What Can You Do With a PhD in Social Work?

Let’s discuss jobs for Ph.D. in social work.

If you’re looking for what to do with your doctoral degree in social work, this article will provide tips on leveraging your training and skills to achieve your much-desired growth.

What Can You Do with a DSW?

People often seek clear growth paths in their chosen professions or disciplines.

These growth paths are presented mainly by further study.

A discipline like social work will require earning a second degree or master’s and proceeding to achieve a third-degree or doctorate. Such career advancement opens up doors of opportunities.

Careers You Can Pursue with a Doctorate in Social Work

There are lots of specializations and jobs you become suitable for.

For most people seeking career advancement opportunities in social work, further education is the clear path.

That is where doctoral degrees come to play. Now people have unique preferences regarding the type of job they seek or how much they earn.

For the most part, the type of job you qualify for and the salary earned go together.

In a nutshell, the job categories your doctoral degree qualifies you for come with a salary threshold that tends to be higher than any you earned in jobs held before obtaining your doctorate.

Does Your Doctorate Type Determine What You Can Do?

Regarding earning a doctoral degree in social work, there are two main options; a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and a doctorate of Social Work (DSW).

These are primarily based on your goals, interests, and grade score. What you do with such a degree is determined by the type you earn.

For example, aspiring researchers and college professionals tend to pursue a Ph.D. program.

On the other hand, persons engaged in or more interested in social work practice tend to go for DSW programs. Here, it’s clear that what you can do with a doctorate in social work is determined by your type of doctorate program.

Despite this fact, both types offer clear career advancement paths.

Also, what you perceive as growth matters. It could be a pay rise for some, being able to work in think tanks, or simply achieving your long-desired goal of becoming a college professor or researcher.

Whatever it is, your perception is all that matters.

Doctorate in Social Work Jobs

As explained above, a doctorate in social work opens up opportunities that weren’t available before obtaining your third degree.

You can become a field researcher, a college professor, a medical social worker, mental health clinician, or a community program administrator.

i. Field Researcher

With a doctorate in social work, you can become a field researcher.

As the name implies, you’ll be involved in a lot of fieldwork that requires a thorough knowledge of social issues. Like all social work specializations, you get to make meaningful contributions to the growth of society.

One of the critical areas of focus includes social inequality. Your goal will be to find ready solutions to problems of inequality through empirical analysis.

Society is better for it, and you find fulfillment by doing what you love to do most.

With a doctorate in field research, there are many social issues to cover, including child welfare and mental health, to name a few.

ii. College Professor

One of the main prerequisites for becoming a college professor includes earning a doctorate in social work. With this degree, you can achieve your desired goal of imparting knowledge at the university or college level.

Of course, a significant amount of research work is needed to qualify as a college professor.

This won’t be a problem if you’re drawn to such a career. As a college professor, teaching is just one of your many responsibilities.

Others include building course curricula, properly evaluating students’ progress, grading, preparing course syllabi, and creating supplemental instructional materials.

What more? As a college professor, you’ll be involved in student mentoring, research presentation, research & publishing, and leading & directing research in specific fields, among others.

iii. Medical Social Worker

A doctorate in social work will prove highly beneficial in pursuing a career in medical social work. With the rising demand for medical social workers, there’s no better time to start than now.

This position involves several responsibilities, including connecting patients and their families with needed resources.

Other roles include educating patients and their families about illnesses and treatment plans and counseling persons in crisis or those experiencing stress.

Medical social workers also conduct psychosocial assessments to determine mental or emotional distress symptoms.

As a patient advocate, you’ll need to ensure that the patient’s wishes are fulfilled.

You’re expected to develop and maintain the social service program while drafting supporting policies.

iv. Mental Health Clinician

You can become a mental health clinician with a doctorate in social work. You’ll work with other mental health professionals to provide problem-focused, time-limited psychotherapy.

Part of the many responsibilities you’ll be taking include individual & group therapy and case management.

Mental health clinicians assist program coordinators in completing monthly chart reviews of clinical documentation, maintaining appropriate clinical records promptly, maintaining and applying knowledge of trends & developments in the field, and completing required documentation for patient visits and telephone encounters.

These are only a few of several responsibilities you’ll be saddled with as a mental health clinician. This can be very rewarding for persons with a substantial interest in the field.

v. Community Program Administrator

A doctorate in social work allows you to be a community program administrator.

Here, such administrators hold or perform a wide range of responsibilities. These include communicating with internal & external stakeholders.

Other responsibilities include overseeing program operations, assisting with the employee or volunteer selection & training, contributing to community outreach efforts, and assisting with program scheduling and conflict resolution. This position can be exciting if you’ve got what it takes.

Your doctorate in social work allows you to fill all the abovementioned positions. These are only a few of many roles you can fill with such qualifications.

All you need to do is explore such opportunities to practice as a full-fledged social worker.