Social Work 2023

Posted by GVT Admin on Aug 9, 2023 10:30:00 AM

Modern Social Workers Once a year we like to step back and take a look at the evolving Social Work profession. What began as a career almost strictly for women who were compelled to help their less fortunate fellow man, has evolved into a highly sophisticated profession often requiring advanced degrees that attracts both men and women from all walks of life.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 9% employment growth rate for all social workers from 2021-31.

  • Healthcare social workers qualified to provide treatment services are currently in particular demand. Social workers with MSWs fill most positions in healthcare organizations.
  • Individual and family services, which employ 18% of the workforce, rank highly among the industries that employ the most social workers. About 349,800 of the nation's total 708,100 social workers serve as child, family, and school social workers.
  • 31% of MSW graduates hold jobs at nonprofit organizations.

Three Professional Levels

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) organizes social work practices into three levels: micro, mezzo, and macro.

  • Micro Social Work - Social workers need at least an MSW and a clinical social work license in their state to practice micro social work. At this level, social workers diagnose individuals with mental health and substance misuse conditions.  They counsel individuals and groups, create and implement treatment plans, and connect individuals with resources to meet their needs.
  • Mezzo Social Work - Social workers at the mezzo level work with groups and specific populations such as older adults, children and families, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and incarcerated individuals. These roles usually need at least an MSW and a state license to practice social work at either the generalist or clinical level. They plan and implement programs, connect clients with resources, and follow up with clients to ensure progress.
  • Macro Social Work - All social workers can practice at the macro level, no matter what license they have. Macro social workers focus on implementing changes to society in the form of policy changes or community resources that benefit the specific population in which they specialize. They advocate for policy change and community resources, develop and analyze policy, and connect with other social workers to stay up to date on best practices in the field.


  • Child and Family Social Workers - respond to crises and help families access services, such as food stamps and housing opportunities. (Requires: BSW or MSW + state license.)
  • School Social Workers - identify and assist students by creating plans that address emotional, behavioral, social, or academic issues. (Requires: MSW + C-SSWS certification)
  • Mental Health Social Workers - work with people who have substance misuse and mental health conditions. They counsel individuals and groups, connect clients to resources, and follow up to make sure their situation improves. (Requires: MSW + LCSW)
  • Substance Misuse Social Workers - work in rehabs, hospitals, and detention centers assessing, counseling, and creating interventions. (Requires: BSW)
  • Healthcare Social Workers - help clients navigate healthcare and get comfortable with a medical diagnosis. (Requires: MSW)
  • Clinical Social Workers - practice at all levels of social work from policy change to diagnosis and treatment. (Requires: MSW + LCSW)
  • Social and Community Service Managers - identify necessary programs and services and advocate and raise awareness about community needs. (Requires: BSW)
  • Social Work Teachers - develop curriculums and teach classes at four-year and two-year colleges. (Requires: MSW, DSW)

The Big Picture

As the demand for social services continues to increase, the profession is evolving into an even wider variety of specialties. Juvenile justice, Aging, Victim Services, Adult Re-Entry, Veteran Services, Workforce Development, and a multitude of Government Services all employ social workers as their professional workforce. In 2023, professional social work opportunities appear almost endless.


To learn more information about social workers, please check out Social Work and What Social Worker Do in the FAMCare blog.  


Topics: social workers, what social workers do

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