Bachelor’s in Social Work (BSW) Jobs | A Guide

Social workers are in high demand, with the number of social worker jobs expected to grow much faster than average compared to all occupations. A bachelor’s degree is typically the first educational step social workers take in their journeys.

Unlike some degrees, the bachelor’s in social work (BSW) degree doesn’t always mean you have to pursue a career in the field of social work. There are many careers BSW holders may consider.

If you’re interested in potential bachelor’s in social work jobs, this guide provides examples of what you can do with a bachelor’s in social work. 

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What Are Social Work Jobs?

Social workers help people cope with everyday problems. These may be due to issues like poverty, substance abuse, medical issues or neglect.

Social work jobs vary depending on the level of education a social worker has. Some social workers with a bachelor’s degree may work in macro social work, collaborating with groups, policymakers and community organizations to develop programs, services and policies. BSW holders may also be eligible to be caseworkers, social worker assistants or social work administrators.

For social workers who want to work as clinical social workers, who treat and diagnose mental, emotional and behavioral disorders, at least a master’s degree in social work (MSW) is required. 

Social worker jobs are found in a variety of areas, wherever children, individuals and families seek social support and assistance. There are school social workers, healthcare social workers, mental health and substance abuse social workers and child and family social workers.

What Are Entry-Level Social Work Jobs?

Entry-level social work jobs are typically for those who don’t have a lot of experience yet in the social work field. Since most social work careers require a master’s degree level of education and licensure, entry-level positions in social work are typically available for those who have a bachelor’s in social work.

With a BSW, graduates might pursue bachelor’s of social work jobs like:

  • Caseworker
  • Mental health assistant
  • Social work administration

Some states may allow you to become a licensed social worker with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in social work from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Licensure may enable you to pursue more advanced opportunities compared to only holding a BSW.

Bachelor’s in Social Work (BSW) Job Outlook and Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook and salary for social workers is strong compared to other occupations. The 2021 median pay for social workers was $50,390 per year, which is higher than the median wages for all occupations, which was $45,760 in 2021. The median annual wages for social workers in May 2021 based on specialty were as follows:

  • Social workers, all other: $61,190
  • Healthcare social workers: $60,840
  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers: $49,130
  • Child, family and school social workers: $49,150

Social worker employment is projected to grow 12% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The following specializations increased between 2020 and 2030:

  • Mental health and substance abuse social workers: 15%
  • Healthcare social workers: 13%
  • Child, family and school social workers: 13%

Factors like education, licensure, where you live and what industry you work in may influence your earning potential and job growth in BSW jobs. With a BSW, you might pursue social work as a caseworker or social work assistant.


Social work caseworkers help people who are in difficult situations improve their outcomes. Caseworker clients may be children who are abused or neglected, adolescents in substance abuse treatment, vulnerable adults, elderly individuals or hospital patients.

Caseworkers may work for government agencies, residential centers, healthcare facilities or nonprofit organizations. They assess client needs and create case plans to identify action steps, timelines, goals and objectives.

They investigate client situations, advocate for their clients and recommend social work services that may help. They provide services including client outreach, resource recommendations, referrals, support and follow-up. In some instances, caseworkers may be called upon to testify in court regarding their clients.

To succeed, caseworkers may benefit from having a desire to work with people and help others. Strong organizational and time-management skills may help caseworkers juggle caseloads and ensure their clients get the targeted help they need.

Social Work Assistant

A social work assistant provides help to social workers. They help social workers with tasks the assistant may legally complete, which may include working on:

  • Casework and documentation
  • Social work administration
  • Providing social services resources to clients
  • Developing treatment plans
  • Research services for clients, such as Medicaid or food stamps
  • Coordinating client services
  • Helping clients complete necessary paperwork for assistance programs
  • Following up with clients on services provided

Social work assistants, like caseworkers, may work with a wide variety of populations. These may include children, families, the elderly, people with disabilities, people with mental illnesses, people with addiction, homeless people, immigrants and former prison inmates.

Social work assistants may benefit from having strong interpersonal skills, organizational skills, problem-solving skills and time management skills. They’re typically tasked with being able to provide support to those in need, and may benefit from showing compassion to populations they’re serving.

Jobs Outside of Social Work With a BSW

While jobs in social work are more limited to those who hold at least a BSW or MSW, there are many career options available to someone with a BSW. In a bachelor’s in social work program, students learn about topics including human behavior in social environments, policy, advocacy, diversity and multiculturalism. Knowledge on these topics may help BSW graduates in a variety of roles, including those that aren’t social work-specific.

If you have a BSW, you may choose to pursue an entry-level career in social work, study for an MSW or apply for a job in one of these related fields.

Community Outreach Worker

Community outreach workers provide education, prevention tips and resources for dealing with social problems, issues and risks. They may serve as liaisons between local community members and community organizations, connecting individuals and families with resources that may help them.

Community outreach workers may be advocates for specific populations or specialize in certain community-related issues. Community outreach workers may benefit from being comfortable working with people in need, since those they work with may be undergoing significant challenges in their lives.

Community outreach workers may benefit from having strong communication and interpersonal skills, which may help them build strong relationships with community members and communicate needs effectively to the organizations they work with. It may also be helpful to have strong problem-solving and analytical skills, so community outreach workers may understand various situations and recommend the best solutions.

Human Services Specialist

A human services specialist has knowledge of resources, programs and organizations that may help people in need. These professionals connect community members with these resources and social programs, and help them obtain assistance by completing the enrollment process.

Human services specialists may work with a variety of populations, including children, families and veterans and specialize in certain types of programs, such as disability services. They interview clients to learn about what might qualify them for certain social help. They then provide assistance to clients to get that help.

Human services specialists may work in settings including homeless shelters, hospitals, community healthcare clinics, residential and nursing care facilities, local and state government agencies and nonprofit organizations. These professionals may benefit from being organized, knowledgeable and empathetic in order to provide optimal services.

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers help communities improve their well-being, by coordinating and supervising community-based programs and organizations.

Individuals in this job role may be tasked with building strong relationships with community members to learn what the needs of a community are and to identify programs and services that may help. Social and community service managers may focus their work on specific populations, such as the homeless or veterans. Others focus on creating programs that address specific challenges, including mental health and substance abuse.

Social and community service managers may put measurement in place to gauge the effectiveness of their programs. They may also write proposals to get funding for programs and services. Social and community service managers may work for government organizations, nonprofits and agencies with community focuses.

Professionals in this position may benefit from having strong interpersonal and listening skills so they may effectively communicate with community members and provide optimal solutions. It may also be helpful for social and community service managers to be detail-oriented and organized.

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Correctional treatment specialists and probation officers provide social services for those who are on probation, on parole or in custody. They help their clients prepare for re-entry into society and to thrive in everyday life. They connect clients with services like housing assistance, educational resources, mental health programs and treatment resources.

Probation officers, also called community supervision officers, frequently check in with their clients to ensure they are following the probation plan and making progress.

Correctional treatment specialists, also called correctional counselors or case managers, work with inmates and parole officers to develop parole and release plans. They may help inmates cultivate job skills, find work placement and get housing.

People who work in these roles may benefit from having strong communication skills and empathy for their clients. It’s also helpful to be organized and use critical thinking to provide optimal recommendations.

Health Education Specialists and Community Health Workers

Health education specialists teach communities about healthy behaviors. They identify specific health needs, create programs to address those issues and help people find health services and resources for improved wellness.

Community health workers advocate for community health needs and connect communities with social service organizations that may help. They may provide basic health services, such as height and weight measurements or diabetic foot checks. They make referrals and conduct outreach programs to help communities improve their health and address health concerns.

Professionals in these positions may seek out specific credentials related to their health specialty. Health education specialists and community health workers may benefit from having a strong interest in health and wellness, as well as possessing strong communication and teaching skills, as well as problem-solving and analytical skills to identify community needs.

Prepare for a Lifetime of Leadership with Simmons’ Online Undergraduate Programs

Women with 17+ prior college credits or an associate degree: Discover an innovative online bachelor’s program designed specifically for women and built on Simmons University’s 100+ year history of empowering women.

  • Empowering women to become leaders for 100+ years 
  • Up to 96 transfer credits accepted, plus credit for life experience 
  • Degree programs are designed for working professionals and can be completed part time


What Else Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Social Work?

If you want to build a career within the social work field specifically, you might consider getting a CSWE-accredited online master’s in social work. This advanced degree may help you become a licensed clinical social worker, where you may provide individual mental health treatment and make diagnoses. An MSW may also help you achieve more advanced roles in social work. 

It might be helpful to work in the social work field with a BSW for a few years to see if the field is a good fit and you wish to continue on to earn your master’s degree. If not, there are other related fields you may pursue, where you have the opportunity to help people and have a positive effect on communities.

Last updated April 2022.