I want to help those suffering from substance abuse...


glass of scotch next to a spilled bottle of colorful pills

School Social Work Stats

13%
growth overall in social workers from 2019 to 2029
17%
growth of substance abuse social workers from 2019 to 2029
17%
growth of mental health social workers from 2019 to 2029
Reggie Jackson

The De-stigmatization of mental health is increasing. People are more proactive to go to therapy and get counseling. We need more men and people of color doing the work."


Reggie Jackson
2009 MSW

Substance Abuse

Social workers support individuals and their families dealing with chemical dependency by providing a variety of services.

Alcohol, substance abuse and chemical dependency are diseases that affect not only the person suffering from the disease but also the family or people that interact with the person. Social workers support individuals and their families dealing with chemical dependency by providing a variety of services such as counseling, coordinating treatment plans and meeting with patients to make sure they are following these plans. 

In this field, social workers are employed primarily by outpatient treatment programs of hospitals and specialty treatment centers. Social workers in dual diagnosis units work with patients with both mental illness and substance abuse issues. 

Field Practicum site examples:

  • DCCCA, Inc.
  • Heartland Regional Alcohol and Drug Assessment
  • Johnson County Mental Health Center
  • Adolescent Center for Treatment

Mental Health

Mental health social workers may work in inpatient or outpatient settings and help people with mental illnesses deal with problems or issues that they face in their daily lives providing counseling, therapy and support. 

An area of social work that is growing across the country is mental health social work. Mental health social workers may work in inpatient or outpatient settings and help people with mental illnesses deal with problems or issues that they face in their daily lives providing counseling, therapy and support. 

In inpatient settings, the mental health social worker counsels patients who live in a supervised facility. When a person suffering from a mental illness is getting ready to be discharged, the social worker will help them succeed in the community by doing things like, finding a home, a job, the appropriate education to secure a job, and/or community support groups.  

In outpatient settings, mental health social workers work with people with mental illness who are living in their own home. The social worker will help these people with issues they face daily, such as work related issues, personal issues that may be affecting their work responsibilities, relationships, or school work and provide therapy.  

Employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers is projected to grow 17 percent from 2019 to 2029.

Field Practicum site examples:

  • Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center
  • Rainbow Mental Health Facility
  • The Family Conservancy
  • Valeo Behavioral Health Care
  • Counseling and Psychological Services

Private Practice

Private practice would fall under the category of clinical social work and requires a clinical license.

Clinical social work is performed in a variety of settings such as private practice, hospitals, community mental health primary care and agencies and focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, emotional and other behavior disturbances with individuals, families and groups. 

View our licensing webpage for additional information on licensing requirements and testing. 

Field Practicum site examples:

  • No practicum settings available, since practicing as a clinical social worker requires a clinical license that cannot be obtained until a certain set of criteria are met, including but not limited to graduating with your MSW and recording 4000 hours of post-graduate supervised clinical work experience in a clinical setting. 

Child Welfare

Child welfare social workers support children in their community by providing services that keep them with their families or moving them to a permanent home.

Child welfare represents the single largest field in social work careers. Child welfare social workers support children in their community by providing services that keep them with their families or moving them to a permanent home. They offer services for children living in poor living conditions, children with special needs, such as autism, Down syndrome, physical disability, or children suffering from behavioral issues. A child welfare social worker provides various services for families in need, some of these services may include individual, family, marital or group counseling, family life education, case management, and program and organization management.

A Bachelor of Social Work degree prepares students for direct-service positions such as caseworker or mental health assistant.

To see more information regarding child welfare professional positions visit the child welfare section of the "I want to work with children..." webpage.  

Field Practicum site examples:

  • KVC Behavioral Healthcare Network
  • Missouri Division of Family Service
  • Kansas Department for Children and Families
  • TFI Family Services
  • The Child Protection Center

School Social Work

Social workers in schools help to identify and address the social and emotional difficulties that students face that can interfere with their success in school.

School social work is a very popular field. Social workers in schools help to identify and address the social and emotional difficulties that students face that can interfere with their success in school. Besides helping all students with academic issues, school social workers may also help specific students who have social, psychological, emotional or physical difficulties that can impact their performance in school. These may include housing, poverty, sexuality and physical/mental disabilities. School social workers also help parents learn more about the programs and services of the school and community. 

Usually Master of Social Work degrees are required for positions in school settings.  

Field Practicum site examples:

  • KCK School District-Special Education Cooperative
  • Independence School District
  • Lawrence School District
  • Topeka School District

Health

Social workers can be found in numerous health care settings, such as hospitals, home health agencies, hospice programs, school-based clinics, physician offices, rehabilitation hospitals, addiction recovery programs and nursing home facilities. 

Social workers can be found in numerous health care settings. These settings include hospitals, home health agencies, hospice programs, school-based clinics, physician offices, rehabilitation hospitals, addiction recovery programs and nursing home facilities. 

In these settings, you have the opportunity to work with individuals, families and groups. Services include providing discharge planning, patient education and counseling, advising for family care givers, making referrals for other services, finding financial support for payment of services, providing support for those coping with illnesses, crisis intervention, and policy development. 

Usually Master of Social Work degrees are required for positions in health care settings.  

Field Practicum site examples:

  • Children’s Mercy Hospital
  • Crossroads Hospice
  • Kansas City Free Health Clinic

Justice & Victim Services

Social work skills support critical individual and family needs in this arena.

There are numerous job opportunities in this area of social work. Family or juvenile courts, public defenders offices, corrections facilities, victim services, and crisis shelters hire social workers to work in a range of positions. These position could include advocates for victims, counseling with families, supervisors of family visits, children’s program coordinators, program and executive directors for shelters, and deputy juvenile officers. Social work skills support critical individual and family needs in this arena.   

Field Practicum site examples:

  • Jackson County Family Court
  • Lenexa Municipal Court
  • The Willow Domestic Violence Shelter

Disability Services

Rehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, emotional, or social disabilities at various stages in their lives.

Rehabilitation social workers help people with emotional and physical disabilities live independently. They work with clients to overcome or manage the personal, social, and professional effects of disabilities on employment or independent living. Rehabilitation counselors help people with physical, mental, emotional, or social disabilities at various stages in their lives. Some work with students to develop strategies to live with their disability and move from school to work. Others help veterans cope with the mental or physical effects of their military service. Still others help elderly people adapt to disabilities developed later in life from illness or injury. Some rehabilitation counselors deal specifically with employment issues. These counselors, sometimes called vocational rehabilitation counselors, typically work with older students and adults rather than young children. 

Field Practicum site examples:

  • Community Works
  • Kansas City Regional Center
  • Trinity Respite Care

Homeless Services

Social workers have an opportunity to advocate for social change on behalf of the homeless in many agencies.  

Individuals and families who have unstable housing live in a variety of settings, both urban and rural, range in age, face health issues, and find themselves homeless for a variety of reasons that require a wide range of social work services. Many of them may be runaway youth, people with severe mental health needs, veterans, individuals with addiction, and women and children.

Case managers, crisis and intervention workers, and group and individual counselors often are employed by government, and non-profit agencies that provide these services. Social workers have an opportunity to advocate for social change on behalf of the homeless in many agencies.  

Field Practicum site examples:

  • Lawrence Community Shelter
  • Salvation Army
  • Community LINC
  • KCK School District-Homeless Children & Youth

Research

We are a partner who collaboratively uses research to ask and answer tough questions when creating societal changes that improve lives and communities



Recruiter




Field Education Office