Social workers (especially those in global social work) get to make a difference to the quality of people’s lives in many different areas – both at home and abroad. For those professionals with a Master’s in Social Work (MSW), there’s a wealth of international social work jobs to choose from.

What Global Social Work Opportunities Can You Pursue with a Master’s Degree?

Global Social Work Roles: Where Could Your MSW Take You?

Global social workers with masters degrees are uniquely qualified to serve clients in a variety of specialties including: healthcare and well-being, substance abuse, schools and education, mental health, child welfare, military veterans, homelessness and poverty, domestic abuse, community development and social justice.

In each country, social workers are employed by businesses, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations, playing a pivotal role in the fabric of society.

What Global Social Work Roles Could You Apply For?

All around the world, a career in social work offers many different ways to use your skills. For example, you could be working as an…

  • International Consultant on the Stigma Alleviation Project: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • You could work with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to reduce the stigma suffered by victims of conflict-related sexual violence. This could be a contract position so candidates could set their own salary expectations.
  • Child Protection Specialist: New York, U.S.

    You could work with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to prevent and respond to violence against children, designing and implementing global and country-specific programs. There is no salary listed for this position on UNICEF’s website.

  •  Coordinator for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Project: Mumbai, India

    You could save lives and improve healthcare in India. This involves helping adults and children access vaccines, diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis through several government programs.

  •  Team Leader of the Rehabilitation Response Team: Gold Coast, Australia

    You could help patients at the Gold Coast University Hospital stay well and active, and leave hospital sooner. This job pays AU$102,609–$111,399 (USD$77,539-$84,181) per year.

  • Head of Health and Safety: London, United Kingdom

    You could help former criminal offenders improve their lives and successfully reintegrate back into society. This role focuses on reducing recidivism and protecting the public by enabling safer communities. The yearly income is £60,000–£80,000 (USD$73,151-$97,535) depending on experience.

Wondering how these social work salaries compare to what most social workers earn in the U.S.? In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that the yearly income for a social worker was around US$45,900, and top earners received around US$76,820.

Why Practice Social Work Overseas?

In some ways, foreign social work roles will seem very familiar to the work you do at home, but it’s the differences that boost your career outlook as a social worker.

David Dininio, a recruitment manager speaking to The Social Work, says: “When it comes to comparing North America in general to, say, the United Kingdom or Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand, the job roles are essentially the same.”

But many aspects of the job will be new – which is not only exciting but a win for your CV. “That international experience, believe it or not, is very, very highly regarded because you’ve got exposure to different cases and different theories and methodologies from another country that you can bring back to North America, and you can transfer that knowledge into another workplace.”

Of course, different countries have different rules around entering the country, working there and calling yourself a social worker. But the good news is some employers offer relocation packages to ease the transition.

Personal Perks of Global Social Work

Your ancestry could make things easier too. Do you have a parent or grandparent born outside the U.S.? You might get special privileges when it comes to immigration. For example, getting a European Union (EU) passport could see you enjoying Saturday breakfast in Paris, Sunday lunch in Brussels and popping back to Berlin for work on Monday.

No matter what field of social work you’re most passionate about, or where in the world you’d like to work, chances are there’s a role out there for you.

Discover more job opportunities as a social worker in’s Job Finder.


Global Social Work Roles: Where Could Your MSW Take You?
Article Name
Global Social Work Roles: Where Could Your MSW Take You?
Social workers (especially those in global social work) get to make a difference to the quality of people’s lives in many different areas – both at home and abroad. For those professionals with a Master’s in Social Work (MSW), there’s a wealth of opportunities to choose from.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo