Various specializations available to an advanced social worker

One of the things you will want to spend time on is deciding the best career to suit your needs. Your personality can be an excellent determinant in your final decision. For instance, if you are outgoing and enjoy helping people, you may want to become a social worker. Keep in mind, if this is the professional field you wish to enter, there are advanced areas you may wish to consider. Targeting the exact area of specialty to dive into and assist with creating a career for yourself is a task that must be well thought out for optimal results.


There are various stages in life that may be more challenging than others. Dealing with the loss of a loved one or suffering from a serious medical illness can be devastating.

Studies indicate that in the United States alone, 37.3 million people over the age of 12 are current users of an illicit drug. This is a massive number of individuals that need professional help to get on with life and get past the depression of this addiction.

Below are signs that an individual may be addicted to drugs:

  • Losing a lot of weight and not having a healthy appetite.
  • Hair loss that continually gets worse.
  • Stained teeth that become decayed and receding gums.
  • Acting anxious and depressed every day.
  • Wanting to be isolated from others and failing to return calls.
  • Resisting going to a treatment center for help.

The good news for individuals that suffer from addiction of any type is there are many resources to assist in beating the addiction and getting your life back. However, taking the first step of working with a social worker is the key to starting the process necessary to make this happen.

Family and child social work

There is a myriad of cases that a social worker needs to address with a family. If you are the type of individual that enjoys working to solve personal issues and help family members, this could be the job for you.

It is very important to know both the pros and cons of being a family social worker. The pros of this career are listed below:

  • Being an important role model for families.
  • Enjoying the personal satisfaction of improving the lives of individuals.
  • Meeting a variety of people and having the knowledge to resolve many issues.
  • Helping make a positive change in a person’s life that will never be forgotten.

On the other hand, there are cons to being a family and child social worker, such as:

  • Having a great deal of responsibility that can be overwhelming at times.
  • Dealing with intense situations, such as child or spousal abuse.
  • Deciding on difficult issues that may include determining the custody of a child.

Disability social worker

Losing the ability to work can be devastating to any individual. There are several reasons this may occur that range from being injured on the job to taking a vaccine that disables you.

Whatever the reason for the long-term disability, this person will need assistance. Becoming a developmental disability social worker will enable you to help any individual get through this process.

Below are some challenges a disabled person may face:

  • Feelings of anxiety and depression because of not being able to work.
  • Not having a supportive group of friends or family.
  • Facing mental disabilities that may limit the jobs that are available to this person.
  • Not wanting to face the day or work with the social worker because of feeling overwhelmed.
  • The inability to fill out the correct paperwork to open a disability case.

Healthcare social worker

It is likely you may have heard of a healthcare social worker at various times during your life. This social worker’s specialty will cover a wide range of tasks when it comes healthcare.

Below are some of things you can expect this professional to do:

  • Handle a wide range of medical issues for the patient.
  • Speak to medical providers or hospital administrators about the patient.
  • Work to resolve the cost of high medical bills and assist with obtaining financial assistance.
  • Assist with ensuring the patient is fully aware of the medical care that is going to be given.

Working closely with the client in need of your services as a healthcare social worker is vital. It is ideal to assist this person from the beginning of the medical care until the patient is fully discharged.

Criminal justice social worker

It is vital that laws and regulations be followed, regardless of where you live. If you have a particular interest in the criminal justice system, this may be the best role for you to pursue.

The first step you will want to take is to get the necessary training in this specialty area. This requires attaining a degree. Individuals may choose to study online, or look for courses in their area or the area they want to work in. If you live in New York, for example, you may want to look for MSW programs in New York state – Keuka College is a great example of a university that offers a localized degree program and is the top-rated provider of social work degrees in the state of New York.

Many of the tasks of a criminal justice social worker are listed below:

  • Have a role in the courtroom.
  • Work with women’s shelters.
  • Visit state and local penitentiaries.
  • Address varying degrees of abuse in certain cases.
  • Advocate for victims of sexual assault and abuse when necessary.
  • Be fully aware of the laws and regulations in the jurisdiction of the client.

Mental health social worker

If you have the patience and willingness to work in challenging situations, you may want to become a mental health social worker. This area of specialty will work closely with the patient to assist in establishing the proper care.

Keep in mind, you will require a master’s degree if you choose to be a mental health social worker. This is due it being clinical work and this degree is a requirement by law.

There are many responsibilities you will have as a professional in this field. Some of these include evaluating the mental health of the patient and ensuring this person is not a danger to others.

Once this has been established it is necessary to find the best resources and treatment types for this individual. These can involve starting therapy, counseling, determining the degree of mental health necessary and working with other providers for optimal results.

Military social worker

Do you know any individual that is in the military? This can be a challenging position to hold due to leaving families and loved ones behind for long periods of time.

The role of a military social worker will involve assisting greatly during the time of a deployment. This may mean finding housing for the family in the new location.

Other tasks of a military social worker include addressing any post-traumatic stress disorders or substance abuse, as well as finding jobs for other family members. Getting the entire family organized and situated for deployment can be one of the main goals of a military social worker.

Gerontological social worker

You may not want to get older. However, this is a part of life and typically comes much sooner than you would think possible. The role of the gerontological social worker is to assist in maintaining the health of a patient. This could be as simple as doing random checks to see if the patient is managing well at home.

More complex roles of this professional include assisting with arranging the best medical care if health problems do arise. This may mean working with a doctor or hospital to ensure appointments are made and the best care is given.

The most common task the gerontological social worker will do is help the older adult live independently as long as possible. Ensuring the wellness of the client is foremost and the physical and emotional aspects of life are being met living alone is vital.

Political social worker

One of the least common areas of social work is in the political arena. This may not be an area that is thought of nearly as much as many others in the social worker profession.

Political social workers are known for addressing political issues that may arise in a number of situations. One of the roles of this practitioner will include getting involved in both political and social issues that will ensure justice is always present.

Other tasks of the political social worker include putting policies to work that will be the key to promoting political agendas in various instances.

Public health social worker

There are many individuals that may have a need for better lifestyle. Ensuring these people get optimal assistance with health issues is vital.

As a public health social worker, this will involve working one-on-one with the patient to learn what their specific medical needs are. Once this task has been completed it is vital to begin to implement individual plans that will allow for the best quality of life for your client.

Public welfare social worker

One of the most common types of social worker is the public welfare social worker. The job of this position will involve implementing support for individuals that may require assistance.

The most likely areas where help is needed includes housing, food, and income assistance. Many people qualify for this service and typically use it during a financially challenging time of life.

Keep in mind that applications will be necessary to determine a full qualification for this financial help. Typically, the applicant can only earn a certain amount to be considered for welfare.

Substance abuse social worker

Easing the difficulties of life by using illegal drugs is common behavior for many individuals. However, doing this takes a tremendous toll on the emotional and physical wellbeing of this person.

Therefore, a substance abuse social worker will step in and offer a great deal of support in a myriad of ways. This profession will spend a great deal of time finding ways to assist these individuals in getting off any unnecessary drugs.

Being a substance abuse social worker is not the easiest of jobs. It can be challenging to work with people that are addicts and having a hard time quitting this addiction.

There are many jobs this professional can obtain, and in a wide variety of settings. Some of the locations that are in the highest need of a substance abuse social worker include prisons, jail and juvenile detention centres.

School social worker

Getting an education is essential to enjoying a life that thrives. However, there are students who may need a bit of assistance on the way to earning a diploma or degree.

School social workers work as a mediator between the students and teachers. This helps ensure that many issues are settled with ease and tasks are accomplished as necessary.

It is common for a social worker of this type to work in both private and public schools. There are many programs that this professional may be involved in that include crisis intervention, health education, sexual education and many others.

Employee assistant social worker

There are varying times in life that can make it difficult for any person to get a steady job. However, it is necessary to earn an income for both physical and mental support.

The role of the employee assistant social worker is to help organizations to become more equipped to work with the unemployed. Doing a wide variety of tasks can be the ideal method for any business to recognize the need for more employees.

The employee assistant social worker will work with a specific workplace to improve efficiency and productivity and increase the morale of the company. Doing all these things could be a powerful way to encourage any business to hire more employees.

One more task of the employee assistant social worker is to get involved in counseling and potentially working with a union. Ensuring the workplace is the best it can be will take a great deal of time and effort.

Case social worker

There are instances when a case social worker is needed for the job. For instance, if a young lady is looking for work and simply cannot find a job, this professional may be able to help.

The case manager will come up with a plan of action that can result in the lady securing a job and being financially independent for years to come.  Below are some of the ways to make this happen:

  • Assisting with creating an impressive resume.
  • Offering dressing advice for an important interview.
  • Working directly with the client to have a successful interview.
  • Reviewing the skills and education the job seeker has for optimal results.
  • Finding jobs in the area that may best suit the person looking for work.
  • Looking for a specific type of work that could ensure the chances of an individual being hired.

The role of the case worker is to help any unemployed person to get a job and one that will suit both the employer and the employee. The most success will occur when the position the individual obtains is one that can be completed accurately each and every day.

Outreach social worker

If you enjoy helping others succeed at life, this position may be one you wish to look at for the long term. The outreach social worker will typically include the provision of in-house services for the individual in need.

Some of the tasks of the outreach social worker are listed below:

  • Visit clients’ homes to talk about future goals.
  • Provide emotional support for people that are in the most need.
  • Help find resources that will be readily available for the individual to use.
  • Work with other communities to assist clients in reaching goals of all types.
  • Mainly work with clients that have some type of disability, such as mental or physical.
  • Discuss the abilities the disabled person does have, to assist with any job hunting and to offer encouragement to this individual.

Finding the best career that will allow you to earn a good living and feel content with your job is important. It is highly likely that you will be in the same position for many years to come and enjoying your work should be foremost on your list of priorities.

Taking the appropriate amount of time to evaluate your skill set and personality is a good place to begin when it comes to getting the right job. Being an advanced social worker is certain to provide you with a great deal of personal satisfaction. The ability to alter the life of just one person in a positive way could be very satisfying. Being an advanced social worker of any type is certain to be both a challenging and rewarding career that will provide a good living.

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