Bringing attention to the importance of social workers

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Photo Credit: photo by pixy.org under Creative Common License

because of the unfair wages social workers get, there is hesitation for some to go into this field of work.

By: Alexa Leviten, Editor

The month of March brings both women’s history month and social work month. A perfect time to shed some perspective on how important social workers are.

The job of a social worker

Being a social worker can be very rewarding, but like most jobs, can be pretty challenging as well. They help individuals, groups, and families cope with problems and help them improve their lives. They also address legal issues, engage in some research, stay actively participated in their patients’ lives, and keep records of their patient’s history. It is important for social workers to separate their emotions from their duties that are required of them. It is also the type of job that requires working overtime or unexpectedly.

Characteristics needed

Besides having at least a bachelor’s degree and some certification, a good social worker should possess most or all of these traits. Most social workers naturally have that passion and drive to want to help others since it is what they will mainly be doing. They should also be able to¬†actively listen, have good verbal communication, time management and organization skills, critical thinking, social perceptiveness, and interpersonal skills.

Different types of social workers

There are many different branches of social work that a person can want to find a job under. Some involve working with children, schools, families, or elders. Others work to help people suffering from substance abuse and mental health. Different work environments can be schools, private practices, hospitals, government institutions, and a few more.

Statistics

The job outlook for this career differs between each specialty, but overall through 2029, the employment rate of social workers will grow at a fast average of 13%. The 2020 median pay statistics from the BLS are that social workers earn $51,760 per year and $24.88 per hour.¬†Around 83% of social works are female and 85% of them have an MSW(master’s) degree or higher.

For someone who gets a master’s in psychology earns an average yearly salary of $62,134 according to PayScale. But, according to PayScale, the average salary for a Social Worker (MSW) is only $48,605. This shows over a $10,000 pay gap between a master’s in social work and a master’s in psychology. Even as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), data shows that the average salary is around only 59k. Even with a license, social workers may still be making less than someone with a master’s in psychology.

This brings the question of if this low pay is due to the fact that most social workers are women, or if they are just underappreciated for their work. On socialworkersspeak.org, they bring attention to how underpaid social workers are.

They said, “However, there is no question social workers should be paid more for the invaluable work they do… Judgments on the monetary value of certain careers are always subjective. Thank goodness many people continue to choose life-affirming careers such as social work despite the naysayers.”

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