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Social work opportunities and travel



Social work

Social workers are employed in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, schools, senior centers, mental health clinics, private practices, military corporations, elected offices, and public and private agencies. They could be helping individuals who are dealing with a range of problems. These extend from inadequate housing, substance abuse, or unemployment to those who are facing disability or a life-limiting illness. Social workers can also advocate for improved services, conduct research, specialize in a particular setting, or serve a specific group.

While there are many opportunities to take on regular full or part-time roles, there is also a growing market that offers more flexibility. Getting the right qualifications and experience can equip social workers with the tools they need to have the kind of work and life balance they want, whether it be nine to five contracts, in a specific community or clinical setting, remote or freelance.

It can also open up a world of possibilities for travel and flexible working, enabling these professionals to take up a role in another country, work as a visiting speaker or trainer at a conference in another state, or fit their work around other life experiences. Some of the work that can be done flexibly or remotely in the social work industry is explored in this article.

Telehealth and virtual counseling

There has been a sharp rise in the use of technology in all sectors, and within healthcare, it is changing the way professionals connect with their patients. This trend is fueled by a range of factors that include IT and digital innovations, which in turn improve accessibility and convenience for clients. Within social work, there has been a resulting rise in the use of social media, online therapy, and mobile apps that enable social workers to share information with their clients. This technology also allows social workers to provide support to some members of communities that have been previously hard to reach or underserved.

As the demand for mental health support and counseling has risen, the ability of those harder-to-reach clients from underserved sectors to access services is improved by the availability of online counseling and digital support. As this demand and supply changes and evolves, so does the ability of social workers to work remotely, giving them access to clients outside of the area in which they live.

Digital advocacy and social media engagement

Social media is becoming an increasingly effective tool in digital advocacy for social workers, enabling them to reach more people while planning and rallying support for campaigns and community causes. They can use sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to achieve this.

Digital advocacy is a manageable and useful way for social workers to connect to the interests of their clients. It is also an effective way to work with individuals remotely using online tools and learning methods. This enables clients to work through programs at times that suit them, not necessarily when their social workers are available or online.

Freelance work

Freelance work can provide a flexible way for social workers to earn money, whether it be via ad-hoc day-to-day employment, specific projects, or short-term contracts and programs. For example, licensed social workers can work in private practice as counselors, which may allow for more flexible hours on a freelance basis.

There are also opportunities for consulting roles in a wide range of organizations, working on programs such as employee wellness, grant writing, and professional development. Some of these could be done on a freelance or short contract basis, and there will also be opportunities to take on some of these projects on a ‘work from home’ basis. Another avenue trained social workers can explore is freelance work, writing blogs or articles that are related to their field of expertise.


For social workers who have experience in training or have obtained specific qualifications to train others, there is a market for continuing education workshops within workplaces, online training, and webinars, as well as speaking at conferences. This can provide the chance to travel to different areas and countries to work for a range of organizations and employers.

International NGOs and humanitarian work

There is a demand for international social services in many countries, which provide support for a range of needs. The United States government itself spends billions of dollars on foreign aid every year, with the population of the US donating large sums to charities, a lot of which goes to organizations involved in international social work. Non-profit and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) administer aid programs and are mainly staffed with international social workers.

NGOs may have agreements allowing social workers to practice under the license obtained in the US, so it is important to check prospective employers in this field for licensure requirements before proceeding. Information is available for candidates who are interested in working or volunteering internationally from the NASW Foundation.

Getting the qualifications to progress

Social workers must gain the right qualifications to practice and studying for further degrees opens up more opportunities for development, career progression, and a wider range of suitable jobs and positions. More experience and qualifications can provide more flexibility whether it be for freelance, remote, or overseas work.

The online advanced standing MSW program in New York offered by Keuka College is CSWE-accredited, 100% online, and provides field placements in close locations to the students taking the course. The advanced track is designed for those who want to transition from a Bachelor’s in Social Work (BSW) to a Master’s in Social Work (MSW). Click here to learn more about the Keuka College course.

It starts with education

To enjoy the flexibility of a social work role starts with attaining education. The program described above will equip candidates with clinical mental health treatment skills and versatile social work knowledge that can be translated to a range of general positions and leadership roles. Graduates leave the program with the experience necessary to work in a variety of fields such as substance abuse, mental health, addiction, and family and youth services.

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