Careers in Social Work

MSW Jobs Outlook

Social Work is a career path like no other. Career prospects for social workers are strong. In a volatile and constantly evolving economy, social work is also a profession built for flexibility. As the needs of populations change, the most successful social workers are those with a broad foundation of knowledge and skills that can be quickly applied to the need at hand.

Adaptability also means being adept at communicating with and meeting the needs of an ever-increasingly diverse population. The ability to apply the principles of ethics, clinical mental health, social welfare, and economic justice to a range of at-risk populations is what sets Boston University’s MSW graduates apart.

The online Master of Social Work degree program at Boston University features a dynamic, multi-disciplinary curriculum delivered by expert faculty at an internationally recognized, research-driven institution. Graduates will be poised to pursue high-level opportunities in a wide variety of social work disciplines, easily adapting their practice to pressing needs in communities around the country. Our graduates are uniquely qualified to take advantage of what is expected to be a robust job market for social workers.

Job Growth in Social Work

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects overall employment growth among social workers to increase by 16% from 2008 to 2018, higher than most other professions1. Job growth in certain areas of social work practice is expected to be faster still, with some disciplines anticipating a 20%+ increase in available jobs:

Social Worker Job Growth by Discipline
Anticipated % change in employment, 2008-2018

Social Work Discipline


Child, family and school 12
Medical and public health 22
Mental health and substance abuse 20
All other 13
Overall social work 16

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Social Worker Salaries

The latest report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the median annual salary for social workers at $44,200. Attaining an MSW qualifies graduates for many other positions too, including:

  • Marriage and Family Therapists - $41,500 annual salary
  • Correctional Treatment Specialists - $48,190 annual salary
  • School and Career Counselors - $53,610 annual salary

Obtaining higher degrees, such as a Master of Social Work, prepares social workers to climb the career ladder, accept leadership positions, earn better salaries, and expand the positive difference they make in their communities.

What Can an MSW Do For Your Career?

A Master of Social Work degree is a requirement for professional licensure in most states, and it is a credential that can create a variety of career opportunities at the highest levels of clinical practice. In addition, an advanced social work degree is often required to receive reimbursement for Clinical Social Work Practice from third parties, such as insurance companies and local/state governments.

Earning a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University, one of the largest and most respected private research universities in America, will enhance your social work career opportunities. BUSSW graduates are leaders in the field and possess the knowledge, skills and professional commitment to address the capacities of individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

The online program is available for individuals living in the USA except those from NH, MD, NC and US territories. State licensing requirements differ from state to state. Please be sure to research the licensing requirements for your state.

To learn more about the Master of Social Work from Boston University and what it can do for your career, call 877-308-9945 to speak with an admissions representative, or Request More Information.



1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition, accessed 1/29/2011,