Social workers enable clients to identify and work through the particular struggles or difficulties they face in their lives. They do this by creating steps for action, offering support, and providing resources to help people find better ways to manage and cope with their difficult circumstances

Social Workers picture    Social Workers image

Schools with Social Worker Programs

The following social worker programs offer bachelor's degrees in social work, which is the minimum educational requirement for a social worker. Some employers may consider an applicant who has a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as sociology or psychology.

  • Brandman University: This university, located in Irvine, California, offers an on-campus and online version of their Bachelor of Arts in social work program.
  • Portland State University: This state university in Portland, Oregon trains individuals to assume roles of generalist social workers within diverse populations.
  • San Francisco State University: The goal of this on-campus program is to prepare graduates to work as social workers, particularly in urban settings.
  • The University of Pittsburgh: The School of Social work at this university prepares graduates to work in a wide variety of social work settings.
  • The University of Texas: This state university offers a bachelor's of social work at their Austin campus that includes 480 clock hours of fieldwork in a social services agency.

Social Worker Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree in social work is typically needed to enter the field, although a degree in psychology, sociology or another field may enable some people to seek entry-level positions. A master's degree in social work may be more desirable in some cases.

For example, those who want to go into clinical work or find positions in school settings should pursue a master's degree in social work. Some jobs might require a master's degree with an emphasis in a certain area, such as administration or social welfare policy. If you intend to go into research or seek a university teaching position, a doctorate in social work is usually the requirement.

Social Worker Training and Coursework

Coursework within a bachelor's degree program is designed to help you approach culturally diverse, at-risk populations with professionalism and knowledge. Courses that train you how to become a social worker typically focus on the following areas:

  • Social work values and ethics
  • Working with cultural diversity
  • Social and economic justice
  • Human behavior and the social environment
  • Social welfare policy and services

Beyond in-class learning, accredited social work programs require a minimum 400 hours of field experience. To become a licensed clinical social worker, most states require two years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work. All states have licensing, certification, and registration requirements, and you should be aware of your state's rules before committing to a degree program.

Advancing to a supervisory position typically means earning an additional degree and attaining more years of work experience. Going into private practice requires earning a master's degree and undergoing a period of supervised work.

Social Worker Resources


  1. Brandman University, https://www.brandman.edu/arts-sciences/ba-social-work
  2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Social Workers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm
  3. The Certified Social Work Case Manager, National Association of Social Workers. https://www.socialworkers.org/credentials/specialty/c-swcm.asp
  4. How Does a Social Worker Obtain a License? USC Social Work Virtual Academic Center, https://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/how-does-a-social-worker-obtain-a-license/
  5. Portland State University, https://www.pdx.edu/ssw/bachelors-in-social-work
  6. San Francisco State University, http://socwork.sfsu.edu/content/basw-program-information
  7. University of Pittsburgh, http://www.socialwork.pitt.edu/
    University of Texas, https://socialwork.utexas.edu/bsw/

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Social Workers

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Social Workers jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 2180 $68,620
Long Beach 2180 $68,620
Los Angeles 2180 $68,620
San Francisco 1540 $77,380
Hayward 1540 $77,380
Oakland 1540 $77,380
Riverside 1500 $65,190
San Bernardino 1500 $65,190
Ontario 1500 $65,190
Caguas 1230 $27,520
Total Employment for Social Workers - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Total Employment for Social Workers
Salaries for Social Workers - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
Compare Salaries for Social Workers
Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Social Workers

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Social Workers

To find out more about building a career as Social Workers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Social Workers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 33,550 49% $53,560
Social Service 15,850 23% $35,460
Hospital 4,800 7% $55,190
Nursing And Residential Care 4,040 5% $37,590
Medical Office 2,460 3% $40,440
Non-profit 2,320 3% $36,290
Education 1,990 2% $48,720
Business Management 1,000 1% $40,500
Professional And Technical Services 870 1% $38,410
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Social Workers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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