Careers in Social Work 2014

April 9, 2014 / By: Cindy Lorah
Careers in Social Work 2014 slide

We’ve all heard that social work is one of the fastest-growing professions. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that social work employment will increase by 19% over the next decade. Employment of healthcare social workers is projected to be especially strong, with anticipated growth of 27% from 2012 to 2022, fueled largely by our aging population and healthcare reform initiatives. These trends were readily apparent during the Careers in Social Work 2014 discussion, as we asked our panel of BSW and MSW alumni to discuss their careers and the trends and opportunities they’re seeing in their own areas of practice.

Here are a few excerpts from our panelists' comments:


Kate Berg, BSW, LSW, Anoka County contracted case manager - Developmental Disability Unit

“I love the macro setting and the policy piece of my work. There’s tremendous energy around trying to figure out what we need to do on a broader scale to make sure everyone is supported.”

“A lot of care coordinators and social workers are being hired to manage healthcare needs. Healthcare and medical assistance programs are areas of opportunity for undergraduate social workers.”


Tim Eiesland, MSW, LICSW, senior program manager, Catholic Charities

“Within the clinical realm, healthcare reform will continue to create a lot of opportunities, especially moving into integrated care models, working in interdisciplinary teams, and  training support specialists.

Our war is ending, so we need more clinicians working with PTSD. The “silver tsunami” is coming, so there will be more support issues for people as they age. We’re seeing a lot of attention around anti-poverty initiatives and increased crisis services. Minnesota has put a lot of money into school-based services. Of those who have serious, persistent mental  illness, many are in jails. There is a lot of work to be done.” 


Elizabeth Nordland, BSW, LSW, special projects coordinator, office of Gov. Dayton

“Watching people realize that they have the power to make legislation happen is exciting and energizing.”

“I see opportunities for social workers as community organizing and electoral politics meld together. We want people to vote a certain way, change their hearts and minds, and to  have effective conversations. Social workers have a lot to bring to this area because we’re very relational.”


Tanya Rand, MSW, LICSW, clinical social worker, Bethesda Hospital Outpatient Services, HealthEast

“Where I work, there are social workers in every department and at every level: management, maternity care, outpatient services, acute care, home care, hospice, and more.”

“With ACO’s (Accountable Care Organizations) and Medical Homes, more social workers will be in primary care clinics to promote healthy communities and prevent hospital  admissions – which will save the health care systems a lot of money. I’m incredibly excited about social work within the health care setting.” 

Sarah Ferguson  

Sarah Ferguson, BSW Program Director and the panel’s moderator, identified a recurring theme from the speakers, “Clearly, current legislation impacts social workers’ jobs, their  practices, and their clients. Advocacy and an understanding of policy is important whether you’re practicing at the micro, mezzo, or macro level.”