- 11 percent job-growth rate is expected for the industry between 2018 and 20281, much faster than the national average
- 92.7 percent of MSW graduates recommend the profession to others2
MSW Careers, Titles, and New Roles Available
Ignite your passion for helping others by pursuing your master's degree in social work. This program can open doors to roles and industries not available to those holding only an undergraduate degree. Graduate with the skills you need to work directly with clients and gain autonomy in your treatment plans.
Below are some of the career titles*, overarching responsibilities, and salaries available to you as a graduate of our Master of Social Work degree program.
Clinical Social Worker*
Clinical social workers are mental health professionals who provide a holistic perspective while working with individuals, groups, and communities. They use a person-in-environment approach to consider how the micro, mezzo, and macro systems interact to influence the client system's lived experience. All clinical work, including diagnosis and treatment, considers the biological, psychological, and social aspects of individual functioning as well as the cultural and spiritual aspects of the person, group, and community.
11 Percent Job Growth1 | Advertised Median Pay: $49,4701
Social and Community Service Manager
Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise social service programs within communities and corporate organizations, such as healthcare companies. They work to implement and evaluate social service programs as well as manage those who provide those services to the public.
Much of the growth in this occupation is the result of an aging population. Employment opportunities will expand the most in industries that serve the elderly or persons with disabilities, like adult daycare, insurance agencies, and meal services.
13 Percent Job Growth3 | Advertised Mean Salary: $65,3203
Child, Family, and School Social Worker*
These social workers engage with families to further their well-being. They work to strengthen parenting skills, prevent child abuse, and identify permanent and temporary homes for abandoned or abused children.
In schools, they work with teachers and families to maximize the academic functioning of children. They also address teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy.
7 Percent Job Growth1 | Average Salary: $40,8644
Healthcare Social Worker*
Healthcare social workers often work in settings such as hospice care, hospitals, and long-term care facilities, though a new trend shows growth within insurance agencies as well.
Typically, their role is to provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. They advise family members who act as caregivers in how to make sound decisions that benefit everyone, provide patients with education and counseling, and make referrals for other services. They may also provide care, case management, or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers that inhibit access to healthcare.
17 Percent Job Growth1 | Mean Annual Wage: $58,4705
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker*
Employment in this sector is projected to grow much faster than average when compared to other U.S. occupations.5 In this role, social workers assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Activities to help people better their mental state and take control of their addiction may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education. Additional licensing may be required.
18 Percent Job Growth1 | Mean Annual Wage: $47,8806
A newer title to social workers with an MSW degree in that of a corporate social worker. It's gaining popularity in larger companies, non-profits, and insurance agencies.
Organizations are realizing the skill sets they desire most in leadership — strong interpersonal skills, unwavering ethics, and an ability to cultivate cultural diversity — can be found in professionals who also understand how to build positive relationships, motivate employees, and offer employee assistance in support of work-life balance in a number of areas.
For instance, social workers are expertly prepared to implement and evaluate programs that span a range of challenges employees face outside of work, from domestic violence and substance abuse to adoption, divorce, or other mental health challenges. They are also a solid fit for companies who look to promote social responsibility as part of their culture.
Is Getting the MSW Degree Worth It?
Pursuing an MSW degree is a serious commitment, but graduates deem it worthy of the investment. The results of the 2017 National Social Work Workforce Study of New Social Workers7 show that social workers are happy with the in-depth knowledge they gained and ability to work in various settings with diverse populations.
The report also showed:
- 95% work in social work positions
- 92.7% recommend the profession to others
- 92% worked in direct practice with individuals, families or groups
- 91.1% were satisfied with their position
- 84.7% found jobs locally
Top-Paying Industries for MSW Graduates
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports these as some of the top paying industries for social workers.
Annual Mean Wage
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)
Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance-Related Activities
Offices of Other Health Practitioners
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
- Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior
- Engage diversity and difference in practice
- Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice
- Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice
- Engage in policy practice
- Assess, intervene, and evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
*Students must have graduated from a program accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) to be eligible to pursue social work licensure. At this time, Saint Mary's is preparing to pursue CSWE accreditation for its Master of Social Work program, but has not yet formally entered the candidacy phase required to obtain accreditation. CSWE states that accreditation applies retroactively to program graduates once it is obtained, but students should check with their state social work board to verify that they will be eligible to apply for licensure in their state if they graduate from a program before it is accredited.
Applicants for social work licensure must also meet additional requirements in every state and U.S. territory, including but not limited to additional training, coursework, and supervised clinical experiences. Requirements vary by state. It is the student's responsibility to verify licensing requirements with their state social work board. Learn more about professional licensure here.