Out of the Box Jobs That Require a Social Work License
If you’re thinking about getting, or have recently received, your social work license -congratulations! As a licensed social worker, your skills are in high demand. As a clinical social worker, you’ve demonstrated your ability to empathize, build relationships, use sound clinical judgment, and intervene in a crisis.
After obtaining their license, many social workers go on to practice therapy of related clinical work for clients, either in agencies or in private practice. While this is the traditional professional route for social workers, your social work license is extremely versatile and getting your license doesn’t limit you to working in a traditional therapeutic capacity.
If you’ve received or are considering getting your social work license and want to work in a field other than therapy, you have additional options. Whether you’re a student working toward your license, or are a mid-career licensed social worker looking for a change, the following jobs also make good use of your social work license:
Human resources and employee wellness worker
Many companies, especially larger corporations, employ licensed social workers in their human resource department to help the company’s staff. In most cases, you’ll be working as a social worker in the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs offer both counseling and support to the employees who need help.
The majority of the time, your work in a company EAP will be over the phone. You’ll speak with employees, assess their needs, make an appropriate referral (usually to a local therapist or counselor) and follow up to see how the employee is doing.
Certain for-profit businesses employ social workers in other interesting employee wellness and empowerment roles. For example, this social worker works at Google to empower women in technology.
Program manager and upper management roles
As a licensed social worker, you’ll have more options than unlicensed social workers to work at a management level. Most programs that provide clinical services to client populations require or prefer that their managers have a clinical license. Your social work license demonstrates that you understand the inner workings and needs of the client population that the program serves.
As a clinical program manager, you’ll often be responsible for running a specific program in an organization. This may include ensuring that the program is operating smoothly, clinician needs are being met, and all licensing and paperwork involved in managing the program are in order.
Depending on your experience level, you might also be eligible for upper management positions up to the CEO level in clinical or non-profit companies. At this level, you’ll be working with stakeholders and other managers making the big picture decisions that will best serve clients.
Teaching and continued education
After getting your license, you can use the clinical expertise you’ve developed to teach others. One way to do this is to teach courses that offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to social workers and other clinicians. Our CEU courses at AATBS are developed and taught by licensed social workers and licensed clinicians in related professions such as licensed psychologists or marriage and family therapists.
Social workers with a license also sometimes have the unique opportunity to teach at the university or community college level. Accredited MSW and BSW programs often employ licensed social workers in adjunct or permanent positions to teach direct social work practice courses.
Compliance and auditing
If you’ve done direct care, you’ve no doubt had your program audited to ensure your services are appropriate and medically necessary. After getting your license, you can get hired in the compliance department to ensure social work programs are operating compliantly. This type of work usually involves visiting and assessing social service program sites, as well as reviewing the program’s paperwork and clinical notes.
Once you’ve been licensed for a couple of years and completed a course (the specific requirements vary by state), you’ll be eligible to supervise other clinicians. In this role, you won’t be working directly with clients, but you’ll supervise clinicians as they do their own direct service and work toward getting their own license. You’ll sign off on the supervisee clinician’s paperwork and clinical decisions.
You can be a clinical supervisor in a variety of settings. Many agencies hire licensed clinical supervisors or you can establish your own private practice that provides supervision hours. You might also be able to find a university position in an MSW or BSW program guiding and supervising students through fieldwork practicums.
No matter what career you embark on post-licensure, we’re here to help make sure you get and maintain your license. To learn more about AATBS’ social work exam prep and CEU courses, check out our social worker resources or contact us.