subfields of social work

Subfields Of Social Work: Roles Of Different Types Of Social Workers

Not only does social work allow you to support your community, but it is also a gratifying career. The praises and appreciation of social workers outweigh those of any other profession. Social workers provide support to people going through a tough time or changes in their lives. They also help and consult individuals with serious illnesses such as mental disorders, clinical depression, and abuse.

However, social work does not come without its challenges. Because it’s such a broad field, it can be easy to choose your area of expertise and then get the right qualification for it. Each kind of social work will have its own professional and educational requirements. Many types of social work also require a license, which is usually granted by higher authorities. For example, social workers in the health field have to get licensed by their country’s regulatory board before starting work.

Social work gets further categorized into several distinct groups—mental health and substance abuse, healthcare, child, family, school, and others.

Social workers are working under mental health fieldwork with patients suffering from substance addiction and mental disorders. Those working in healthcare overlook patients with new treatments and medication. The third type of professionals prevent child abuse, work closely with parents, and help abandoned children find foster homes.

The rest of social work is hard to categorize. They get spread across multiple settings ranging from more simple like community helper to more complex occupations like forensic social work and criminal social work.

Since there are plenty of social work options to choose from, it is essential that you first fully understand what each type of social work is and what it requires. Below, we have explained a few different subfields of social work.

1. Community Social Work

Social workers in this field organize and manage different community events and programs. They overlook the budgeting, funding, and resource allocation of such events by either working with governmental agencies or grassroots organizations. A bachelor’s degree would usually be sufficient for such a profession. Still, a master’s degree is likely to give you more exposure.

2. School Social Work

It is the most common form of social work. These workers help and assist children with any help they might need, whether related to academics or social life. Their job also includes examining which areas are the students lack behind in and what could be the reason. These usually include peer pressure, poor academic performance, behavioral issues, and drug abuse.

Sometimes these social workers also conduct home visits, give consultation, and treatment advice to young students.

3. Psychiatric Social Work

It is a more demanding profession in which you will have a more significant number of responsibilities. Psychiatric social workers work at clinics, hospitals, and private practices to provide psychosocial assessments, psychotherapy, and rehabilitation guidance.

They also manage every patients’ files and records and come up with care plans for them. They also get a chance to collaborate, learn and work with some of the world’s top psychotherapists and experts.

A license and a minimum master’s in social work are needed to become a psychiatric social worker.

4. Forensic Social Work

It is the kind of social work where all your crime TV drama dreams come true. You get to work with cops, criminals, and the justice system. However, it’s not as fun or as simple as it may sound or look on screen. It is a very complex occupation and requires your extra carefulness and attention. A forensic social worker usually diagnoses and treats criminals and juveniles and screens, evaluates, and trains personnel in the legal system.

Again, an official license and a high degree qualification are required to qualify as a forensic social worker.

5. Healthcare Social Work

Healthcare social workers have to help, guide, advice and educate people about different health facilities and services. They are also assigned the task of explaining people different treatment options and medications thoroughly. They plan and organize several campaigns to promote healthcare awareness among the general public, especially in underprivileged areas. They also closely work with different NGOs and organizations to help and support patients with financial needs.

6. Child and Family Social Work

Counselling, guiding, and advising a family facing challenges, financial concerns, and difficult times is usually the work of a family social worker. Not only this, but they also help out abused children and abandoned children by either finding them a foster home or a reliable facility where they can stay.

Couples looking to adopt a child also often take a child and family social worker’s help with the adoption process. They guide reliable adoption agencies and help with all the legal paperwork.


Social workers are vital members of our society. Their work carries immense value and also earns them a tremendous amount of respect. Caring and looking after others is perhaps the best kind of contribution one can provide.

You must acquire the relevant knowledge and skills about the field you want to specialize in, and the best way to do this is to get a degree in social work. You will learn a lot about each field in detail, which can simplify your specialization decision as well.

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