Social workers assist individuals and groups with problems such as poverty, illness, drug addiction, domestic abuse, emotional or mental disabilities and homelessness. They help people bring about changes in their lives by acquiring the services, information, education or resources that they need. Social workers may also organize support groups or assist with job training to help patients return to a normal life.
Social workers may find employment in social service agencies, hospitals, clinics, schools, family service centers and prisons. They can work independently or with a team of professionals, including physicians, psychologists, nurses, lawyers, teachers and therapists. Social workers usually work a standard 40-hour week, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends.
Areas of Specialization
Social workers can specialize in many areas, like school, occupational, family, clinical healthcare, child welfare, criminal justice and substance abuse counseling.
Education programs for social work range from a bachelor’s degree to a doctorate, depending on the level an individual chooses to practice. Specialization is available in a variety of areas for those with advanced degrees.
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
There is a bright future for social workers. Statewide, the number of jobs is expected to increase by 22% in the next decade. The need is even greater in north Central Iowa, where the growth rate is 36%.