Many social workers looking for jobs online may automatically assume that any postings with the eye-catching phrase "work from home" is a scam, but there are actually an increasingly number of legitimate telecommuting social work jobs available each year. Due to the fact that many organizations are seeking to reduce costs as the nation recovers from a major recession, medical careers now account for the largest proportion of telecommuting jobs. In fact, FlexJobs reports that there has been a 400% increase in the number of health-related telecommuting jobs over the past five years. If you are interested in using your social work expertise while working from the comfort of home with added flexibility, read on to learn about the three most popular career titles for social workers finding telecommuting jobs.
Online Social Work Instructor
As for-profit online universities like the University of Phoenix and Kaplan University continue to grow and traditional brick-and-mortar universities bulk up their online course offerings, hiring for adjunct instructors is robust. Therefore, many licensed social workers are taking their expertise to the virtual classroom to organize online social work courses for training the next generation of professionals for advocating social justice. Most online schools hire social workers for part-time adjunct positions in their social sciences department, but there may be some tenure-track full-time options available too. To qualify, you will generally need to hold a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree and be able to document advanced coursework you have taken.
Home Visit Case Manager
It is becoming increasingly popular for health organizations to hire full-time licensed social workers to conduct home visits for consulting with individuals and families in need without making any trips into the office. Also called field care managers, home visit case managers typically will travel to clients' homes, evaluate their needs, implement interventions, complete physical or psychological assessments, and develop action-based treatment plans based on their needs. Along with an MSW degree and state license, most case managers will need at least two years of related work experience to qualify. Although these are labeled telecommuting jobs, there may be limitations on area of residence and a significant amount of local travel.
Mental Health Coach/Therapist
Many licensed social workers with advanced degrees are also finding telecommuting jobs as mental health coaches or therapists to work from their private home office with clients seeking treatment for a wide range of disorders. Whether over the phone or through video-chat on Skype, mobile mental health therapists are responsible for completing behavioral assessments, developing treatment plans, implementing health coaching, and helping patients overcome barriers to receiving mental health services through referrals. Most will be responsible for providing cognitive-behavioral therapy to assist individuals with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more strictly through online counseling methods.
While it is clear that the number of telecommuting jobs in social work and other health-related careers is dramatically growing, it can still be tricky to spot them. When you are searching through online job postings, remember to stay on your guard for scams that will likely ask for money upfront, inquire about personal information, and include many dollar signs. Once you filter out the obvious scam posts, you should be able to find several telecommuting social work jobs that you probably thought never existed.