Working in social care is an admirable while fulfilling career. Yet, in many ways, not two social worker jobs are the same. The differences can be small, but how to handle each encounter has to be evaluated on a case by case basis. In this article we will look at some of the bigger differences within social work, by looking at different specialisations within social care. Hopefully, if you are considering social care as a career this will show some of the variation possible within that.

Substance abuse social worker:

In this role you would most likely be based within a hospital or rehabilitation facilities. You are there to help those with a wide range of mental health problems that can arise from substance misuse. It is important to note that a substance abuse social worker has to simultaneously find both short and long term solutions while working with their client.

Community social worker:

Being based in a specific geographically based area, this social work role is to help bring that feeling of a community to the forefront of this area. This could involve working with community-based charities to help organise events. Or you could be working with the more vulnerable members of a community, and making sure they feel equally part of it.

Palliative care social worker:

Finding out you’re terminally ill, or being a family member and finding out this is the case for a loved one, is devastating. A palliative care social worker helps both the terminally ill and their respective family to feel as comfortable and at ease as possible, with something that there is no simple solution for. This is a highly challenging area of social work, with a lot of resilience, empathy and patience needed if you are going to succeed in this area.

Child social worker:

In this role you can find yourself in all sorts of situations that involve children. This could be helping a child through trauma, dealing with specific mental illnesses or physical disabilities. It can also be helping parents with certain situations, or through the transition period when there is a new primary care giver. You may also find yourself working in schools, helping overcome obstacles that interfere with learning.

This is by no means a complete list. If you don’t see something that seems the right fit for you, carry on exploring what other roles there are in social work. More importantly, try and work out why those areas of social work stimulate your interest over others. As this can help define key characteristics of social work that appeals to you.