As you read the list below of possible jobs you can get with an MSW, start thinking about your personal preferences.

Many students know they have a passion to help people, a passion to make a difference. Determining where they should direct their energy and skillset once earning an MSW can be harder to narrow down.

Jobs You Can Get with an MSW

There are a few categories to consider that can help you determine which type of social work is the best fit for you. Factors such as population, setting, type of work (direct or indirect) and hours/schedule can help you narrow down your search.

  • School Social Worker

    As a school social worker, you will be working directly with students and are usually required to have an MSW and a license. Although you will have a wide range of job responsibilities, your main duties are to enhance students’ emotional well-being and academic success.
    You will deal with many serious issues head on, such as substance abuse, bullying, depression, anxiety, suicide and more.

  • Medical Social Worker

    As a medical social worker, you will be working as part of a team and directly with patients and their family members. There are a variety of units you could be placed in, which would determine the specific population you would be working with.
    Your main job responsibilities would be to work with the patient and their family through the emotional journey of a diagnosis and the implications moving forward.

  • Agency Social Worker

    Agency is a large umbrella that can encompass many types of positions and settings. This could be a government or a non-profit position. For example, you can work for a homeless shelter, adoption agency, foster care agency and more.
    Within these various settings, examples of positions would be program development, case management or clinical work. The overall idea of working in a social service agency is to link clients to the resources they need.

    See related: What’s the difference between public and private practice?

  • Private Practice Social Worker

    In private practice, you can work with other clinical social workers or you may choose to work by yourself in your own practice. Working independently in a private practice allows you to choose which types of populations and problems your skill set fits best. For example, adolescents and eating disorders, substance abuse or couples therapy.

  • Nursing Homes (Gerontology)

    Working in a nursing home, you will be focused on enriching the quality of life of your patients as best as possible. You may be working through the journey of physical ailments, emotional and mental well-being, coping skills as well as spiritual exploration. Some social workers interested in this type of work may also be interested in hospice care.

  • Outpatient or Inpatient Care

    Many social workers who choose to work in either outpatient or inpatient will be working with drug and alcohol abuse and/or behavioral health. Much of this work will include one-on-one therapy as well as some group work.

  • State Department of Human Services/Child Protective Services

    These types of positions usually require home visits, investigation, education and counseling services. The goal of the social worker is to protect a child from an unfit home and to potentially work with the family as well to provide services that will result in the reunification of the family.

See Fields of Practice for more social work career profiles and field information.