of $30.73 hourly, which is the equivalent of $5,330 monthly or $63,919 yearly.

Hourly $30.73
Monthly $5,330
Annual $63,919


12. Palliative and Hospice Social Worker

The National Health Council estimates that chronic diseases and pain affect approximately 133 million Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 2.1 million Americans are currently receiving hospice treatment. Have you wondered who helps coordinate care for patients who are experiencing chronic or terminal illness? Palliative and Hospice Social Workers provide support to patients and families and is their advocate as part of the interdisciplinary team.

What Does a Palliative and Hospice Social Worker Do: To understand what Palliative and Hospice Social Workers do, one must first understand the meaning of palliative and hospice care. Although the terms palliative and hospice are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings.

Palliative care is any type of care focused on relieving or preventing pain. Palliative care can include spiritual, physical, and psychosocial issues associated with severe illness or disease.On the other hand, hospice care is a type of palliative care that involves offering emotional and physical comfort during the end-of-life.

Palliative and Hospice Social Workers provide care for patients and their families during critical times in their lives. Their jobs require them to fulfill a variety of tasks. In their day-to-day roles, Palliative and Hospice Social Workers are actively involved in performing psychosocial assessments, offering counseling and psychotherapy, offer crisis intervention, patient education, and resources, and participate in care coordination within an interdisciplinary team.

Where Do Palliative and Hospice Social Workers Work: Palliative and Hospice Social Workers work in hospitals, home health agencies, hospice agencies, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities. Some may work in government medical facilities, such as Veteran’s homes or hospitals.

What are the Requirements to Become a Palliative and Hospice Social Worker: Social workers may enter the field of Palliative and Hospice Care at the bachelor's or master's level. Palliative and Hospice Social Workers may pursue voluntary certification, as well. The National Association of Social Workers Certified Hospice and Palliative Social Worker certification is for bachelor's-prepared social workers who have three years of experience working in palliative or hospice care and have met relevant continuing education requirements. Master's-prepared social workers with palliative and hospice experience may pursue an Advanced Hospice and Palliative Care credential.

What is the Job Outlook for a Palliative and Hospice Social Worker: According to a study by the International Cancer Control Partnership, over forty million people in the United States need palliative and end-of-life care annually. Palliative and Hospice Social Workers are an essential part of the interdisciplinary team that provides care for these clients and their loved ones making the outlook for future jobs appear secure.

What is the Average Salary of a Palliative and Hospice Social Worker: Palliative and Hospice Social Workers typically earn a yearly salary of about $57,083.

Hourly $27.44
Monthly $4,760
Annual $57,083


13. Political Social Worker

Do you have an interest in politics but are unsure if a career as a politician is a good fit for you? Does the thought of using values and ethics to promote change, challenge systemic discrimination, and find ways to get rid of inequalities sound like something you would like to do? If so, perhaps you should consider a career as a Political Social Worker.

What Does a Political Social Worker Do: Political Social Workers use their knowledge and skills to promote social change in the political arena. Their work is grounded in the ethics and values of core social work, which include professional responsibility used to challenge discrimination and inequalities by using political action. Political Social Workers strive to address issues such as barriers that affect political, social, racial justice, and economic risk factors. They also engage in political actions designed to promote individual and community well-being by developing and implementing policies and evaluating their outcomes.

Where Do Political Social Workers Work: Political Social Workers may work in settings like offices of political action committees, political campaign organizations, advocacy, or lobbying organizations, or in offices of local, state, or national elected officials. Some may work as campaign managers, political directors, or volunteer coordinators.

What are the Requirements to Become a Political Social Worker: Political Social Workers are usually educated at the master’s level in social work and pursue a subspecialty in political studies. The University of Michigan’s School of Social Work offers a Policy and Political Social Work program designed to prepare graduates with theoretical knowledge and skills relevant to social work practice within the political arena. The university also offers an online certificate in political social work , which is available to all social workers, regardless of their primary practice area.

What is the Job Outlook for a Political Social Worker: There are nearly 100,000 unique types of government in the United States alone. The role that Political Social Workers fill as advocates for social justice, even amid mounting adversity, is undeniable. In a time when power and influence create a disparity of attitudes and information, the need for dedicated Political Social Workers becomes more evident. It gives a strong indication that the long-term outlook for these types of social worker jobs will remain positive.

What is the Average Salary of a Political Social Worker: Political Social Workers currently rank as the number one income earners among the different types of social workers. They earn an average hourly wage of $31.38, which is equivalent to $5,440 monthly or $65,280 annually.

Hourly $31.38
Monthly $5,440
Annual $65,280


14. Public Health Social Worker

Social work offers broad diversity when it comes to specialties. One type of social worker, the Public Health Social Worker, uses a social perspective and an epidemiological approach in practice. These social workers take work done at community levels and translate it into information used to develop policies for large and diverse populations. If this sounds interesting to you, a Public Health Social Worker career could be your calling.

What Does a Public Health Social Worker Do: Public Health Social Workers strive to identify individuals and communities with specific health issues or risk factors and to provide intervention services to help meet those needs. Additionally, they work to design and implement plans to prevent increased risk of public health issues.

Where Do Public Health Social Workers Work: Public Health Social Workers work in many areas. Some common places where these types of social workers may be employed include community mental health centers, state or local government public health agencies, hospitals and health clinics, child welfare agencies, colleges, and universities. Some Public Health Social Workers may work with environmental agencies working on issues that connect public and environmental health issues.

What are the Requirements to Become a Public Health Social Worker: To become a Public Health Social Worker, candidates should pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work, sociology, or psychology. Some people choose to earn dual degrees in social work and public health. The Colorado School of Public Health offers masters and doctoral programs in both public health and social work. Students may choose to pursue one or both degrees and may earn them consecutively or concurrently. In partnership with the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Public Health/Master of Social Work dual degree program .

What is the Job Outlook for a Public Health Social Worker: The public, overall, is more interested today than in times past in how their environment and matters of public health can affect individual and population health. Further, with issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid crisis, there is growing concern from private citizens and healthcare providers alike about how to combat these issues and improve health outcomes for society. As Public Health Social Workers identify individuals with health issues, assess health needs, and work with government authorities to improve access to healthcare services, the job outlook for their specialty continues to offer promise.

What is the Average Salary of a Public Health Social Worker: Public Health Social Workers are among the top five earners of the different types of social workers, earning approximately $62,819 yearly.

Hourly $30.20
Monthly $5,230
Annual $62,819


15. Rehabilitation Social Worker

People who need rehabilitative services deal with more than physical health issues. Emotional and mental strain, such as anxiety or depression, often occur. Having the right people involved in care makes it possible to address all these issues and help clients succeed in their rehabilitative efforts. Rehabilitation Social Workers are an essential part of the care team who help make this happen.

What Does a Rehabilitation Social Worker Do: Rehabilitation Social Workers contribute significantly to the recovery of patients receiving rehabilitative services. Important job responsibilities for these types of social workers include performing psychosocial assessments of patients, educating patients and families about rehabilitative services, provide support services to clients and family members as they deal with changes caused by the patient's condition. Rehabilitation Social Workers act as advocates for clients and their families, making sure they are aware of patient rights and addressing any issues that may arise if those rights are violated. They work to aid the decision-making process on behalf of clients so services can be expedited and the patient can begin their road to recovery.

Where Do Rehabilitation Social Workers Work: Rehabilitation Social Workers work in a variety of settings. Some work in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, outpatient rehabilitation facilities, or hospital rehabilitation departments. Long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and home health agencies often employ Rehabilitation Social Workers, as well.

What are the Requirements to Become a Rehabilitation Social Worker: To become a Rehabilitation Social Worker, a minimum bachelor’s degree in one of the behavioral sciences plus at least one year of clinical experience in a rehabilitation environment is preferred. Many employers prefer candidates to earn a master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling or Social Work.

What is the Job Outlook for a Rehabilitation Social Worker: Over 2.5 billion people worldwide need some type of rehabilitative service. Collectively, there are less than one million social workers in the country, and less than 200,000 of those social workers work in some type of rehabilitative capacity. As the population grows and as baby boomers age and experience the need for rehabilitation services, it is natural to assume the job outlook for Rehabilitation Social Workers is quite favorable.

What is the Average Salary of a Rehabilitation Social Worker: Rehabilitative social workers earn an average monthly salary of $4,360, which is approximately $52,370.

Hourly $25.18
Monthly $4,360
Annual $52,370


16. School Social Worker

Have you wanted to work in the educational system but do not have an interest in teaching? Do you like the idea of being a support person who promotes the academic and social success of students? If so, one of the types of social workers featured in this article, School Social Worker, may be a great career option for you to consider.

What Does a School Social Worker Do: School social work covers a broad range of social work services within the educational system. School Social Workers use their knowledge and skills to offer their services to students and educators. This specialized type of social worker is trained as mental health professionals. They help with behavioral concerns and support, mental health issues, and academic issues. School Social Workers are instrumental in furthering the agenda of schools, which is to offer a setting that is conducive to learning, teaching, gaining confidence, and attaining competence.

Where Do School Social Workers Work: School Social Workers are hired within school districts at various levels. Some work with state or local school boards and boards of education. Others work at elementary, junior high, or high schools and at colleges or universities.

What are the Requirements to Become a School Social Worker: The requirements to become a School Social Worker vary by state. At a minimum, interested individuals must earn a bachelor's degree in social work, psychology, or sociology. However, the National Association of Social Work Standards for School Social Work Services recommends entry-level School Social Workers should earn a Master of Social Work degree. In states where bachelor’s-prepared social workers are employed as School Social Workers, the NASW Standards for School Social Work Services recommends the social work be supervised by a social worker who has earned at least a master’s degree.

What is the Job Outlook for a School Social Worker: There are nearly 143,000 School Social Workers currently employed in the U.S. In elementary and secondary schools alone, approximately 57 million students are currently enrolled. Those numbers mean there are 399 students to every School Social Worker, not including students enrolled in post-secondary education programs. These statistics alone give strong reason to believe the employment outlook for School Social Workers will remain positive.

What is the Average Salary of a School Social Worker: The average annual salary for School Social Workers is $53,818. This is the equivalent of $25.87 hourly or $4,480 monthly.

Hourly $25.87
Monthly $4,480
Annual $53,818


17. Substance Abuse Social Worker

Do you have a genuine desire to help others? Are you patient and understanding? Have you or someone you know been affected by some type of substance abuse disorder? If you answered yes to these questions, you might be the perfect candidate to become a Substance Abuse Social Worker.

What Does a Substance Abuse Social Worker Do: Substance Abuse Social Workers offer support to individuals and families affected by substance abuse disorders, such as drug or alcohol use. These social workers may be involved in activities including individual and group therapy, case management, crisis intervention, prevention and education, and client advocacy.

Where Do Substance Abuse Social Workers Work: Substance Abuse Social Workers may work in psychiatric or medical hospitals, substance abuse hospitals, inpatient or outpatient substance abuse clinics, detoxification, and substance abuse rehabilitation centers. They may also work in private practices or in physician's offices. Some Substance Abuse Social Workers are employed in academia, correctional facilities, community service centers, government agencies, and schools.

What are the Requirements to Become a Substance Abuse Social Worker: With a Bachelor of Social Work degree, it is possible to secure a job as a Substance Abuse Social Worker in positions such as a care coordinator or case manager. However, to have a more clinical role in client care and treat patients with substance abuse issues, a Master of Social Work degree is necessary. The National Association of Social Workers offers a credential called the Certified Clinical Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Social Worker (C-CATODSW) . This credential is available to master’s-prepared social workers whose practice is focused on substance abuse issues. Candidates for the certification must meet the following criteria.

◦ Have a master’s degree in social work
◦ Complete one hundred eighty contact hours of relevant professional continuing education
◦ Have documentation of at least two years (or 3,000 hours) of supervised, paid post-master's clinical experience with substance abuse disorders
◦ Possess a current clinical social work license in the state where they will practice


What is the Job Outlook for a Substance Abuse Social Worker: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly twenty million Americans aged twelve years or older suffer from some type of substance abuse issue. Unfortunately, there are only about 117,000 mental health and Substance Abuse Social Workers in the United States. As society becomes more aware of the effect that substance abuse has on individuals and families, and with increased efforts to combat the crisis, the job outlook for Substance Abuse Social Workers is likely to be quite positive.

What is the Average Salary of a Substance Abuse Social Worker: Substance Abuse Social Workers typically earn an annual salary of around $53,000. Although they are not among the highest-paid types of social workers, they still earn nearly twice the average individual income in the United States.

Hourly $25.56
Monthly $4,430
Annual $53,161


18. Trauma Social Worker

People from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds have risk factors for experiencing trauma. Have you wondered who offers support to trauma victims? Perhaps you would like to provide support and resources for people who have endured a traumatic event but are unsure what options are available. If that sounds like you, this section about Trauma Social Workers could be of interest to you.

What Does a Trauma Social Worker Do: Trauma Social Workers are trained to help victims of traumatic events obtain emotional, medical, and psychological care and assistance necessary to help them recover. These types of social workers act as an integral part of an interdisciplinary team that typically includes physicians, emergency personnel, therapists or counselors, the client, and the client’s family or loved ones.The level of job responsibility a Trauma Social Worker has depends mainly upon the degree and type of license and/or certification they hold. With a master's in social work, a Trauma Social Worker may diagnose and treat trauma-related emotional or mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Where Do Trauma Social Workers Work: Like all the different types of social workers, Trauma Social Workers find employment in various settings. Some Trauma Social Workers may work with individuals who have been incarcerated for a long time and help them find ways to become acclimated to life outside of prison, including using resources to cope with the emotional struggles related to committing criminal offenses or imprisonment that may occur as a result.

What are the Requirements to Become a Trauma Social Worker: It is recommended for anyone pursuing a career as a Trauma Social Worker to earn a Master of Social Work degree. There are several options for students who wish to earn an MSW and specialize in Trauma. The following schools offer online options for prospective students.

George Mason University
Campbellsville University
Our lady of the Lake University


What is the Job Outlook for a Trauma Social Worker: As individuals and society have begun to realize the impact that trauma has on individuals and populations, there is also increased awareness that the need for well-trained people to help victims cope is imperative. Whether the need is filled in hospitals or emergency departments, schools, trauma centers, or prisons, there is no doubt the work of a Trauma Social Worker is valuable, and long-term job opportunities are increasingly favorable.

What is the Average Salary of a Trauma Social Worker: Trauma Social Workers earn nearly $63,000 each year, making them some of the highest-paid social worker specialties.

Hourly $30.29
Monthly $5,250
Annual $62,998


19. Youth Social Worker

Do you have a desire to work with preteens or teenage children? Does helping others realize and achieve their potential make you happy? If this sounds like you, a career as a Youth Social Worker is something you may find interesting.

What Does a Youth Social Worker Do: Youth Social Workers help preteens and adolescents face complex issues and are a source of support and guidance as they navigate through struggles. This type of social worker has an important societal role, as they help shape the lives of youth by teaching them coping strategies, encouraging them to pursue goals and dreams, and being a place of safety for at-risk youth.One primary goal of Youth Social Workers is to identify issues and intervene before those issues escalate, leading to educational, family, or social problems.

Where Do Youth Social Workers Work: Youth Social Workers offer their services in a wide variety of settings. Some Youth Social Workers work in offices, hospitals, schools, community centers, community health clinics, and client homes. While many Youth Social Workers work in settings with typical weekday schedules, the days and hours each one works are determined by the client's needs.

What are the Requirements to Become a Youth Social Worker: Youth Social Workers can earn an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree in social work. However, any Youth Social Worker who aspires to have a management role should consider pursuing a master's degree in Social Work. The University of Memphis offers an MSW in Children, Youth, and Family , and Mississippi Valley State University offers the MSW in Child and Family Welfare .

What is the Job Outlook for a Youth Social Worker: Youth Social Workers have a vital role in strengthening the bonds between youth and families. They are important advocates whose skills are needed across cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. The employment outlook for Youth Social Workers is expected to continue to rise.

What is the Average Salary of a Youth Social Worker: Youth Social Workers earn three and a half times the national hourly minimum wage of $7.25. Their salaries average $24.84 per hour or $51,660 annually.

Hourly $24.84
Monthly $4,310
Annual $51,660


Key Factors to Consider While Deciding Which Type of Social Worker Should You Be?


As you have learned in this article, there are several different types of social workers. Knowing you want a career in social work is the first step to beginning your career. There are several factors to consider as you decide which type of social worker you want to be. Here are a few of those key factors.

1. Macro, Direct, or Clinical... Which should you choose?

Social workers practice in many different settings, and each typically falls into one of three categories: Macro, Direct, or Clinical.

The social workers who fall in the macro category do not have a one-on-one connection with clients. These social workers often work in positions that focus on creating and implementing programs and lobbying for policy changes.

Direct and clinical social workers, however, do engage with clients on a firsthand basis. Direct social workers can work with a bachelor's in social work degree and may have work in positions such as a Healthcare Social Worker or Rehabilitation Social Worker.

Clinical social workers have greater practice authority and must earn at least a master’s degree in social work. This type of social worker can diagnose and treat clients with substance abuse issues or mental health diagnoses.

2. What type of schedule do you want?

While there can be some variation in work schedules, some specialties may have less challenging work routines. For example, if you have children at home and do not want to work nights or weekends, becoming a School Social Worker may be an excellent option.

3. What population of clients do you prefer?

Do you prefer to rub elbows with business professionals or politicians and don’t mind long ours? If that sounds like you, a Political Social Worker or International Social Worker could be appealing choices. Maybe you enjoy working with the elderly and have considered what it would be like to be an advocate for the aged? In that case, a position as a gerontology social worker may be your calling.

4. What are you most passionate about?

Do you have friends or family who are military members or veterans? Have you dreamed of being an advocate for servicemen and women? If so, a military or veterans' social worker could be a perfect fit for you.

5. Do you care about families and want to contribute to their well-being and security as a family unit?

At the end of the day, would it make you feel fulfilled to know something you did at work had a positive impact on the well-being of a child or their family? Perhaps your choices could mean the difference in whether a child gets to stay with her parents instead of being removed. Sound interesting? You may want to consider the Child and Family Social Worker role.

6. How much time are you willing to spend earning a degree?

Many social worker jobs offer entry-level positions to individuals with a bachelor’s degree. However, if you want to work in an upper-level job or as a clinical social worker, a master’s in social work will likely be required. As you consider the different types of social workers and begin to choose a specialty, look at the minimum education requirements and compare the length of time it will take to earn your degree.


Summing It Up


To serve as a social worker means having the option of a variety of roles. In this article, we have addressed questions like, “How many different types of social workers are there?” and “What are the different types of social workers?” If you have been considering a career as a social worker, the 19 different types of social workers mentioned in this article offer excellent opportunities to begin a career in diverse fields.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED


1. What Are the Most Common Types of Social Workers?

As you found in this article, there are many different types of social workers. The top five most common types of social workers are School, Medical, Child and Family, Mental Health, and International Social Workers.

S. No. Type of Social Worker
1 School Social Worker
2 Medical Social Worker
3 Child and Family Social Worker
4 Mental Health Social Worker
5 International Social Worker

2. What Are Least Common Types of Social Workers?

Of the different types of social workers, those who work as palliative, military and veterans, rehabilitation, occupational, and Youth Social Workers are the least common. That is not to say their jobs are any less important. The social workers in this group are essential members of the social worker community and make significant contributions to the clients for whom they provide service.

S. No. Type of Social Worker
1 Palliative and Hospice Social Worker
2 Military and Veterans Social Worker
3 Rehabilitation Social Worker
4 Occupational Social Worker
5 Youth Social Worker

3. What Types of Social Workers Get Paid the Most?

Salaries vary among the types of social workers. The top five wage earners in the social worker industry are those who specialize in political, gerontological, occupational, trauma, and public health. There is less than a $3,000 difference in the annual salary among the highest-paid social workers. Public Health Social Workers earn an average of $62,819 annually, and the top money earner, Political Social Workers, earn approximately $65,280.

Rank Type of Social Worker Hourly Annual
1 Political Social Worker $31.38 $65,280
2 Gerontological Social Worker $31.29 $65,076
3 Occupational Social Worker $30.73 $63,919
4 Trauma Social Worker $30.29 $62,998
5 Public Health Social Worker $30.20 $62,819

4. What Types of Social Workers Get Paid the Least?

Even among the social workers who rank on the lower end of the earning scale, the average income is $52,378.40 annually. Youth Social Workers currently earn the least among the different types of social workers, with an average income yearly of $51,660.

Rank Type of Social Worker Hourly Annual
1 Youth Social Worker $24.84 $51,660
2 Environmental Social Worker $24.99 $51,970
3 Rehabilitation Social Worker $25.18 $52,370
4 Criminal Justice Social Worker $25.35 $52,731
5 Substance Abuse Social Worker $25.56 $53,161

5. What Types of Social Workers Are Currently in High-Demand?

The field of social work offers a lot of promise for anyone looking for a long-term career. The types of social workers currently in high demand include Mental Health Social Workers, Substance Abuse Social Workers, Medical Social Workers, School Social Workers, and Youth and Family Social Workers.

6. What Types of Social Workers Are Currently in Least-Demand?

All types of social workers meet the needs of various clients and their families. Of the many specialties, those in the least demand currently are Community Social Workers and Healthcare Social Workers.

7. What Types of Social Workers Have the Least Stressful Work Environment?

The field of social work is rewarding, but it can also be emotionally taxing and demanding at times. However, some types of social workers have less stressful work environments than others. Although their jobs are just as vital, Medical Social Workers, School Social Workers, and Rehabilitation Social Workers seem to have less stressful work environments than their peers in other specialties.

8. What Types of Social Workers Have the Most Stressful Work Environment?

Social work, like any job, can be stressful at times. Opinions may vary about which of the different types of social workers have the most stressful work environment. According to several sources, and considering the client population they serve, Trauma Social Workers, Palliative and Hospice Social Workers, Public Health Social Workers, and Mental Health Social Workers have the most stressful jobs. Public health issues, trauma or traumatic events, and the need for palliative or hospice care all weigh heavily on both clients and the social workers who care for them, making mental health an issue for everyone involved.


Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.