One of the greatest advantages of a social work degree is the flexibility in job options available to graduates. Social work skills can be applied to a number of professional positions, allowing social workers to explore a diverse range of job opportunities, and have the flexibility to choose to try something new. Many candidates are attracted to social work education precisely because it opens up a wide variety of career paths.
While any position will look for a candidate with relevant experience, a social work degree prepares students for a number of job options beyond those listed as “social worker.” The following are some alternative jobs for social workers looking to do something a little bit different:
Policy analyst: Policy think-tanks look for analysts who are well-versed in public policy, political strategy, international relations, and a number of social justice-related issues. Social workers are well equipped to work in this environment as policy analysts, or higher-level positions. Work generally entails studying social issues to find innovative solutions to human and societal problems, focusing on the macro-context of social work practice. As a policy analyst, social work graduates have the opportunity to influence and develop social policy to make far-reaching social change.
Social Researcher: Research institutes often hire candidates with the types of skills learned in social work education, such as program and intervention design, research design, human-centered research methods, data analysis, and research implications. Many research institutes focus on examining specific social issues such as poverty, criminal justice, and resilience. These positions allow social work graduates to contribute to knowledge generation on issues important to social justice goals.
Community organizer: Community organizers often work with or through non-profit or community organizations to mobilize people in a specific community or around a specific issue. These positions might include such work as voter registration and canvassing, organizing protests and demonstrations, providing workshops in civic engagement, and training others to be leaders in their communities.
Cultural Competency Consultant: In today’s society, the need for culturally-competent workers in any field is gaining recognition. Yet, most professionals are not required to complete any sort of education or training in cultural competency, even though they might have high contact with a diverse array of individuals. Social workers can make a great difference in this area by working as a Cultural Competency consultant, offering trainings to businesses and organizations such as law firms, hospitals, schools, and even restaurants. Any service-based industry that works with people can benefit from investing in their employees’ cultural competency training, and social workers are well-suited to fulfill that need.