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Online Master of Social Work (MSW) Career Outlook

MSW Careers, Titles, and New Roles Available

  • 12 percent job-growth rate is expected for the industry between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than the national average1
  • 92.7 percent of MSW graduates recommend the profession to others2

Ignite your passion for helping others by pursuing your master’s degree in social work. This program can open doors to roles and industries not available to those holding only an undergraduate degree. Graduate with the skills you need to work directly with clients and gain autonomy in your treatment plans.

Below are some of the career titles*, overarching responsibilities, and salaries available to you as a graduate of our Master of Social Work degree program.


Clinical Social Worker*

  • Clinical social workers are mental health professionals who provide a holistic perspective while working with individuals, groups, and communities. They use a person-in-environment approach to consider how the micro, mezzo, and macro systems interact to influence the client system’s lived experience. All clinical work, including diagnosis and treatment, considers the biological, psychological, and social aspects of individual functioning as well as the cultural and spiritual aspects of the person, group, and community.
    • 12 percent projected job growth from 2020 to 2030
    • 2021 median wage: $50,3901


Social and Community Service Manager

  • Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise social service programs within communities and corporate organizations, such as healthcare companies. They work to implement and evaluate social service programs as well as manage those who provide those services to the public.
    Much of this occupation’s growth results from an aging population. Employment opportunities will expand the most in industries that serve the elderly or persons with disabilities, like adult services, insurance agencies, and meal services.

    • 15 percent projected job growth from 2020 to 2030
    • 2021 median wage: $74,0003


Child, Family, and School Social Worker*

  • These social workers engage with families to further their well-being. They work to strengthen parenting skills, prevent child abuse, and identify permanent and temporary homes for abandoned or abused children.
    In schools, they work with teachers and families to maximize the academic functioning of children. They also address teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy.

    • 13 percent projected job growth from 2020 to 2030
    • 2021 median wage: 49,1501


Healthcare Social Worker*

  • Healthcare social workers often work in settings such as hospice care, hospitals, and long-term care facilities, though a new trend shows growth within insurance agencies as well.
    Typically, their role is to provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. They advise family members who act as caregivers on making sound decisions that benefit everyone, provide patients with education and counseling, and make referrals for other services. They may also provide care, case management, or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers that inhibit access to healthcare.

    • 13 percent projected job growth from 2020 to 2030
    • 2021 median wage: 60,8401


Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker*

  • In this role, social workers assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Activities to help people better their mental state and take control of their addiction may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education. Additional licensing may be required.
    • 15 percent projected job growth from 2020 to 2030
    • 2021 median wage: 49,1301


A newer title for social workers with an MSW degree is that of a corporate social worker. It’s gaining popularity in larger companies, non-profits, and insurance agencies.

Organizations are realizing the skill sets they desire most in leadership — strong interpersonal skills, unwavering ethics, and an ability to cultivate cultural diversity — can be found in professionals who also understand how to build positive relationships, motivate employees, and offer employee assistance in support of work-life balance in a number of areas.

For instance, social workers are expertly prepared to implement and evaluate programs that span a range of challenges employees face outside of work, from domestic violence and substance abuse to adoption, divorce, or other mental health challenges. They are also a solid fit for companies that look to promote social responsibility as part of their culture.

Is Getting the MSW Degree Worth It?

Pursuing an MSW degree is a serious commitment, but graduates deem it worthy of the investment. The results of the 2017 National Social Work Workforce Study of New Social Workers2 show that social workers are happy with the in-depth knowledge they gained and the ability to work in various settings with diverse populations.

The report also showed:

  • 95% work in social work positions
  • 92.7% recommend the profession to others
  • 92% worked in direct practice with individuals, families or groups
  • 91.1% were satisfied with their position
  • 84.7% found jobs locally

Top-Paying Industries for MSW Graduates

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports these as some of the top-paying industries for social workers.

  • Federal Executive Branch (OEWS Designation): $83,0204
  • Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance-Related Activities: $62,0505
  • Insurance Carriers: $72,2206
  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners: $66,2807
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $70,8608


Achieving the License You Need

Saint Mary’s Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation. The CSWE is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States. With a curriculum aligned to CSWE standards, the MSW program prepares students for state licensure eligibility. Applicants for social work licensure must also meet additional requirements in every state and U.S. territory, including but not limited to additional training, additional coursework, and supervised clinical experiences. For more information about the MSW program and social work licensure, see Earning Your Social Work License.

Get Started Now

Complete the form below to download your free program brochure and learn more about Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s online programs. An enrollment counselor will contact you shortly to share more information and answer your questions. When you’re ready, you can click Apply Now to start your online application.