What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s in Social Work?
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Editor & Writer
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- With a bachelor's degree in social work, you land an entry-level social work job.
- Getting an entry-level role in social work allows you to gain valuable experience.
- You can become a licensed baccalaureate social worker in 39 states and Washington, D.C.
- As an LBSW, you'll assist social workers in helping their clients improve their lives.
Do you have a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW), but are still unsure if, when, or how you'll get your master's degree in social work (MSW)?
Good news: You can start your career in social work with your BSW. With an entry-level social work position, you can gain experience, determine what populations you want to work with, and save money to pay for your MSW.
Find out more about what you can do with a bachelor's in social work and how much you can earn.
Where Can I Become a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker?
A licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW) is a licensed social worker who earned a bachelor's degree in social work and passed the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) bachelors exam. LBSWs assist licensed master social workers (LMSWs) and licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) in helping clients improve their lives.
You can become a licensed social worker with a bachelor's degree in 39 states and Washington, D.C. Find out more about where you can become a licensed social worker with a bachelor's degree.
List of States Offering Social Work Licenses to Bachelor's Degree Holders
- Washington, D.C.
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Popular Online Social Work Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
16 Careers You Can Pursue With a Bachelor's in Social Work
With a BSW, you can pursue support roles that assist LMSWs and LCSWs help their clients improve their lives. Your responsibilities could include:
- Researching and identifying services, like counseling, to help clients
- Helping clients apply for assistance programs, like food stamps
- Following up with clients to ensure social services programs are meeting their needs
You may be able to start some of the following careers before you finish your BSW. Others require an MSW to advance.
As an activities director, you'll coordinate activity schedules for your organization. You'll need organizational skills to oversee several activities daily. You must also have strong leadership and communication abilities to work with executives, vendors, employees, and customers.
Average annual salary: $44,820 (Payscale, July 2023)
Annual salary range: $34,000-$62,000
Behavioral Health Technician
As a behavioral health technician, you'll assist therapists and nurses with patients who are in treatment for their behavioral health. You'll create behavioral health programs and treatment plans. You'll provide positive feedback and attempt to manage unwanted behaviors.
Average annual salary: $38,120 (Payscale, July 2023)
Annual salary range: $29,000-$58,000
As a care coordinator, you'll work with other healthcare professionals to create and implement treatment plans that meet patients' needs and legal standards.
You'll help with discharge planning based on the patients' at-home resources to ensure continuity of care. You'll also educate patients and families about care and discharge plans.
Average annual salary: $50,650 (Payscale, July 2023)
Annual salary range: $31,000-$71,000
As a case manager, you'll work with an interdisciplinary team to help people through difficult circumstances, such as poverty, incarceration, and mental health conditions.
You'll create intervention plans, offer guidance, and spend time advocating for your clients to help improve their situations.
Average annual salary: $45,820 (Payscale, July 2023)
Annual salary range: $34,000-$78,000
Community Health Worker
As a community health worker, you'll connect people to the healthcare they need. You'll educate people on health concerns and resources, create outreach programs, and provide first-aid and transportation.
You'll collect data to identify the community's health needs and communicate those needs to other healthcare stakeholders.
Median annual salary: $46,590 (BLS, May 2021)
Annual salary range: $30,440-$70,720
As an eligibility worker, you'll determine which social services and assistance programs could help people improve their circumstances and their eligibility for those services. Government agencies offer most of these jobs.
You'll need written and verbal communication skills to explain the process of finding assistance and help clients fill out applications.
Average annual salary: $44,960 (Payscale, July 2022)
Annual salary range: $29,000-$67,000
As a family advocate, you'll need communication, interpersonal, and stress management skills to remain calm and supportive while helping families through difficult circumstances.
You'll report abuse and provide education, resources, and guidance. You may work with other advocates, law enforcement, or child protective services, depending on the needs of each family.
Average annual salary: $40,420 (Payscale, July 2022)
Annual salary range: $31,000-$54,000
Family Service Worker
As a family service worker, you'll work directly with families to educate, advise, and offer services that can improve their situations.
Your responsibilities include finding affordable housing, scheduling job interviews, and learning about developments in the family. These responsibilities vary based on the needs of each family.
Average annual salary: $40,750 (Payscale, July 2022)
Annual salary range: $31,000-$66,,000
Geriatric Social Worker
As a geriatric social worker, you'll ensure older adults age safely, healthily, and comfortably. You'll keep your clients company, support their involvement in community activities, and connect them to resources that help them live independently.
You'll help their families make decisions about transportation, necessary healthcare, and the transition into a residential or skilled nursing home.
Average annual salary: $61,000 (Payscale, July 2022)
Annual salary range: $41,000-$78,000
As a patient advocate, you'll act as a liaison between patients and their healthcare team during their stay in a healthcare facility. You'll answer patients' questions and address their concerns.
You'll also follow up with medical providers, help families choose insurance plans, and help families get the most out of their insurance.
Average annual salary: $49,200 (Payscale, July 2023)
Annual salary range: $33,000-$70,000
Probation Officer or Corrections Specialist
As a probation officer or corrections specialist, you'll help rehabilitate adult and juvenile offenders who are incarcerated, on probation, or on parole.
Your responsibilities could include maintaining case files, conducting drug tests, connecting clients to resources like job training, and interviewing clients' friends and family to assess progress.
Median annual salary: $59,860 (BLS, May 2021)
Annual salary range: $38,550-$101,080
Residential Support Worker
As a residential support worker, you'll help residents with tasks they cannot do independently, such as running errands, cooking, and cleaning. Your responsibilities will vary based on your work setting, clients, and their needs.
You could work in group homes or residential facilities focused on intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health, or substance misuse.
Average annual salary: $42,350 (Payscale, July 2023)
Annual salary range: $25,000-$52,000
Social Services and Community Manager
As a social services and community manager, you will identify, plan, implement, and evaluate programs and organizations that will help meet the needs of community members. You may focus your programs on a specific population, such as children, older adults, or veterans.
Median annual salary: $74,240 (BLS, May 2021)
Annual salary range: $46,770-$123,320
Social and Human Service Assistant
As a social and human service assistant, you'll assist social workers in identifying clients in need of services, creating intervention plans, and researching services and resources that could help clients.
You'll also help clients fill out paperwork to apply for these social services and follow up with clients to make sure their situations improve.
Median annual salary: $37,610 (BLS, May 2021)
Annual salary range: $28,610-$58,770
Social Science Research Assistant
As a social science research assistant, you'll help social scientists with their research projects. Your responsibilities could include conducting surveys, analyzing and managing data, and preparing the research findings for publication.
Median annual salary: $50,470 (BLS, May 2021)
Annual salary range: $33,860-$82,350
Training and Development Specialist
As a training and development specialist, you'll plan and implement programs to train employees and build their skills. You'll work with managers, employees, and other stakeholders to determine the organization's training needs.
Median annual salary: $61,570 (BLS, May 2021)
Annual salary range: $31,340-$103,240
How Much Can You Make With a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work (BSW)?
Graduates of BSW programs make an average of $54,000 per year, according to Payscale data from July 2023. Your salary as a BSW graduate will depend on your experience and job title.
Employers tend to pay higher salaries as workers gain experience. However, if you want a higher salary potential as an entry-level employee, consider becoming a training and development specialist, geriatric social worker, or social services and community manager. These professionals tend to make more than other positions that only require a BSW.
With experience, these professionals can earn more than $50,000 per year with just a BSW:
- Training and development specialists
- Social science research assistants
- Social services and community managers
- Geriatric social workers
- Probation officers or corrections specialists
- Care coordinators
Social Work Certifications for Bachelor's Degree in Social Work Graduates
The National Association of Social Work Boards (NASW) offers social work certifications. Becoming certified in your social work specialty verifies your experience and expertise with a specific population or skill. To get your social work certification from NASW, you'll need to:
- Earn a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program
- Pass the ASWB bachelors exam
- Hold a current bachelor's-level state social work license
- Complete 20 contact hours of continuing education in your specialty
- Gain three years, or 4,500 hours, of supervised social work experience in your specialty
Social workers may want to consider pursuing one of the following certifications:
- Certified Social Work Case Manager (C-SWCM): Consider this certification if you work for an agency providing case management services. As a case manager, you'll work with clients and families to create intervention plans that focus on the client's environment and social system as well as the client.
- Social Worker in Gerontology (SW-G): Consider this certification if you have the training, knowledge, and experience to work with older adults, promote their dignity and independence, and handle the unique challenges they face as they age.
- Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker (CHP-SW): Consider this certification if you work to meet the psychological and social needs of patients with terminal illnesses and their families to maintain or improve their quality of life.