Part-Time Jobs for Social Workers: Where, When, and How to Find ‘Em

Part-Time Jobs for Social Workers: Where, When, and How to Find ‘Em
Part-time and shift/weekend social work is critical to providing adequate staffing for the many social work services that operate 24/7. Image from Unsplash
Nedda Gilbert profile
Nedda Gilbert November 12, 2019

You don't have to work full-time to contribute to the world through your social work practice. Social work offers many opportunities for shift work and other part-time positions. This guide explains how to find those jobs.

Article continues here

This website may earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a product link in this article

The world of social work offers numerous opportunities for part-time and per diem work. In fact, many organizations and healthcare facilities depend on social workers who can work different shifts to fill part-time slots. Part-time jobs for social workers are in no way less important than full-time roles. Their impact is just as strongly felt.

Perhaps you’re currently a grad student who can only commit to part-time work. Maybe family obligations or personal challenges are limiting the amount of time you can spend on your profession. Or, perhaps you already have a full-time job and are looking for a new challenge or additional opportunities to contribute. No matter the reason you’re looking for part-time jobs in social work, we can tell you what you need to know to find the right situation. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What social workers do
  • Working in social work
  • How much do social workers earn?
  • Resources for social workers
  • Part-time jobs for social workers
  • Is a part-time social work job for you?

What social workers do

Social work is a broad and diverse profession addressing a myriad of societal problems. Its daily tasks are as varied as the populations it serves. There are some commonalities to all social work practice, however. In every practice, social workers help others overcome challenges and problems. Whether they are diagnosing and treating <a href=”” target=”_blank”>mental illness, advocating for vulnerable populations, managing social programs, or drafting public policy, social workers fight for fairness and justice for individuals and communities.

In some ways, social workers are modern-day missionaries (usually, but not always, secular), fighting poverty and devoting themselves to righting societal wrongs. Social workers can be found wherever there is a population in need of support or a societal concern ready for reform.

A day in the life of a social worker

Social work can encompass everything from administrative tasks to one-on-one counseling. Among the tasks social workers perform each day are:

  • Performing psychological evaluations
  • Writing psychosocial assessments
  • Developing treatment plans
  • Offering counseling to individuals, couples, and families
  • Creating and executing discharge plans
  • Providing crisis management and support
  • Working in collaborative teams delivering care
  • Managing foster care placement
  • Arranging family reunification
  • Managing cases
  • Conducting research
  • Guiding or writing social policy
  • Implementing social work protocols
  • Navigating resources and benefits for clients
  • Devising and advocating policy changes

Whom social workers help

Social workers are trained to engage diverse and vulnerable populations. Some of these groups need protection; others simply need advocates to champion their needs.

Social workers support the following populations:

  • Anorexic and bulimic individuals
  • Cancer patients
  • Children, youth, and families
  • The chronically and terminally ill
  • Couples
  • Developmentally disabled individuals
  • The elderly
  • The homeless
  • Hospital patients
  • Immigrants
  • The impoverished
  • Inmates and individuals newly convicted of crimes and their families
  • LGBTQ individuals and groups
  • The mentally ill and those with behavioral disorders
  • Military service personnel, veterans, and their families
  • Patients and family members in the emergency room, transplant, neonatal, intensive care, and other specialized units within a medical setting
  • Students
  • Substance abusers
  • Survivors of trauma and natural disaster
  • Teens
  • Veterinary staff
  • Victims of crime and violence, including school violence
  • Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault


University and Program Name Learn More

Careers in social work

Few degrees offer as many employment opportunities and dynamic career paths as social work. There are very few populations or issues that have no need for advocates. Social workers are those advocates.

Some of what social workers can and can’t do is dictated by the degree they earn and their licensure. To qualify for professional social work positions, aspiring social workers have the option of earning a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and/or a Masters of Social Work (MSW). All states license MSW degree holders; this allows them to become licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). A smaller number of states license BSWs.

Many social work employment opportunities require both the MSW and licensure. Social workers who choose to enter fields of practice that do not involve direct service delivery, such as policy writing and research, do not have to be licensed.

Jobs performed by social workers

How much do social workers earn?

According to Payscale, the average salary for a generalized social worker is $45,068. However, specializing in a practice area such as gerontology can boost annual pay by as much as $25,000. According to ZipRecruiter, a geriatric social worker with a master’s in social work can earn an annual salary of $70,464. Hospice social workers with an MSW earn $68,377 per year, according to ZipRecruiter.

Resources for social workers

  • Contact the social work programs you are considering. Speak with the admissions staff to learn about curriculum focus and whether there are opportunities to specialize in a specific practice area, such as the military or clinical social work. Some schools offer additional certification programs. You will want to learn about these, too.
  • Read about social work. Two books—”Days in the Lives of Professionals: 58 Professionals Tell ‘Real Life’ Stories From Social Work Practice” by Linda May Grobman, “Days in the Lives of Social Workers: 62 Professionals Tell ‘Real-Life’ Stories from Social Work Practice” by Linda May Gorman, offer insight and focus on the real-life professional experiences of individual social workers. These testimonials may help you decide if this career path is right.
  • Visit social work discussion forums. There’s one on Indeed, and another called the Social Work Grad Cafe that we recommend.
  • Poke around the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website. This professional organization guides social work practices and values. My NASW is a great online tool for learning all about social work.
  • Seek out volunteer opportunities. While this may not expose you to some of the grittier and tougher aspects of social work—volunteers are limited in what they can do—it will allow you to try out the profession. Many hospitals offer a formal volunteer program. This is a good way to determine if you have the emotional bandwidth to deal with patients facing tough problems. You may also find social work volunteer positions at women’s shelters, the Red Cross, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and any number of not-for-profit agencies and healthcare settings.

Part-time jobs for social workers

A BSW should be sufficient for some part-time positions, although, in the social work world, the MSW always takes precedence. Even when hiring part-time practitioners, some employers require the MSW plus a social work license.

Social work positions that can be performed part-time include:

  • Behavioral/eating disorders social worker
  • Case manager/caseworker
  • Community social worker
  • Discharge planning social worker
  • Evening social worker (in varying hospital clinics/programs)
  • General medical social worker
  • Hospice social worker
  • Marriage and family therapist/social worker
  • Outreach manager
  • Part-time licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) position (range of settings)
  • Psychiatric social worker
  • Re-entry specialist/criminal justice social work (evening work, scheduled home visits)
  • School social worker
  • Senior care
  • Social services specialist
  • Surgical services social worker
  • Visiting home social worker

As are the business and academic worlds, social work is growing more accepting of remote work and online contact. Today there are more remote positions available to social workers than ever before. Depending on the job, these may be part-time positions or flex-time positions that are a fit for your busy life. Some of these jobs may require occasional travel or in-person work. Some examples:

  • Clinical care social worker: The job requires you to provide telephonic evaluation, consultation, and counseling to clients
  • Counselor: The job entails telephonic evening and weekend counseling and case management for employees referred to an Employee Assistance Program
  • Clinical counselor: In this job, you provide telephonic support for urgent and crisis situations requiring immediate attention

Where to look for part-time social work jobs

  • Start with job recruiting websites like Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Simply Hired. Many major social work employers list on some if not all of these sites. Don’t forget to check out Flexjobs, a standout resource for part-time and remote social work positions.
  • Also visit the websites of individual employers in social work. Hospitals and other stand-alone healthcare facilities advertise their positions on their own sites, as do many schools.
  • You can find job postings on two major professional organization sites: the NASW job board and the career page of the Council for Social Work Education.
  • If you’re interested in military social work, visit the job postings at the Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • Finally, don’t overlook the career resources at your own school. Not only have these postings been vetted by your school, it’s likely the employer may favor you if they have been happy with previous hires from your program. Reach out to instructors and professors for personal job sourcing and recommendations.

Can you work part-time as a social worker while earning your degree?

The answer is yes, but it’s not easy. Ask yourself why you want to do this. Is funding your education the goal? Are you eager to get started on your social work career? If you’re simply looking for training, you will get that real-world training in your social work program through the required fieldwork experience.

Part-time social work positions are not hard to find. But qualifying for them and making sure you have the time and focus for part-time social work will be a challenge while you’re in school. Working as a social worker while trying to earn your degree in the field may be tougher than working in a job unrelated to social work, like waitressing. A part-time social work position can be stressful and distract you from your studies.

The best way to approach part-time social work while earning your degree is to work with your school staff to secure a paid fieldwork placement. Accredited social work programs require all students to complete a minimum number of hours in fieldwork. At some schools, students who receive financial aid are placed in a setting where they are paid for their fieldwork. This is a win-win for any student and worth exploring at your desired programs.

Another option is to seek out paid work at your school. In some programs, social work students can do social work research while pursuing their studies. In general, your school staff, instructors, field advisors, and career placement counselors should be mined for any ideas on how to secure a part-time social work job while earning the degree.

Is a part-time social work job for you?

Part-time work in social work is a good fit for those whose commitments prevent them from taking on full-time assignments. Social workers with full-time jobs looking to earn a little extra money can benefit from it as well, although they need to take care not to overtax themselves. Social work can be emotionally exhausting work, and social workers need to practice good self-care to ensure they do not burn out and become ineffective.

Part-time and shift/weekend social work is critical to providing adequate staffing for the many social work services that operate 24/7. Examples include hospitals, psychiatric centers, residential facilities, treatment centers, memory care centers, and nursing and senior care communities.

Bottom line: patients and people require round-the-clock care and help. Illness and crisis do not distinguish between Monday 9:00 am and the graveyard shift. The need is out there. If you’ve got the skills and the capacity to take on the work, the opportunities await you.

(Last Updated on February 26, 2024)

How useful is this page?

Click on a star to rate it!

Since you found this page useful...mind sharing it?

We are sorry this page was not useful for you!

Please help us improve it

How can this content be more valuable?

Questions or feedback? Email

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.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


You May Also Like To Read

Categorized as: CounselingSocial WorkSocial Work & Counseling & Psychology