What is Oncology Social Work?

oncology-social-workHave you ever thought about a career in oncology social work? You could use your compassionate personality to provide care and resources to families in pain. You can earn your degree online, and oncology social work has excellent career prospects.

Becoming An Oncology Social Worker

The first step to your new career is obtaining a bachelor's degree. If you haven't completed a bachelor's degree, it's not too late. Social work programs offer many online classes, and you'll find many non-traditional students in your courses. Social work attracts people from all walks of life, so you'll fit in fine, no matter your story. Plus, your professors will be dedicated, caring professionals committed to helping you complete your education. You'll find plenty of support in your social work program whether you head back to campus or work online.

If you've finished your undergraduate education, it may be best to pursue a master's in social work. You can complete this degree completely online in less than two years, and you'll be an attractive candidate for management positions.

Resource: Top 10 Online Social Work Degree Programs

Job Duties

As an oncology social worker, you'll be employed by healthcare facilities like hospitals and hospices. You will work with patients and their families to help in the fight against cancer. You may find yourself serving as a counselor or a shoulder to cry on as families deal with the emotional damage that cancer can cause. You'll also be responsible for knowing local resources; for example, you may help families apply for food stamps or welfare benefits while their primary breadwinner is undergoing treatment. Additionally, you'll need to work closely with local support groups and religious organizations so your clients can get additional support. Your work will be emotionally draining; you will witness families falling apart and clients dying. Despite these hardships, many oncology social workers love their jobs because they can make a difference when it matters the most.

Career Prospects

Sadly, cancer is an increasingly common affliction. The World Health Organization has predicted a 57 percent increase in cancer rates in the next two decades. In the United States, cancer is one of the biggest killers of both men and women, and other developed countries throughout the world experience high rates of cancer as well. No matter where you want to live, your services as an oncology social worker will be in demand. Because you'll be working directly for hospitals, you can count on an excellent salary and competitive benefits. Your employer should offer plenty of training opportunities to keep your social work license current, and you'll have opportunities to advance into management or research.

Battling cancer requires a strong support system, and you can be an important part of the fight. Whether you've lost a loved one to cancer or want a career providing emotional comfort, oncology social work may be the perfect job for you.

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