Social workers held about 649,300 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most social workers were as follows:
State and local government, excluding education and hospitals
Individual and family services
Ambulatory healthcare services
Hospitals; state, local, and private
Nursing and residential care facilities
They work in the following settings:
Hospitals, primary care settings, and clinics, including veterans clinics
Senior centers and long-term care facilities
Settlement houses and community centers
Mental health clinics
State and local governments
Schools, colleges, and universities
Substance abuse clinics
Military bases and hospitals
Child welfare agencies
Employee assistance programs
Although most social workers work in an office, they may spend time visiting clients. School social workers may be assigned to multiple schools and travel around the school district to see students. Understaffing and large caseloads may cause the work to be stressful.
Social workers may work remotely through distance counseling, using videoconferencing or mobile technology to meet with clients and organize support and advocacy groups. Distance counseling can be effective for clients with paranoia or social anxiety and for clients who live in rural areas.
Social workers generally work full time. They sometimes work evenings, weekends, and holidays to see clients or attend meetings.