At the Intersection of Meaningful and Employed: 5 Reasons You’ll Love a Career in Social Work
As globalization and technology continue their meteoric rise, it can be difficult to predict what the job market in the United States will look like in five years, let alone 30, but when you’re considering a degree or career, it’s important to aim for something that’s likely to keep you employed.
Add to the concern over employment the fact that meaningful work is highly demanded but hard to come by, and it can seem downright impossible to choose a career path that will give you a sense of purpose and a paycheck. The field of social work, however, is able to do just that, and it’s likely to keep doing it long into the future. From job security to the reality that social workers make a difference in people’s lives, here are five reasons you’ll love a career in social work.
1. You Can Make a Difference
If you still aren’t sure you want to complete a degree in social work, consider the fact that it’s one of the only career paths where you’re basically guaranteed to make a positive difference in the lives of the children and families with whom you’ll work.
Whether you help people secure housing, maneuver the medical system, obtain legal council, get their children back from foster care, check into rehab, or start taking literacy classes, your effect on someone’s quality of life will be obvious, and each day will provide ample proof that your efforts matter.
2. Job Security
As the demographical makeup of the United States changes, the number of social workers needed throughout the country is expected to rise. By 2050, almost 90 million Americans will be at least 65 years old, which means more social workers specializing in gerontology are needed.
The year 2050 will also see a demographic shift in terms of ethnic makeup in the U.S. thanks to immigration, since by that year over 50 percent of the American population will be made up of minorities. Since immigrants face distinct challenges within the U.S., more social workers are needed to help them.
Also, as people make use of health care more regularly thanks to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, hospitals are finding they need more social workers to assist with patient follow-up.
Unlike most other career paths, social work is a job that can evolve and change along with your interests. Even if you start out working with children with disabilities, you can always shift gears and start working with victims of domestic violence or the homeless. Without changing your career, you can totally change what you do in it.
Likewise, where you’re employed can shift. Social workers work for government agencies, non-profit clinics, schools, rehab centers, and more, and they also work in private practice. Without knowing what you’ll want in the future, being a social worker is a career choice that can keep things interesting for you, ensuring that you have plenty of options and that you’re never bored.
4. It’s Needed
For people who want to enjoy their work, there are few situations as difficult to bear as doing a job that feels unnecessary. Jobs that feel unnecessary often are unnecessary, and eventually go away. A job that isn’t needed can also create a bit of an existential crisis in the one doing the work.
Thankfully, social work succeeds on both these fronts. It’s a job that will be necessary as long as poverty, immigration, old age, bad luck, poor health, and the like continue to be a part of reality. Because it’s so clearly needed, it tends to keep the ennui that affects a lot of workers at bay.
5. The Pay Is Decent
While social workers don’t make the amount of money a hedge fund manager or doctor makes, you can still command a decent wage that should ensure you a comfortable enough lifestyle, as the average salary sits around $46,000, depending on your specialty and where you live.
Also, most social work jobs also come with a good benefits package, so you won’t have to pay for health care, dental care, or retirement all by yourself, which will help your salary stretch even further.
Get a meaningful job that’s likely to stay in demand throughout your entire career by becoming a social worker.