MSW Field Work Jobs
It's difficult to define an appropriate field work positions for an MSW degree candidate because there is such a diverse selection of options from school to school, state to state. The appropriate field work job for any given student is probably that which most closely matches his or her interests at the time. However from a career standpoint, extensive training in those areas most likely to land you a job can eventually be important as well. What we have done with the list below is present ten examples of MSW field work opportunities that are compelling by the nature of the work and that are in areas of focus where there is currently or is going to be a substantial need for qualified MSW graduates.
- Gerontology is a rapidly growing area for all sorts of service professions including social work. The geriatric social worker helps aging clients work through the often confusing array of services available, assists with family issues and may perhaps get involved in long term care placement.
- Schools and students require the support of a social worker for personal problems within the school, family issues, truancy issues and perhaps crisis intervention with massively dysfunctional families. Licensing requirements for school counselors vary from state to state, so if it is an area of interest to you check with the appropriate agency to make sure an MSW will give you the credential you need.
- Public Health Clinics provide much more that spot-check healthcare or emergency services. The appropriate one of them have nutritional counselors available, epidemiology experts to help with communicable disease education, and social workers to provide counseling and intervention in a variety of areas that might include abuse, substance rehabilitation, housing issues or disabilities.
- Foster Care case management can be a challenging and rewarding field for an MSW graduate. A foster care agency is often a quasi-government agency that works with distressed families and traumatized children, developing placement matches with households willing to take in a foster child and capable of handling that child's social challenges.
- Substance Abuse Rehabilitation work is invaluable because coming to understand the world of addiction takes time and exposure for anyone who does not suffer from the disease. Social workers may work as addiction counselors, as intervention facilitators, or in a diagnostic role within a clinical setting. But a field work placement within a rehab facility can provide more education about the disease than can be found in most classrooms.
- Home Health is a growing field for social work case management because our aging population is beginning to dominate the nation's demographic mix and many are electing by choice or necessity to remain at home as their health becomes more fragile. Social services go hand in hand with nursing in these situations, so an MSW field placement with a home healthcare service agency or company can teach teamwork skills as well as the specific social services that can be provided to the homebound.
- Transitional Care Coordinator is a social worker who is located in a medical facility and works with patients who may be at risk following discharge without additional support. An MSW working in this situation may help with family and patient anxiety over the Transitional Care Unit within the medical center or may help arrange for moving the patient into an off-site transitional facility.
- Veterans Services encompasses a number of social work functions, all of which are on the increase as soldiers continue to return home from two wars of ten years' duration. Veterans, spouses and families may all need the counseling of a social worker who can help with individual therapy, housing, job placement and family reconciliation. Learning what it is like to work in a VA facility is an invaluable field work experience.
- Clinical Case Work is often the ultimate goal of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) but getting the license doesn't provide the training. Many MSW field workers put in hours in an understudy role with clinical counselors - perhaps the only way to learn the skills associated with diagnosing an individual or family problem and then finding the short term and the therapeutic solution.
- Child Protection social work calls for a hard-nosed approach to protective management. Families who come in contact with a child protection agency learn quickly in most states that the agency is going to be part of the family for awhile. If you can obtain a placement in a state child protective service agency you'll learn a great deal about recognizing the subtle signs of abuse in a secretive environment.