Social work can be a very fulfilling major and career for those who pursue it. This major involves helping individuals, families, groups, and communities with hopes of improving their social functioning and overall well-being. Many people understand what social work is, but what is a social work major? Students who pursue a social work major will learn many different skills that they can apply to their careers and help others in the best way possible.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Social Work Major
- Colleges With Social Work Majors
- Common Classes
- Social Work Major Jobs
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Social Work Major?
Students who decide to pursue a social work major will be prepared to help others who need assistance in many ways. Students pursuing this major will be working with people who may be facing homelessness, domestic violence, addiction, child abuse, or another issue affecting an individual or family’s status. Students will learn skills in communication, critical thinking, analyzing situations, teamwork, and many other useful skills.
Students who decide to pursue a social work major usually have some sort of reason for doing so – they may have had a friend or family member who worked in the field or they may have interacted with someone who had a lasting impact on them. Students majoring in social work should have a passion for helping others. On top of that, students should also enjoy interacting with others, be outgoing, and not be afraid of dealing with tough or difficult situations.
Colleges with Social Work Majors
The table below shows all the colleges and universities in the United States that offer social work as a major. Our team has broken it down by associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees. Search the table for schools you are interested in or for states where you would like to go to school.
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Each school will have a different set of standards for social work majors. Rather than listing a bunch of different courses students might take while pursuing the major, we have listed topics that students will most likely study. Some common topics of study for a this major include:
On top of the courses and topics listed above, students may also be required to complete an internship to graduate as a social work major. An internship is a great way for students to get real-world experience and get a feel for what they will be doing after they graduate. On top of the real-world experience that they will be gaining, students will have a great opportunity to make connections that can help them accelerate in the field.
Some social work programs will offer students the opportunity to specialize in various areas. Students will take classes that are geared towards those specific areas of social work – this ensures that students will be as prepared as possible in that area when they graduate. Some of those specific specializations can be in areas such as:
- Mental Health
- Health Care
- Family Services
- Substance Abuse
Students may be able to take some general courses before having to decide on a specialization – it just depends on your school and their social work program. If your school does not offer an option to specialize, you can indirectly specialize in an area by taking courses that pertain to that subject.
Social Work Major Jobs
Many people think that social work majors can only become social workers – this is not true. There are many opportunities available to students who major in social work. Check out some of the best social work major jobs below and average salaries for each of the jobs.
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Social workers will be working with people and helping them cope with and solve problems that may occur in their lives. In most cases, social workers will need their master’s degree to work directly with others – some social workers may only need a bachelor’s degree.
Social workers can work in a bunch of different settings including mental health facilities, schools, child welfare agencies, hospitals, settlement houses, and private institutions. Social worker jobs are expected to increase 13% in the next 10 years, which is much faster than average.
Health Educators and Community Health Workers
Health educators and community health workers are in charge of teaching others about different ways to improve and promote health. Health educators and community health workers will collect data and discuss their concerns with leaders of different communities in their area. Individuals in this field may work for hospitals, non-profits, government agencies, doctor’s offices, or educational institutions.
Health educators will need at least a bachelor’s degree to work. Many employers will require individuals to obtain the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential. Community health workers will need at least a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
Marriage and Family Therapist
Marriage and family therapists will work with couples and families and help them overcome the issues they are having. Individuals who wish to work as a marriage and family therapist will be required to have a master’s degree and be licensed. Most marriage and family therapists will work for a private practice, but they can also be found working at mental health centers.
Probation officers are in charge of assisting individuals who have broken the law in their rehabilitation. Probation officers will work with probationers and parolees and will be in charge of checking up on them and helping them assimilate back to life outside of prison.
Probation officers usually need a bachelor’s degree and may have to pass various oral, written, and psychological exams.
Rehab counselors are responsible for helping individuals return to a certain quality of life or live independently. Rehab counselors may work with people who have physical disabilities, mental disabilities, developmental disabilities, emotional disabilities, or addictions.
Rehab counselors work in various settings such as community rehab centers, senior citizen centers, and youth centers. A master’s degree is required as well as some certifications or a license.
School counselors work with students and help them develop the academic and social skills they require to succeed in both school and life. School counselors will work in a variety of educational settings including both private and public schools. Most school counselors will need a master’s degree and have a state-issued license.
Community Service Manager
Community service managers are responsible for organizing and coordinating programs and events that benefit the well-being of the public. Most community service managers will work for non-profit organizations, social service companies, and government agencies.
A bachelor’s degree is required to be a community service manager. There is an expected 17% increase in community service manager jobs in the next 10 years, which is much faster than average.
Social Service Assistant
Social service assistants help provide services to others in a variety of fields. Some of the fields they assist people in are psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. Social service assistants usually work for nonprofit organizations, or state and local governments. A bachelor’s degree is preferred but some individuals may only have a high school diploma and on-the-job training.
Resources for Social Workers
|American Board of Examiners in Social Work||National standard-setting organization for clinical social workers.|
|National Association of Social Workers||Largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world.|
|Council on Social Work Education||National association representing social work education in the United States.|
Frequently Asked Questions
Every major in college will challenge you in some aspect. With that being said, there are definitely easier and harder majors. Social work did not fall on our list of easiest or hardest college majors. It is an average major in terms of difficulty.
Students who decide to pursue a major in social work will receive a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate degree. Some schools even offer an associate degree.
There are a ton of options for students looking to pursue a major in social work. Check out our complete list of colleges and universities that offer a social work major. The list is broken down into associate, bachelor, and masters offerings.