What Jobs Can You Do with a BSW Qualification?
The role of social worker is much needed, playing an integral part in helping and supporting the lives of vulnerable people in communities and within society as a whole. This makes it an often popular choice for those looking for careers which are rewarding and provide vital roles.
If you’re considering a career in social work, then you’ll also be planning a qualification to support it, such as a BSW online qualification (Bachelor of Social Work). In preparing for a degree, it’s always good to know and explore all the career options available to you, which you can use your hard-earned degree in.
There are a wide range of roles in social work - a variety of circumstances, working environments and people you’ll be working with. It’s one of the most versatile working environments, and gives you the opportunity to help people from all walks of life and of all ages. A BSW degree or BSW online degree can best prepare you for the many different roles available to you, no matter which you pick. The skills learned under this degree are transferrable ones, applicable for any role and any development.
Social workers who have gained a BSW degree or BSW online degree will be trained to work in many different environments, but it’s important to understand that becoming a social worker isn’t just one role, and that there are many different types of social work, which will be explored here.
The Future Work Settings to Expect with a BSW Degree or BSW Online Degree
While there are many roles to be explored as a social worker, there are also many work settings you can expect. Depending on your role, you may specialise in only one of these areas or you may be expected to cover most of them as part of your responsibilities.
As you earn your BSW online or BSW degree, you can expect to train and develop in any of the following areas:
- Child welfare
- Domestic abuse and violence centers
- Developmental disability services
- Nursing homes
- Substance abuse facilities or programs
- Criminal justice agencies
- Schools (of varying age groups)
- Churches or related religious programs
- Non-profit organizations
What Jobs Can You Do with a BSW or BSW Online Qualification?
The following is a list of the key job areas you can aim for with a BSW or BSW online qualification. Your ideal role depends on the kind of environment you’d prefer, your preference of individuals you support, and what your own career goals might be.
This is possibly one of the most well-known roles for a social worker – the assignment of specific cases to help certain individuals. These cases will usually be assigned to a social worker by a specific group, such as a government body, charity or other organization, with the purpose of having the social worker help an individual on a one-to-one basis.
When assigned a case, the social worker will work directly with the individual in order to support them and overcome or deal with any crisis in their life. This could be a specific conflict or a recovery program, for example. The skills learned within a BSW degree or BSW online degree will have enabled the caseworker to work compassionately and successfully with an individual in need.
A caseworker would become the number-one supporter for the individual’s current circumstance and help them by providing all the information and support required for them to overcome their current problem. Caseworkers may find themselves supporting substance abusers, young offenders or patients in hospitals, to name just a few.
- Family Service Worker
Social workers can work with families as well as on a one-to-one basis with individuals. A family service worker supports families in need who are working to overcome specific problems or difficult times. There are many problems which can arise within vulnerable families, such as issues of physical abuse, substance abuse or conflicts, tragedy or even dealing with poverty.
A family service worker would be appointed by the relevant body, such as a government body, to assist with education and support services where needed.
- Mental Health Assistant
This role will see an assigned social worker helping to deal with any patients suffering with a mental disability or emotional disturbance. A mental health assistant’s focus will be on the support and wellbeing of any mentally-vulnerable individuals. This social work role will see mental health assistants working directly under medical staff rather than independently, due to the nature of the role and the health vulnerabilities of the patients.
Within this position, your focus would always be on the improved quality of life for the patients you deal with. This work would include supporting your patients to deal with daily problems and develop their coping skills, as well as being able to improve their emotional and mental wellbeing as much as possible.
- Activity or Workshop Director
When it comes to communities, social work and vulnerable individuals, activities and development workshops are essential for the wellbeing and daily lives of all involved. What workshops and activities strive to do is provide a safe and fun environment for those wanting to join together and learn, and for vulnerable people in times of crisis, this can be very important.
Activity or workshop directors are responsible for the creation and running of these activities, which should be designed with the group in mind in order to provide targeted and entertaining activities.
Due to the specific development needs of vulnerable people, like those with learning difficulties or disabilities, these workshops and activities can’t always be general games or workshops that anyone could attend. Social workers are uniquely equipped to develop workshops targeted specifically for those vulnerable needs.
The programs developed by an activity or workshop director will have the social and developmental needs of the group or individuals in mind.
- Habilitation Specialist
This social work roles has a keen focus on intended services for the mentally ill or the disabled. These services can include support to live as independently as possible, as well as dedicated assistance with learning and social skills. Those suffering with a mental illness or with a learning disability can find it very difficult to interact socially or independently, habilitation specialists are therefore important for learning and development in this area.
Within this role, the social worker may be assigned on a one-on-one basis with clients who need specific assistance in order to support their way of life, or they may be assigned to work with a group of clients on a daily basis, in a certain setting, such as a caregiving facility. With the ethical and compassionate learning you’ll undertake with a BSW online or BSW degree, you will be well equipped to deal with challenging circumstances.
- Residential Case Manager
This role can be similar to a caseworker, in that a residential case manager is assigned a case to focus on, yet this role will take place in a residential setting. That residential setting for vulnerable people could be a shelter, assisted residential living or a group home. A residential case manager oversees the cases of the those living within these facilities and works to support the day-to-day activities.
This support also includes helping vulnerable residents to cooperate or socialise with other residents and live alongside them, as well as helping residents to meet their personal and living goals.
Which Other Jobs Also Make Use of Your BSW or BSW Online Qualification?
Due to the wealth of skills you will learn under this degree, there are many jobs which do not have direct links to frontline social work, but where you can still use your degree usefully. The roles below will allow you to use your qualification and learning from your degree.
Counselling is a role which will see you working to support people during difficult times, so it’s no surprise that a degree in social work will be hugely beneficial here. Counsellors work with clients to listen to them and provide kindness, understanding and respect regarding any difficult issue they are facing.
As well as offering a kind ear, counsellors work on a professional level to offer solutions, help clients cope with specific challenges and work to make the most positive changes in their lives.
As a counsellor the types of issues that a lient might come to you with incclude bereavement, mental health issues like anxiety, divorce counselling or job uncertainty.
The job of a counsellor is to always provide a safe space for individuals — or even couples — who are struggling at their most difficult times.
The type of working environment you might expect as a counsellor can be within your own office, on a one-to-one basis in a comfortable room, or you may visit clients in their own homes or preferred space. You may also have a need to visit individuals within other settings, such as schools or hospitals, depending on your specific job role.
The role of a counsellor focuses on a relationship of trust, respect, empathy and solution. Counsellors may also have the tough job of making clients realize harsh truths in order to overcome obstacles and move on in a positive way.
- Life Coach
While counsellors support clients through difficult times and work to improve their lives, life coaches can take this one step further on a more personalized basis by completely empowering clients to change their lives for the better and equip them with the tools they need to achieve their full potential.
Life coaches can still help to empower those clients going through difficulties and help them to get on track, but their main focus will be on helping clients realize their strengths and the general areas of improvement needed in their lives.
Life coaches can be used for personal goals, such as wanting to gain more confidence or develop social skills, or they could be used to help achieve career goals, such as learning how to strive for promotions and jobs their clients want. Life coaches are more about focusing on positive goal planning and achievement, rather than talking through difficult emotional states, but that doesn’t mean that this role goes without compassionate understanding.
A life coach’s clients can be individuals, or they may be part of a group or workshop within which a life coach can give a positive presentation or inspiring speech.
Examples of areas that a life coach may be faced with include:
- Health and wellbeing coaching
- Career coaching
- Relationship coaching
- Personal development
- Youth coaching
- Performance management
3 Tips for Earning your BSW Qualification
- Consider Online Study
Studying for a BSW online degree can mean a much more flexible and productive study experience. Studying online eliminates the expenses and stresses of a residential school and physical classes, and instead allows you to learn in your own environment and on your own schedule. This can be particularly helpful for those looking to study for their qualification alongside other commitments, such as work or family.
- Concentrate on Your Long-Term Career Goals
Your study experience can be more productive if you always keep the end goal in mind. It’s a good idea to look through the potential roles (discussed here in this article) to have a good idea of what you’re planning to do with your qualification going forward. It can be a huge motivator to know which role you’re working towards and how you want to succeed, when you’re studying for a qualification.
- Maintain a Good Life Balance
Make sure your study journey is a healthy one, in order to make the best out of it. Always be sure that your study plans and deadlines are adhered to in a healthy schedule you can plan out in advance, in order to also make time for downtime, hobbies, socializing, work and general life. Apply the same compassionate skills to yourself as you would to your clients as a social worker – make sure you can show yourself kindness as well as those you will help once you are qualified and ready for your career to begin.