Job Outlook for Social Workers

The 2015-16 Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that overall employment of social workers will increase by 12% from 2014 to 2024, adding almost 75,000 new social work jobs. This is faster growth than the 7% increase in total employment anticipated by the report. Some social work specialties are projected to grow even faster. According to BLS predictions, employment of healthcare social workers and mental health and substance abuse social workers will each grow 19% in the same time period (+30,900 jobs and +22,300 jobs respectively).

Projected New Social Work Jobs by 2024

The OOH notes that one factor behind the expected increase in demand for mental health and substance abuse social workers is a shift in policy toward sending drug offenders to treatment programs staffed by social workers instead of sending them to jail.