Health Guide USA
America's Online Health Resource Guide

Social Worker Job Outlook


Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster average for all occupations. The number of total social worker jobs is expected to grow by 109,700 positions during this period. Increased demand for healthcare and social services will drive demand for social workers, but growth will vary by specialization.

Employment of child, family, and school social workers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Child and family social workers will be needed to work with families to strengthen parenting skills, prevent child abuse, and identify alternative homes for children who are unable to live with their biological families. In schools, more social workers will be needed as student enrollments rise. However, employment growth of child, family, and school social workers may be limited by federal, state, and local budget constraints.




Employment of healthcare social workers is projected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Healthcare social workers will continue to be needed to help aging populations and their families adjust to new treatments, medications, and lifestyles.

Employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers is projected to grow 19 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment will grow as more people seek treatment for mental illness and substance abuse. In addition, drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs, which are staffed by these social workers, rather than being sent to jail.

Overall, job prospects should be very good, particularly for clinical social workers. The continuing growth of healthcare spending and treatment increases the opportunities for clinical social workers as compared to social workers who do not offer treatment services.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupation Outlook Handbook

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