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Now is a great time to consider a Social Work career!


Are you considering a career in the diverse and in-demand field of social work? Now is a great time!

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, although employment growth will vary by specialization. That’s due, in part, to an increased focus on providing drug offenders with treatment services instead of sentencing them to prison.

Social workers are compassionate, caring people, who use their strong communication, interpersonal, organizational, and problem-solving skills to help individuals and families solve and cope with challenges in their everyday lives. Clinical social workers (CSW) or licensed clinical social workers (LCSW) also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.

According the BLS, the median pay for social workers in 2020 was $51,760, or $24.88 an hour. Payscale lists the median pay for LCSWs at $58,437; medical social workers at $56,906; clinical supervisor at $59,333; social service director at $66,017; and executive directors at $81,250. However, salaries vary by employer, location, and other factors.

While all social work jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, many—including CSWs, LCSWs, and supervisory and leadership positions—require a master’s degree to enter the occupation, and some require a state-issued license or certification. So having a master’s degree will put you in the best position to launch and advance your career.

Why choose the University of Illinois?

The University of Illinois’ School of Social Work offers the iMSW online program, the traditional MSW campus-based program, and a hybrid-online program.

Students can choose one of two concentrations:

  • The Advanced Clinical Concentration focuses on learning advanced direct practice skills to work in a wide variety of clinical environments. Students can choose one of four focus areas to tailor their coursework: mental health; health care; schools; and children, youth and family services. Job titles include counselor, therapist, case manager, discharge planner, linkage and referral advocate, adoption specialist, and community liaison, among others.

  • The Leadership & Social Change Concentration (LSC) focuses on learning the latest skills on engaging in macro practice, system and social impact, program evaluation, and advocacy. Students are natural large-scale thinkers and innovators. They complete work that matches their interests, talent, and skills within the broader scope of the profession. And their unique training sets them apart to be social work innovators in non-profits, for-profits, and government. Job titles include policy advocate, program director, executive director, political strategist, higher education administrator, public service leader, strategic planner, interventionist, and consultant, among others.

The School of Social Work is one of the longest-serving programs in the country. It’s currently ranked the #22 on the best schools for social work list by U.S. News & World Report.

Alumni work as licensed clinical social workers, case managers, program coordinators, licensed therapists, residential counselors, clinicians, direct support professionals, board certified behavior analysts, substance abuse counselors, mental health therapists, program coordinators, program directors, chaplains, in educational, government, medical, social service, and industry settings.

Furthermore, the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana is one of the top-ranked research universities in the world and a pioneer and leader in online education. The university is also ranked by Open Doors as first among public universities in number of international students.

Illinois boasts 29 Pulitzer Prize and 24 Nobel Prize winners among its alumni. And the University Library is one of the largest public university collections in the world with 14 million volumes in its 20-plus unit libraries.

Learn more about the Master of Social Work at Illinois.