“Not all superheroes wear capes,” says Dr. Steven Huberman, Dean of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work. A career in social work is a chance to change lives and offers a multitude of paths and adventures in a profession with one common goal: to help vulnerable people of all ages and conditions overcome life’s challenges. The young, the old, families in crisis, the sick and disabled, the veteran, the addicted and those facing emotional or mental anguish. There is so much vital and rewarding work to do, according to Dean Huberman.
Here are just six settings in which social workers can find both jobs and joy.
1. The private practitioner. Social workers see clients for an array of issues, from anxiety, phobias and depression to an inability to leave a bad relationship or an unhealthy need to ruin a healthy one.
2. The medical social worker. The setting is health care or hospital, where social workers from those in pediatric intensive care units, to cancer units, to in-hospital hospice care, hold support groups, comfort grieving parents and relatives, access and create rehabilitation plans. Some even base themselves in emergency rooms to calm the waiting and help them untangle the frightening bureaucracy of insurance, medicare and medicaid. Studies show that social workers even help patients heal.
3. The geriatric care practitioner in nursing homes and other elder care facilities. They deal with everything from care plans to communicating the needs of residents, many of them unable to do so themselves. Some work with Alzheimer’s or dementia patients and many manage Medicaid and insurance issues for patients and families.
4. The school social worker. For those who love and value future generations, this is an enormously varied and rewarding job. They are trusted friend, facilitators for services such as medical care, housing, even making certain the child has clothing and food and is not being bullied. They step in when the parents can’t or won’t. In essence, they are the human hero for kids who have never had one.
5. The social worker for veterans and their families. From brain trauma to PTSD, to homelessness and hopelessness, the social workers get veterans the care they need, individually and through advocacy work to change public policy and gain funding for those who served us and now need help.
6. The social worker/administrator. These social workers run major departments and agencies, including homeless shelters and battered women’s shelters, and other nonprofits where they are generally executive directors.They have excellent administrative skills that enable them to deal with clients, donors, politicians while managing staff, budgets and running programs.
Get more information on how you can become a social worker and enjoy a rewarding career.