If you enjoy helping people through difficult times, then a position as a social worker may fit your personality perfectly. Social workers are active in the community, so the job isn't for people who want to sit inside a cubicle all day. While social workers typically won't make a six-figure salary, you can enjoy an income that will allow you to pay for expenses and put some money in savings, too.
A social worker's job consists of helping people. While paperwork is a necessity as a social worker, you'll spend most of your time in the field helping individuals or groups by talking to them and finding resources to help them overcome their problems. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are three main types of social workers: child, family and school social workers, medical and public health social workers, and mental health and substance abuse social workers. Depending on your level of education and experience, you can expect to provide counselling for people as well.
You can't jump right into the line of social work. You must obtain a mandatory bachelor's degree, while many employers prefer a master's degree. Generally, the more education you have, the more you'll money you will make starting out. You'll typically take courses in psychology, ethics, social studies, economics and sociology. En-route to becoming a full-time social worker, you'll work with a social worker and experience the line of work and learn what to do in certain situations. You also must pass a state certification exam prior to becoming a social worker.
You can expect to be either be paid salary or hourly as a social worker. The average income for social workers was £28,028 in May 2008, according to the BLS, which breaks down to about £13 an hour assuming you work 40 hours a week. Because social workers sometimes work more than 40 hours a week, it's difficult to gauge an exact hourly wage. Whether you're paid salary or hourly depends on your employer and position.
Ways to Increase Your Income
Earning a master's or doctorate degree will almost guarantee you a higher starting income, as you'll have more knowledge than someone who only earned a bachelor's degree. For example, the salary for a master's degree of social work ranges from £22,420 to £33,800, whereas a bachelor's degree ranges from £17,855, to £28,627, according to PayScale.Your experience will be one of the biggest factor regarding your potential income: as you gain experience, your hourly wage or salary will increase. The average social worker's salary with one to four years of experience ranges from £18,167 to 32,854, whereas someone with five to nine of experience can expect a salary from £20,090 to £26,954, according to PayScale. All figures are from November 2010.
Social work jobs are expected to grow 16 per cent between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Jobs helping older people are expected to grow especially fast.