Social Work

Choosing a Social Work Specialization? The 16 Practice Areas to Consider—And Why.

Choosing a Social Work Specialization? The 16 Practice Areas to Consider—And Why.
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Nedda Gilbert June 17, 2019

Are you a future social worker looking for your calling? Start with NASW's list of the 16 most common social work specializations.

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Social workers improve the lives of a substantial subset of the world’s population. Wherever there is hardship, injustice, and/or suffering — which means pretty much everywhere — social workers help others help themselves.

In aggregate, the problems social workers address are far too vast for any one person (no matter how experienced or well-trained) to understand, much less remedy. That’s why social workers specialize in specific fields: to gain the expertise and develop the skills necessary to be effective for the populations they serve.

Some social work specializations focus on particular demographics, like:

Other social workers specialize in essential functions, like:

The beauty of a Master of Social Work (MSW) program is that, by the time most students complete their degree, they’ve figured out how they want to specialize, and why. But, as an MSW student, the process of coming to that decision can be difficult. Deciding which specialization to pursue is only the first step in the process; finding the best program for your specialization — the one that will help you develop the specific set of skills needed for your chosen career path — is easier said than done.

Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and Master of Social Work programs both impart the evidence-based training and methodologies that will be needed in whichever specialization you decide to pursue. From there, the best resource in understanding what, exactly, those specializations encompass is found with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 16 distinct practice areas of social work.

In comparing the NASW’s 16 social work specializations, note the key difference between social workers and psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals who work with overlapping demographics and issues. Social workers use the “person in environment” approach, a holistic method wherein the physical, social, and mental health of their clients are all used for context to understand how clients engage with the world.

The 16 Types of Social Work Specializations, According to NASW

Administration and management

As the name suggests, administration and management social workers hold managerial and administrative roles in a variety of organizations, not just in social work enterprises. Social work managers and administrators utilize business and administration skills to empower employees and engage in decision-making. A differentiator for this group of leaders: they ensure the organization stays true to its values and mission.

Social workers in administration and management work in both public and private settings, servicing individual clients and groups including hospitals, community-based agencies, and healthcare facilities. Social workers with this specialization may hold high-level leadership positions at organizations like the United Way, the American Red Cross, and other national nonprofits and foundations. These high-skill, high-responsibility managers earn some of the best salaries in social work.

Common jobs for administration and management social workers

  • Director of Social Services: Oversees the delivery of social services, manages staff, develops policies and procedures, and ensures compliance with regulations.
  • Executive Director: Leads the organization, sets strategic direction, oversees all operations, manages budgets, and represents the organization to stakeholders.
  • Outpatient Manager: Manages outpatient services, coordinates care, supervises staff, ensures quality service delivery, and addresses patient concerns.
  • President: Provides overall leadership, sets organizational goals, oversees executive staff, and represents the organization at the highest level.
  • Program Director: Develops and manages specific programs, sets program goals, oversees implementation, monitors performance, and ensures alignment with organizational objectives.
  • Program Supervisor: Supervises program staff, coordinates activities, provides support and guidance, ensures adherence to program goals, and monitors progress.
  • Social Services Manager: Manages social services programs, supervises staff, develops policies, ensures service quality, and oversees case management.
  • Vice President: Assists the president in leading the organization, oversees specific departments or functions, develops strategies, and represents the organization as needed.

Advocacy and community organization

If you’re ready to change the world and right society’s wrongs, eager to enter the fray as an advocate, and not especially interested in one-on-one client work, advocacy and community organization social work may be the practice area for you. Also known as “mezzo practice” because it deals with more with small-to-midsize groups (e.g. schools, organizations, neighborhoods) than with individuals, advocacy and community organization focuses on galvanizing groups for a common cause in the name of social justice. These social workers may also be involved in fundraising and grant writing; they often work for private foundations, nonprofits, and grassroots initiatives.

Common jobs for advocacy and community organization social work

  • Community Organizer: Mobilizes community members, builds relationships, coordinates community events, and advocates for social change and policy reforms.
  • Community Outreach Worker: Engages with community members, provides information and resources, facilitates access to services, and builds trust within the community.
  • Community Support Specialist: Offers support and resources to individuals and families, connects them with social services, and helps address their needs and challenges.
  • Fundraiser: Develops and implements fundraising strategies, organizes events, builds donor relationships, and secures financial support for community programs.
  • Grant Writer: Researches funding opportunities, writes grant proposals, and manages grant applications to secure funding for community projects and programs.
  • Policy Planning Specialist: Analyzes social policies, advocates for policy changes, conducts research, and develops plans to address community needs and improve services.
  • Program Developer: Designs and implements community programs, assesses community needs, collaborates with stakeholders, and ensures program effectiveness.
  • Public Health Manager: Oversees public health programs, coordinates with healthcare providers, develops health initiatives, and works to improve community health outcomes.
  • Research Analyst: Conducts research on social issues, analyzes data, produces reports, and provides insights to inform community programs and advocacy efforts.


According to the U. S. Census Bureau, by 2030, one in every five Americans will be age 65 or over and, by 2035, there will be more people aged 65 and older than people who are under the age of 18. Aging is an in-demand social work practice promising ample opportunity and a healthy job market.

Social workers serving this population work in acute care facilities; private and public hospitals; rehab centers; outpatient programs for specific populations like Alzheimer or dementia patients; nursing homes; age-restricted, independent and assisted-living facilities; home-care services; and memory-care centers. They provide clinical counseling and assessments for mental health and overall well-being in addition to improving the physical, social, and financial tasks of daily life—like eating well and receiving appropriate medical attention. They engage in long-term care planning and work with adult children to lessen the burden of care.

Common job for social workers specializing in aging

  • Geriatric Social Worker: Provides support and services to older adults and their families, helps navigate aging-related issues, coordinates care, and connects clients with resources and services.
  • Gerontology Social Worker: Provides support and services to older adults and their families, helps navigate aging-related issues, coordinates care, and connects clients with resources and services.
  • Health Care Social Worker: Works in healthcare settings to assist elderly patients with discharge planning, access to medical services, and coping with illness and hospitalization.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): Provides mental health services to older adults, including therapy and counseling, to address emotional and psychological issues related to aging.
  • Medical Care Social Worker: Collaborates with healthcare teams to support elderly patients, helps manage chronic conditions, assists with medical decision-making, and provides emotional support to patients and families.

Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

Helping individuals recover from substance use disorders is the mainstay of this critical practice area, which employs the disease-based model in planning and implementing interventions. Substance abuse social workers provide counseling and group therapy to people struggling with substance abuse disorders, as well as to their families. Into recovery, social workers help others navigate community resources and secure housing and employment.

Common jobs for social workers specializing in alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

  • Substance Abuse Specialist: Provides counseling and support to individuals struggling with substance abuse, develops treatment plans, conducts assessments, and facilitates group therapy sessions.
  • Licensed Mental Health Social Worker: Offers mental health services to individuals dealing with substance abuse issues, provides therapy and counseling, and helps clients develop coping strategies and recovery plans.
  • Substance Abuse Social Worker: Works with clients to address substance abuse problems, connects them with treatment programs and resources, advocates for their needs, and supports them through recovery and rehabilitation.

Child welfare

Child and youth social workers protect our most vulnerable population, helping families find and develop the resources and tools necessary to raise children in safe and loving environments. When children are abused or neglected, social workers intervene, sometimes placing them in foster homes if safety cannot be ensured at home. Social workers in the child welfare system ensure access to adequate food, housing, schooling, and medical care.

Common jobs in child welfare social work

  • Adolescent Specialist: Works with teenagers to address their unique needs, provides counseling, supports their development, and helps them navigate challenges.
  • Case Manager: Coordinates services for children and families, develops case plans, monitors progress, and ensures access to necessary resources and support.
  • Case Worker: Assists children and families in need, conducts assessments, provides direct services, and helps clients navigate social service systems.
  • Child Advocate: Represents and defends the rights and interests of children, ensures their voices are heard, and works to secure necessary services and protections.
  • Children’s Service Specialist: Focuses on providing specialized services to children, such as education, health, and social support, to improve their well-being.
  • Children’s Service Worker: Works directly with children in various settings, provides support and resources, and helps them achieve stability and safety.
  • Child Welfare Social Worker: Protects children from abuse and neglect, conducts investigations, provides support to families, and works to ensure safe and stable living conditions.
  • Family Advocacy Representative: Supports families in navigating social services, advocates for their needs, and helps resolve issues impacting their well-being.
  • Family Intervention Specialist: Provides crisis intervention and support to families in distress, helps resolve conflicts, and connects them with resources to improve family dynamics.
  • Forensic Case Monitor: Works within the legal system to monitor cases involving children, ensures compliance with court orders, and advocates for the best interests of the child.
  • Foster Care Specialist: Manages foster care placements, supports foster families, ensures the well-being of foster children, and facilitates reunification or adoption processes.
  • Foster Care Therapist: Provides therapeutic services to children in foster care, addresses emotional and psychological needs, and supports their adjustment and development.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Offers mental health services, including therapy and counseling, to children and families, addressing issues such as trauma, abuse, and behavioral challenges.
  • Victim Advocate: Supports children who have been victims of abuse or neglect, provides emotional support, helps them access resources, and advocates for their rights and needs.
  • Youth and Family Specialist: Works with young people and their families to address behavioral, social, and emotional issues, provides counseling, and connects them with community resources.

Developmental disabilities

The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 defines a developmental disability as a severe, chronic disability that:

  • Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments
  • Manifests before age 22
  • Is likely to continue indefinitely
  • Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more areas of major life activity

The law provides the basis for developmental disabilities social work, dictating the conditions that must be met and the accommodations that must be provided to this protected population. Developmental disability social workers are, above all, advocates. They help parents of children with developmental disabilities understand their rights, protections, and the aid that’s available to their families.

Common jobs for developmental disability social work

  • Disability Social Worker: Provides support and resources to individuals with developmental disabilities, advocates for their rights, assists with accessing services, and helps improve their quality of life.
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): Offers mental health services, including therapy and counseling, to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, addressing emotional and psychological needs.
  • School Social Worker: Supports students with developmental disabilities within the school setting, collaborates with educators and parents, develops individualized education plans (IEPs), and provides counseling and resources to promote academic and social success.


A broad category of social work that provides direct services to individuals, families, and groups in various hospital and medical settings, healthcare is a practice area for many social workers.

In hospital settings, healthcare social workers collaborate with medical teams to treat patients, provide psycho-social assessments and support, and work with family members. Discharge planning, which requires a unique skill set, typically falls to such social workers.

Healthcare social workers may work in specialized units like hospice and palliative care, neonatal care, transplant, or the emergency room, or they may practice as generalists. They can also find employment opportunities in academic, administrative, or policy-driven areas of healthcare (research, program development, and policy).

Common jobs for healthcare social workers

  • Clinical Social Worker: Provides mental health services, including therapy and counseling, to patients dealing with emotional and psychological issues related to health and illness.
  • Counselor: Offers therapeutic support to patients, helping them cope with health-related challenges, emotional stress, and life changes.
  • HIV Mental Health Coordinator or Counselor: Provides specialized counseling and support to individuals living with HIV, addressing mental health needs, stigma, and treatment adherence.
  • Medical Social Worker: Assists patients and families in navigating the healthcare system, coordinates care, provides emotional support, and connects them with community resources.
  • Outpatient Health Specialist: Supports patients receiving outpatient care, ensures continuity of care, provides counseling, and helps manage chronic conditions.
  • Patient Advocate: Represents and supports patients’ rights and interests within the healthcare system, helps resolve issues, and ensures they receive appropriate care and services.
  • Patient Navigator: Guides patients through the healthcare system, helps them understand their diagnoses and treatment options, and coordinates care across different services.
  • Pediatric Social Worker: Works with children and their families in healthcare settings, provides emotional support, addresses social and developmental needs, and connects them with resources.
  • Policy Analyst: Researches and analyzes healthcare policies, advocates for changes to improve patient care and access, and provides insights to healthcare organizations and policymakers.
  • Psychiatric Social Worker: Provides mental health services to patients with psychiatric disorders, offers therapy and support, and collaborates with healthcare providers to develop treatment plans.
  • Researcher: Conducts studies on healthcare-related social issues, evaluates the effectiveness of interventions, and contributes to the development of evidence-based practices in social work.

International social work

International social work is a growing, high-need area, from immigration to refugee camps, hospitals, orphanages, schools and international health and community organizations. International social workers help refugees assimilate to new communities, and foster self-sufficiency. As identified by The Council for Social Work Education, the primary goal of international social work is “individual empowerment, group empowerment, conflict resolution, institution-building, community-building, nation-building, region-building, and world-building.”

Common jobs for international social workers

  • Community Outreach Social Worker: Engages with communities to provide resources and support, fosters relationships, raises awareness about social issues, and connects individuals with services.
  • Community Social Worker: Works within local communities to address social issues, provides direct services, organizes community programs, and advocates for social change and development.
  • Equality and Social Justice Social Worker: Advocates for human rights and social justice, works to eliminate discrimination and inequality, and develops programs to promote inclusivity and equity.
  • Immigration Social Worker: Supports immigrants and refugees, helps them navigate legal and social systems, provides resources and counseling, and advocates for their rights and well-being.
  • International Social Worker: Works across borders to address global social issues, provides humanitarian aid, develops international programs, and collaborates with organizations to improve social conditions worldwide.
  • Mental Health Social Worker: Provides mental health services, including counseling and therapy, to individuals affected by social issues, trauma, and displacement, focusing on improving their psychological well-being.

Justice and corrections

Justice and correctional social work — also known as criminal justice social work — is an exciting area for those interested in law enforcement but not in practicing law or policing communities. Social workers in this area play a vital role in the corrections and legal system, advocating for those accused of crimes, supporting the incarcerated, and supporting family members impacted by imprisonment. These social workers may also work as victims’ advocates in cases of sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence.

Social workers working in justice and corrections are employed in the public defender’s office; federal, state and city parole agencies; probation; legal aid; the court system, including drug court and mental health court; state and federal correctional facilities; city and county jails; sexual assault and rape crisis centers; women shelters; police departments; and nonprofits serving low-income sex-offenders.

Common jobs in justice and corrections social work

  • Adult Probation Counselor: Supervises and supports adults on probation, helps them comply with court orders, provides counseling, and assists with rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
  • Case Manager: Coordinates services for individuals within the criminal justice system, develops case plans, monitors progress, and connects clients with resources and support.
  • Corrections Counselor/Social Worker: Works with inmates in correctional facilities, provides counseling and rehabilitation services, and develops programs to support reentry into the community.
  • Criminal Justice and Probation Social Worker: Supports individuals on probation, helps them navigate the justice system, provides counseling, and develops plans to reduce recidivism.
  • Criminal Justice Social Worker: Assists individuals involved in the criminal justice system, provides support and advocacy, addresses underlying issues such as substance abuse or mental health, and works towards their rehabilitation.
  • Crisis/Criminal Justice Therapist: Provides mental health services to individuals in crisis within the criminal justice system, offers therapy, and helps clients manage stress and trauma.
  • Crisis Worker: Responds to immediate crises involving individuals in the justice system, provides support and intervention, and connects clients with necessary services.
  • Forensic Social Worker: Works at the intersection of social work and the legal system, provides expert testimony, conducts assessments, and supports clients involved in legal proceedings.
  • Juvenile Probation Counselor: Supervises and supports juveniles on probation, provides counseling, helps them comply with court orders, and assists with their rehabilitation and reintegration.
  • Victims Advocate: Supports victims of crime, provides emotional support, helps them navigate the legal system, ensures their rights are upheld, and connects them with resources and services.

Mental health and clinical social work

When aspiring social workers think of earning their Master of Social Work degree, clinical social work is what usually comes to mind. The pathway to becoming a licensed mental health counselor and therapist, clinical social workers are one of the largest providers of mental health services in the United States, according to the NASW. Clinical social workers are often the only mental health clinicians providing service in underrepresented low-income areas (both rural and urban).

Common jobs in mental health and clinical social work

  • Behavioral Health Consultant: Provides expert advice and support on behavioral health issues, collaborates with healthcare providers, develops treatment plans, and helps integrate behavioral health services into primary care.
  • Behavioral Health Counselor: Offers counseling and therapeutic services to individuals with behavioral health issues, including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, to help them manage and improve their mental health.
  • Clinical Director: Oversees clinical operations within a mental health facility or program, supervises clinical staff, ensures compliance with regulations, and develops and implements clinical policies and procedures.
  • Family Therapist: Works with families to address and resolve relationship issues, provides therapy to improve communication and dynamics, and supports families in managing mental health challenges.
  • Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW): Provides mental health services, including individual, group, and family therapy, conducts assessments, develops treatment plans, and offers support for a wide range of psychological issues.
  • Mental Health and Clinical: Engages in providing comprehensive mental health services, including diagnosis, therapy, crisis intervention, and treatment planning, to individuals with various mental health needs.
  • Mental Health Counselor/Therapist: Provides therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and groups, helps clients manage mental health conditions, and supports them in achieving emotional well-being and personal growth.
  • Mental Health Social Worker: Works with individuals experiencing mental health issues, provides counseling, connects them with resources, and supports them in navigating the healthcare system and improving their mental health.
  • Mental Health Specialist: Focuses on diagnosing and treating mental health disorders, develops and implements treatment plans, provides therapy, and works with other healthcare providers to ensure comprehensive care.

Occupational and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) social work

The Americans with Disabilities Act — which updated section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and reclassified mental health and substance abuse disorders as disabilities — provide corporate America with a structured remedy to accommodate employees covered by this statute. Under this regulation, an employee with a disability may not be terminated for their condition; in fact, the law entitles that employee to treatment and intervention. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) assess covered employees, refer them to treatment resources, and monitor their care and return to the workplace.

EAP social work is deeply entrenched in corporate America. Social workers in this practice area help employees with a broad range of personal, family, and health problems. They may also be involved in supporting union members and providing counseling.

Common EAP jobs

  • EAP Case Manager: Coordinates and manages cases for employees seeking assistance, assesses their needs, develops personalized plans, and connects them with appropriate resources and services.
  • EAP Consultant: Provides expert advice to organizations on developing and managing Employee Assistance Programs, helps address workplace issues, and supports employee well-being and productivity.
  • EAP Counselor: Offers counseling services to employees dealing with personal or work-related issues, including stress, substance abuse, and mental health concerns, and helps them develop coping strategies.
  • EAP Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Provides clinical mental health services within the EAP framework, including therapy and counseling, to employees facing emotional and psychological challenges.
  • EAP Managerial Consultant: Advises and trains managers and supervisors on handling employee issues, promoting a healthy work environment, and effectively utilizing EAP services to support their teams.
  • EAP Social Worker Therapist: Delivers therapeutic services to employees, addressing a range of personal and work-related issues, and supports their overall mental health and well-being.

Policy and planning

Not all social workers are cut out for direct service work. Many social workers are highly analytical and interested in public policy and planning and are best suited for think-tank work on social welfare initiatives. Social workers in this exciting area of work may also galvanize others in the profession to promote new thinking and policy.

Common social work jobs in policy and planning

  • Budget Analyst: Evaluates and analyzes budget proposals and financial plans for social programs, ensures efficient allocation of resources, and provides recommendations to optimize funding and spending.
  • Director of Government Relations: Manages relationships with government officials and agencies, advocates for policies and legislation that support social work initiatives, and represents the organization’s interests at the governmental level.
  • Planning Specialist: Develops and implements plans for social programs and services, conducts needs assessments, coordinates with stakeholders, and ensures alignment with organizational and community goals.
  • Public Affairs Specialist: Manages communication strategies and public relations efforts, informs the public about social issues and programs, and advocates for policy changes to benefit the community.
  • Public Health Manager: Oversees public health programs and initiatives, coordinates with healthcare providers and community organizations, develops health policies, and works to improve community health outcomes.
  • Research Analyst: Conducts research on social issues, evaluates the effectiveness of policies and programs, analyzes data, and provides insights and recommendations to inform policy decisions and improve social services.


As activists, social workers are natural born leaders. Whether the progression to politics is intentional or a natural consequence of becoming engaged in an important social and legislative issue, increasingly social workers seek public office and hold positions at the local level, and state and federal offices as well.

Common jobs for political social workers

  • Campaign Manager: Oversees and manages political campaigns, develops strategies, coordinates staff and volunteers, manages budgets and fundraising, and works to ensure the success of the candidate or issue being promoted.
  • Elected Official: Serves in a governmental position, represents constituents, creates and enacts policies and legislation, advocates for social justice issues, and works to improve community well-being and address social problems.

Public welfare

Social workers in public welfare service the myriad organizations that provide services to many populations. Their roles in these settings can range from planning and administration to finance to training and managing staff. Many of these positions are found in city and state agencies where social workers must perform under limited resources and parameters.

Common jobs for public welfare social workers

  • Case Manager: Coordinates services and resources for individuals and families in need, develops case plans, monitors progress, and provides ongoing support to help clients achieve stability and self-sufficiency.
  • Caseworker: Assesses clients’ needs, provides direct services, helps clients access social services, and works with them to address issues such as housing, employment, and healthcare.
  • Human Services Worker: Provides support and assistance to individuals and families facing various social challenges, connects them with community resources, and helps them navigate social service systems.
  • Licensed Social Worker: Provides professional social work services, including assessments, counseling, and case management, to individuals and families, ensuring they receive appropriate care and support.
  • Social Services Worker: Works within social service agencies to assist clients in accessing benefits and services, advocates for their needs, and supports them in improving their overall well-being.


Social work is a highly professionalized, evidence- and research-based field. Research drives social work and ensures the legitimacy of its most important standards, measurements, tools, and practices. For those most comfortable in academic settings, a career in social work research can be a great choice.

Common research-based social work jobs

  • Research Social Worker: Conducts studies on social issues, evaluates programs and interventions, collects and analyzes data, and translates findings into practice and policy recommendations to improve social services.
  • Research Analyst: Analyzes data related to social work research projects, interprets statistical results, prepares reports, and provides insights to inform evidence-based practices and policy decisions.

School social work

School social workers typically work as guidance counselors or therapeutic counselors in a school setting, serving as liaisons for students, teachers, and parents. They ensure that the emotional, developmental, and educational needs of students — including those who need accommodations for physical and learning disabilities — are met. Increasingly, school social workers in crisis management, facilitating responses to events such as school violence and shootings. They also play a key role in the development of compassionate and tolerant school cultures and the prevention of bullying.

Common jobs for school social workers

  • Education Specialist: Works within schools to develop and implement educational programs, supports students with learning difficulties, and provides resources to improve academic achievement.
  • Guidance Counselor: Provides academic, career, and personal guidance to students, helps them develop educational plans, and supports their overall well-being and development.
  • School Counselor: Assists students with academic, social, and emotional challenges, offers counseling services, and works with parents and teachers to support students’ success.
  • School Crisis Counselor: Responds to emergencies and traumatic events within the school, provides immediate support and counseling to affected students and staff, and helps develop crisis management plans.
  • School Therapist: Provides mental health services to students, including individual and group therapy, addresses emotional and behavioral issues, and collaborates with school staff to create a supportive environment.

For current and aspiring social workers, NASW’s Specialty Practice Section (SPS) is a resource to help like-minded social workers build community and learn from each other (the NASW membership fee for BSW and MSW students is $57 per year). Post-grads of licensed social work programs are also eligible to pursue professional certifications that, even if not required by your future employer, confer high value to your overall employability.

(Last Updated on May 17, 2024)

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About the Author

Ms. Nedda Gilbert is a seasoned clinical social worker, author, and educational consultant with 25 years of experience helping college-bound and graduate students find their ideal schools. She is a prolific author, including The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and Essays that Made a Difference. Ms. Gilbert has been a guest writer for Forbes and a sought-after keynote speaker on college admissions. Previously, she played a crucial role at the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company and was Chairman of the Board of Graduate Philadelphia. Ms. Gilbert holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University and is a certified interdisciplinary collaborative family law professional in New Jersey.

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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