What Careers are Available in Macro Social Work?

For those who want to bring about significant systems-level change in a community, macro social workers impact communities and populations through public policy work and leadership roles within non-profit organizations.

Macro practice in social work involves the development of communities through social justice initiatives, with macro social work practice ranging from collaborating with state and national governments, to working with global organizations whose mission it is to improve impoverished communities. Careers in social work macro practice, along with social work in general, are expected to grow by 12% through 2024, which is faster than average compared to other careers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those who pursue a career in macro social work practice will abide by the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers, which states the importance of “attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.” Besides being highly organized with a fine attention to detail while keeping large-scale goals in mind, those in macro social work practice must also show qualities of empathy and sensitivity to a variety of cultures and conditions.

The career possibilities related to macro social work theories are vast. Here are some of the ways macro social workers positively contribute to human development throughout the world. 

1. Government

While they're not always elected officials, social workers ensure the federal government and its programs run smoothly. The NASW Center for Workforce Studies & Social Work Practice reports there are more than 8,000 social work positions in the federal government, including in cabinet-level agencies such as:

  • Social Security Administration
  • Veterans Administration
  • Health and Human Services
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Defense   

Those in macro practice social work may be employed in a variety of local, state and national government positions, acting as resources and advocates for state and national legislation, resources assessment, disaster relief, program design, organizational development, policy analysis and more. Government social work careers tend to provide employment and financial stability and clear paths to growth.  

2. Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations are often focused on advancing the greater good of humanity, which makes them perfect employer candidates for those in macro social work practice. Macro social workers are ideal leaders for nonprofits since they are able to use research data to make significant decisions on vision and execution within an organization, increasing their efficiencies to maximize the services they provide.

U.S. News & World Report states that depending on the scale of the nonprofit, working at one may give employees the opportunities to learn more skills than they would in a corporate setting, as workers often take on a variety of tasks to ensure the nonprofit's success. Nonprofit macro social work practice ranges from advocacy for poor populations to many prevention specialties.

3. Community Level

For those interested in macro work social practice in a particular region, there are many opportunities on the community level. State and local governments employ macro social workers as organizers, educators and analysts in support of programs within in schools, hospitals and community centers. Public schools systems turn to macro social workers to support new program design and implementation around such things as welfare support, health and wellness programs, and new policy integration.

Community social workers are able to dive deep into the dynamics of the population to better understand demographics and what their needs are. Macro social workers in a community may strategize and implement initiatives related to topics such as:

  • Drug awareness
  • Stress relief
  • Child literacy
  • Mental health

While macro social work practice focuses on the larger groups, the effects of their efforts are realized and impactful for both broad and individual populations.

4. Research

If you love autonomy but still want to contribute to a greater good, doing social work research helps a variety of entities. Social worker research associates and analysts examine unique factors in specific populations and recommend actions to take to improve those groups.

Social work research plays a part in government, nonprofits and communities, as it’s a driver of recommendations on all levels. In an ever-changing world influenced by factors ranging from technology to political elections to evolving community systems, social work research helps to optimize the lives of people within various communities.

Explore Becoming a Macro Social Worker Today

If macro social work practice sounds like it’s a possible career fit for you, obtaining a master of social work degree focusing on macro social work application theories and practice is essential. There are many field internships available for those studying macro social work, including nonprofit organizations, government, community and healthcare settings.

Boston University is consistently ranked as one of the world's top universities for macro social work, and even offers an online program that allows students to study and learn on the schedule that works best for them. Learn more about their online Master of Social Work program and the macro social work major.