Social Work Career Opportunities

Positively Impact the Lives of Individuals and Families

Social work is a versatile, purpose-driven profession that prepares you to positively impact the lives of individuals and families, as well as the performance of groups and organizations. A degree in social work can open doors to new job opportunities that can strengthen our communities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth and compensation will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services. Relative to a number of factors within a community, the most competitive employers include hospitals, government agencies, and educational institutions based in urban areas.

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Social Work Career Salary Information

National

Median Annual Salary
$51,760/year
13% growth increase thru 2029
Bachelor's typically required for entry-level positions

Local

Median Annual Salary
$75,569/year
updated March 2021
Highest paying cities for Social Workers in Kentucky
Fort Campbell, KY
$80,383
Lexington, KY
$76,740
Louisville, KY
$60,335
Bachelor's typically required for entry-level positions

*National job opportunities data is based on national medians and figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook handbook.
*Local job opportunities data is based on estimated base pay and figures from Indeed.com.

Industries Hiring Social Work Graduates

Social workers operate within a wide range of industries and perform a variety of job functions. As a social worker, you can tailor your career to your interests and passions and have the option to reinvent yourself professionally while continuing in your chosen field. Social workers can be found in:
  • Child, Family and School Services
    • Work with families to strengthen parenting skills
    • Prevent child abuse
    • Identify alternative homes for children who are unable to live with their biological families
    • Provide counseling and support services to school age children and teenagers
    • Advocate for student success
  • Medicine
    • Help aging populations and their families
    • Advise family care givers
    • Provide patient education and discharge planning
    • Make referrals for other services
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse
    • Help clients adjust to major lifestyle changes
    • Assist with disaster relief programs
    • Provide substance abuse assessment and referrals
    • Make referrals for social rehabilitation and crisis intervention
  • Criminal Justice System
    • Serve as probation and parole officers
    • Work with juveniles in detention centers
    • Work in an alternative sentencing program
  • Military and Veterans Affairs Agencies
    • Work with active duty military members and their families
    • Work with veterans as they transition from service to civilian life
    • Work in veteran hospitals
  • Administration and Community
    • Raise funds for community projects
    • Write grants to sustain communities
    • Plan and implement community infrastructure projects
    • Assist and advocate for state and federal policies that assist community projects
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