In 2012, there were about 607,300 social worker jobs. By 2022, employment of social workers is predicted to increase by 19%, which is faster than the average for all other occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growing elderly population and the aging baby boom generation will create greater demand for health and social services, resulting in rapid job growth among gerontological social workers. Demand for school social workers is expected to increase as is mental health and substance abuse social workers, with anticipated growth of almost 23%.
Job prospects are especially encouraging for military social workers. A 2007 report by the American Psychological Association found a severe shortage of social workers and other mental health professionals equipped to treat armed forces members, veterans and military families. In addition, opportunities will be particularly abundant in rural areas where there are fewer social work training programs, and it is more difficult to attract and retain qualified social workers.
Below is a snapshot of the current (2014) social worker jobs and projected demand for social workers taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Occupational Title||SOC Code||Employment, 2014||Projected Employment, 2024||Change, 2014-24 (Percent)||Change, 2014-24 (Numeric)||Employment by Industry|
|Child, family, and school social workers||21-1021||305,200||324,200||6||19,000||[XLSX]|
|Healthcare social workers||21-1022||160,100||191,000||19||30,900||[XLSX]|
|Mental health and substance abuse social workers||21-1023||117,800||140,000||19||22,300||[XLSX]|
|Social workers, all other||21-1029||66,400||68,900||4||2,500||[XLSX]|
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program