EKU Online > Online Social Work Degrees & Certificates > Social Work Career Opportunities

Positively Impact the Lives of Individuals and Families

Social work is a versatile, purpose-driven profession that prepares you to positively impact the lives of individuals and families, as well as the performance of groups and organizations. A degree in social work can open doors to new job opportunities that can strengthen our communities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth and compensation will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services. Relative to a number of factors within a community, the most competitive employers include hospitals, government agencies, and educational institutions based in urban areas.

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Next Steps for Your Future

Whether or not you choose to earn a master’s degree after earning your bachelor’s is highly dependent on your field and career goals. In many fields a master’s degree can increase promotion potential or boost earning power. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median weekly earnings of someone holding a master’s degree in 2021 was $1,574, compared to the average median weekly salary of $1,334 earned by those with a bachelor’s degree. That’s a pay difference of more than 16%.

It’s important to understand that educational requirements and preferences will vary greatly by field and even by organization. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these requirements and preferences to help you stand out from the competition.

Note: Data is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections: Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, 2021

People with a master’s degree

more on average than those with only a bachelor's

Social Work Career Salary Information


Median Annual Salary
9% growth increase thru 2031
Bachelor's typically required for entry-level positions


Median Annual Salary
Updated April 2023
Highest paying cities for Social Workers in Kentucky
Lexington, KY
Covington, KY
Louisville, KY
Bachelor's typically required for entry-level positions

*National job opportunities data is based on national medians and figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook handbook.
*Local job opportunities data is based on estimated base pay and figures from Indeed.com.

Industries Hiring Social Work Graduates

Social workers operate within a wide range of industries and perform a variety of job functions. As a social worker, you can tailor your career to your interests and passions and have the option to reinvent yourself professionally while continuing in your chosen field. Social workers can be found in:
  • Child, Family and School Services
    • Work with families to strengthen parenting skills
    • Prevent child abuse
    • Identify alternative homes for children who are unable to live with their biological families
    • Provide counseling and support services to school age children and teenagers
    • Advocate for student success
  • Medicine
    • Help aging populations and their families
    • Advise family care givers
    • Provide patient education and discharge planning
    • Make referrals for other services
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse
    • Help clients adjust to major lifestyle changes
    • Assist with disaster relief programs
    • Provide substance abuse assessment and referrals
    • Make referrals for social rehabilitation and crisis intervention
  • Criminal Justice System
    • Serve as probation and parole officers
    • Work with juveniles in detention centers
    • Work in an alternative sentencing program
  • Military and Veterans Affairs Agencies
    • Work with active duty military members and their families
    • Work with veterans as they transition from service to civilian life
    • Work in veteran hospitals
  • Administration and Community
    • Raise funds for community projects
    • Write grants to sustain communities
    • Plan and implement community infrastructure projects
    • Assist and advocate for state and federal policies that assist community projects

EKU Social Work Program in the Workforce

Where Have EKU Social Work Graduates Worked?
  • Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • Onefifteen Living via RI International
  • Hope’s Wings Domestic Violence Program
  • Blue Grass Community Action Partnership
  • Wooded Glen Recovery Center
  • Artemis Center
  • CHI Saint Joseph
  • Necco
Social Work Is More Than Just Child Services

Social workers are essential to the success and safety of every community.

Social workers do more than just remove children from unsafe living environments. Those in the profession help clients locate resources, receive therapy, receive benefits, help parents get back on their feet, help people get sober, or even just talk with them when they need advice.

Most communities are seeing an increase in demand for social workers, creating a wealth of opportunities for those who wish to enter this critical profession and positively impact the lives of others.

EKU Online Career Services

Career planning is tough, but with EKU you don’t have to tackle the process alone.

The EKU Office of Academic and Career Services is a one-stop shop for all of your career and professional development needs. We offer a variety of services to current online EKU students and alumni to help you with your career development, decision-making and job search.

Services include:

  • Creating/Updating Your Resume and Cover Letter
  • Interviewing Tips and Coaching
  • Career Documents Review
  • Job Search
  • “I can confidently say that — as someone who doesn’t even live in the United States — EKU’s online program has been extremely accommodating and flexible. I can discuss advising appointments over email, and I can have my textbooks shipped to my address overseas.” – Sydney Garner Lewis
  • “After the birth of our first child, I knew I needed to go back and finish what I started,” said McKenzie. “I was happy that I could pick up where I left off at EKU even though I lived in a different state.” – EKU Online student and mom
  • “I chose EKU because I am a unique student with unique needs, and EKU provides an avenue for students like me to succeed.” – EKU Online Psychology student Jason Tate
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