There are many reasons why a career in social work can appeal to people and if you’ve considered a career within this healthcare field, you need to be sure whether it’s the right choice for you or not. As there are so many different roles within healthcare, with social work being only one of them, it’s important to compare it to all your options and get the best fit for you. Perhaps the qualification of a BSW online ((Bachelor of Social Work) has always appealed to you to further your education and personal development and you would like to continue that development into an official career with this qualification. Or maybe you’re wondering what you need to do to achieve a role in social work and whether it best aligns with your personality and career goals.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for growth in the coming years for social worker positions is at 13% — faster than average — meaning that it can be a dependable long-term career plan, as well as a rewarding one.
What Does a Career in Social Work Actually Mean?
Firstly, a career in social work means studying for an appropriate qualification, like a BSW online, to make sure you’re prepared to start your career. Building on your qualifications, this career path will see you supporting individuals and their families in difficult situations. Your BSW online qualification and career development will see you protecting vulnerable people, varying from children to adults, to make sure they are always within a safe environment.
A career in social work would see you improving the lives of others through support and safe practices, always with the aim to make situations more comfortable for others in need. Through your daily work, your BSW online qualification will set you up to make potentially difficult decisions for the betterment of those individuals you are working with.
Working Environment: Would This Suit You?
Once you’re ready to move on from your learning environment following your BSW online or physical degree, you’ll be moving on to a working environment. In deciding whether a career in social work is the right choice for you, it’s important to think about your preferred working environment and where you would work most productively.
Within the role of a social worker, you would be exposed to a variety of settings, working with a variety of people. Your focus would be on working within the community, therefore your work environments could be hospitals, clinics or schools, as well as the individual homes of people you may be supporting.
Therefore, the role of a social worker would see you working within many public spaces, with many other people, on a daily basis. If you usually work better alone or if you would prefer not to work in vulnerable spaces like hospitals, then you will need to consider this carefully.
Who Do Social Workers Work With?
Social workers work to support a variety of people, including:
- Homeless people
- Those with disabilities
- Elderly people
- Young people
- Those with mental health conditions
- Those who abuse substances
Would You Be Suited to This Career Choice?
Here are some key areas to think about when considering a career in social work or studying for a BSW online. Do the following points sound like something you would be interested in, or do they best suit your personality or future career goals?
You Find That You Have a Lot of Patience, and Can Keep Calm in Difficult Situations
When working with vulnerable people, you’re going to encounter a lot of demanding situations. This may be a difficulty on behalf of the people you’re trying to support, or maybe even difficulty from the people themselves. To comfortably progress in a career in social work, you need to be a patient person who can cope well in stressful and demanding situations.
The emotions in these situations can be heightened when dealing with people in need and those who need help, which is why it’s important to be able to keep a clear head and be able to offer yourself as a dependable and strong figure.
You Want to Earn a Career Through a Solid Qualification in Order to Develop Your Own Education Along with Your Career
Those who are educated and career-minded may want to work to develop themselves. For a lot of people, this could mean aspirations to earn a qualification as well as have a dependable career, and social work is one area which can offer that. You can study for a BSW online and then proceed to develop your career in social work.
This means social work can be a great choice for those wanting to study and work hard, and have it pay off.
You’d Prefer to Study Online
Some people may simply be better equipped to study online rather than attending an institution. This may be due to the flexibility of online learning to fit around your schedule or maybe you’re an adult looking for a career switch a little later in life and would prefer to study from home.
Social work is just one career you can achieve by studying through an online program. This means that if your study plans see you aiming for online study only and you would prefer not to attend a physical institution to kickstart your career, this can be achieved through a BSW online degree.
You Want to Change People’s Lives for the Better
There are some jobs which strive to help others, but there are those jobs which serve to potentially transform people’s lives for the better. As social work will see you working primarily with vulnerable people in need, the role sees you having the power to completely change people’s lives. Offering the support people need, you can care for vulnerable people on a professional and emotional level and play an integral part in improving the lives of others.
For those who want their work to mean something significant and gain a feeling of reward through everything they do, social work is a wonderful opportunity. You can reap the rewards of gaining your qualification from a BSW online and then move on to further reward by improving people’s lives.
You Want to Contribute to Society and Your Community
Not only does social work lead to improving the lives of others, but it also aids in improving society, too. Because social workers strive to support vulnerable people getting back on their feet, including drug or alcohol abusers, positive changes are then felt in society, too. This could be highlighting key issues associated with the vulnerable community or it may be allowing a vulnerable person to get back on their feet so that they may contribute to society in a positive way.
You’re Understanding and Compassionate in Nature
To work with others who are in need, in a variety of personal and social circumstances, you will need to be able to show compassion and understanding for those difficult situations. In the most demanding of situations, vulnerable people may be difficult to deal with, but it’s important to still be able to understand the worst kind of circumstances and show compassion no matter what.
Naturally compassionate and caring people may be drawn to a career like social work because it means they can use their kind nature for the betterment of others, and society as a whole.
You’re Looking for a Career Which Will Allow You to Grow and Develop
For some, a career may be simply something to pay the bills and something which they’re happy to fulfil with no progression. For others, a career means striving to be the best version of themselves and grow through personal development and experience.
Social work is a good example of how a career can allow you to develop and grow on a personal level. Through working with vulnerable others and enduring challenging situations, you can also discover more about yourself and gain a better understanding of life’s circumstances for people outside of your normal family or friend zone.
You can also feel fulfilled knowing that you’ve grown and developed on a personal and professional level by helping others in difficult circumstances, meaning social work can benefit both yourself and others.
You Want a Career Which Offers Versatility
Even when working in a job you enjoy and a role which is rewarding, doing the same thing every single day can easily become less than exciting after a long period of time. Social work offers a versatile role with the possibility of constant change. Social workers need to adapt to a variety of situations (even within the same case) and may need to be many things to many different people.
This role also offers the opportunity to introduce personal interests and personal knowledge into whatever role you’re assigned, as sharing these things with the people you’re working with can be extremely beneficial for the professional time you spend together.
Furthermore, this versatility is explored even further by the number of working environments possible for this role, like schools, hospitals or even within legal settings. A BSW online qualification sets you up in the right way to apply your own knowledge to this great variety of situations and people.
You Excel Through One-On-One Working Scenarios
Some people work best as part of a large team and couldn’t imagine working alone or on a one-on-one basis. However, the best social workers excel in speaking personally with the vulnerable people they are working with and building an all-important rapport with them in order to develop a key relationship and work successfully together.
If you’re confident and comfortable in working with those in need on a very personal basis, often meaning one-on-one discussions and getting to know them, then this is a skill that can easily be applied to social work.
Making good connections is fundamental for successful social work and you’ll need to be able to connect with the people you’re working with on a personal basis. This is so you can learn more about them, but also so they can learn more about you and learn to trust you.
The traits previously mentioned in this list such as understanding and compassionate skills will be key in forming these one-on-one connections and making a success of the relationships you develop through your professional career.
You Are Capable of Not Letting Work-Life Affect Your Personal Life
The role of a social worker means dealing with troubling cases on a regular basis. Some of these cases may even be worrying, traumatizing or emergency situations. As a naturally compassionate social worker, it is easy to become emotionally overwhelmed by the situations you may have to deal with on a daily basis, and these can easily take their toll if you let them.
Being able to set clear boundaries for the work you do is an important trait to have for social work, as this means you can avoid your work negatively impacting your life. You will need to be able to set boundaries in order to avoid becoming emotionally exhausted and suffering from a low mood in your personal (and professional) life due to what you might be exposed to as a social worker.
Those who are too easily affected by upsetting or demanding circumstances, and find themselves unable to switch off from their work-life when at home, may find it very difficult to deal with the cases presented to them as a social worker, so it’s important to think about this and analyze how well you can set your own boundaries.
Do you think your personality and career goals best match with those attuned to the role of a social worker? Is there anything you could develop to improve your chances of success within this role, or anything which speaks profoundly to you as a benefit of seeking a career path like this one?
Always weigh up the pros and cons when considering your next career move.