5 Great Social Work Specializations

5 Important Avenues in Social Work

  • Child and Family
  • Geriatric
  • Medical and Public Health
  • School
  • Clinical

If your greatest desire is to help people, you may be interested in learning more about the types of social work specializations that are out there. Social work is a broad profession that offers tons of options for those wishing to work as a helper, according to the National Association of Social Workers. These caring professionals assist individuals and families of all ages and background across a wide spectrum of life issues. Read on to discover more about the field and the most common types of work available within it.

1. Child and Family

Child and family social work focuses on ensuring the safety and children of all ages within their family units. Professionals in this type of practice can provide a number of services. They might be therapists for individual children or work with entire families. It's possible these experts might serve as caseworkers to help their clients obtain the types of social services they need within their communities. Also known as child welfare workers, these folks can be employed in a variety of settings. They might serve families directly in their homes through community agencies. They could also be employed through a hospital or other medical provider.

2. Geriatric

Geriatric or social work of the aging is practice that is focuses on older populations. Workers might provide assessment to determine the types of services necessary for their clients. They could also serve directly as counselors or therapists. It's possible that a practitioner with this type of degree could be employed as an activities director in a community center or nursing home.

3. Medical and Public Health

Another of the most common social work specializations is in the medical or public health sectors. Medical social workers can be employed in a number of settings, working with diverse populations. Hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health agencies and substance abuse rehabilitation centers often hire social workers to assist their patients and residents. These professionals advocate for patient rights, assist in securing the care patients need, work with families to process health-related concerns and more.

4. School

School social workers often work as a liaison between students, families, teachers and administration to bridge communication and to ensure students receive the individual services they need. They may have particular specialties within the school setting such as truancy, crisis intervention, personal and academic counseling and health or sexual education.

5. Clinical

Clinical social workers are practitioners with advanced degrees, usually at least a Master's. They provide diagnosis, treatment plans and counseling services to clients across various settings. The individuals they serve can be of any age. These workers might be seen in work settings like substance abuse facilities, juvenile detention centers, prisons, nonprofit organizations and mental health centers.

Related Resource: 20 High-value BSW Degrees in Metro Areas with Top Salaries for Social Workers 2018

The above are some of the more common categories within the profession. Social work is a versatile field that provides countless opportunities to serve diverse populations in different ways. These five great social work specializations offer a glimpse into the type of work you can do within this helping profession.