What Can I Do with a Master’s in Social Work?

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In healthcare, education, the private sector, and more—social workers are in demand. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 89,200 new social workers are needed to meet the increasing demands between 2020 and 2030. The number of social worker jobs is projected to grow by 12%, which means there is a real opportunity and need for social workers to make an impact by meeting real-world needs through resources, support, and advocacy.

What I can do with an MSW

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A Master of Social Work degree prepares you to lead in many roles that improve lives and communities. Consider how earning an MSW could elevate your career with significance, variety, and fulfillment in the seven professional settings outlined below. 

Children and Families  

Social workers working with children and families connect clients with services and provide monitoring and support for the well-being of at-risk children. They may also provide therapeutic services. Common settings are child welfare agencies and organizations, adoption and foster care agencies, schools, and family service agencies. Job titles may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Clinical social worker 
  • Family therapist 
  • School social worker 
  • Foster care supervisor 
  • Youth counselor  

Criminal Justice  

Social workers in criminal justice settings serve clients at different phases of their experience with the criminal justice system and provide a wide range of services. They might also work with law enforcement officers and officials. Common settings are criminal justice facilities, domestic and sexual violence centers, and criminal justice-involved nonprofit organizations. Job titles may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Forensic social worker or case manager 
  • Juvenile probation social worker 
  • Victim advocate 
  • Court liaison  
  • Reentry support specialist  

Medical and Healthcare  

Social workers in medical and healthcare settings work with a broad range of clients in areas including oncology, labor and delivery, pediatrics, geriatrics, and emergency services. Common settings are hospitals, hospices, health centers, clinics, long-term and short-term care facilities, in-patient and out-patient services, and rehabilitation centers. Job titles may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Medical social worker 
  • Case management supervisor 
  • Social work care manager 
  • Crisis counselor 
  • Pediatric care manager  

Mental Health  

Social workers in mental health work with a broad range of clients to provide individual, group, and family therapy within both public and private settings. Common settings are private practices, hospital and psychiatric facilities, community mental health agencies, schools, and university counseling centers. Job titles may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Behavioral health specialist 
  • Licensed mental health therapist 
  • Private practitioner 
  • Clinical social worker 
  • Psychotherapist  


Social workers provide support to service members, veterans, and military families during and after service on issues including post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and other challenges. Common settings are veterans administration, government agencies, veteran support agencies, and nonprofits. Job titles may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Military social worker 
  • Family therapist 
  • Caregiver support manager 
  • Family advocacy social worker 
  • Military and family life counselor  

Substance Use  

Social workers provide therapy and treatment support to clients experiencing substance use or misuse. Common settings are psychiatric facilities, criminal justice settings, addiction treatment centers, private practice, and homeless support agencies. Job titles may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Crisis manager 
  • Addiction specialist 
  • Trauma therapist 
  • Prevention specialist 
  • Substance abuse counselor  


Social workers working in community settings work with individuals, as well as small and large groups including clients and communities facing challenges. Common settings are government agencies, nonprofit and grassroots organizations, homelessness support agencies, and immigration organizations. Job titles may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Disaster relief and support specialist 
  • Immigration social worker 
  • Crisis counselor 
  • Family therapist 
  • Advocacy specialist 
  • Outreach manager 

Make a Difference with Florida State University 

Broaden your horizons with an online MSW from Florida State University College of Social Work. Our part-time programs are designed for working professionals. Discover how an online MSW from Florida State could empower you to make an impact on your career and your community.  

FSU Student Michelle O'Neill