5 Reasons to Become a Travel Social Worker
5 Reasons to Become a Travel Social Worker
By Tiffany Aller
Social work is a challenging and intense career field that allows professionals to make a true difference in the lives of individuals, as well as the overall population of the areas they serve. Social workers are in high demand, and some areas of the country are currently experiencing or are predicted to experience shortages of qualified professionals. Travel social worker jobs seek to fill important positions in areas of the country that may currently be underserved.
To explore the possibility of becoming a traveling social worker, accepting contracts to fill high-demand roles throughout the United States, visit Med Travelers for a comprehensive database of currently available shorter-term jobs.
Career projections show growing need for social workers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 700,000 social workers are currently supporting millions of Americans nationwide. The job outlook between 2016 and 2026 estimates that the field will grow by 16 percent over that time, a far faster growth rate than average. This will lead to the need for at least 109,700 additional social workers during that time, in addition to the social workers necessary to replace professionals who leave the field or retire. As with many other healthcare occupations, rural or less accessible areas may be hit hardest by the shortage that could result when too few new social workers enter the field.
Respond to opioid addictions plaguing the country
New stories emerge daily on the ever-worsening plague of opioid addiction throughout the country. It's no surprise, then, that as the epidemic’s impact widens, social worker shortages also expand. Additional social workers are in demand to work not only with individuals addicted to opioid medications but also within the child welfare system as addicted parents lose the ability to care for their families appropriately.
The National Association of Social Work quotes Indiana University School of Social Work dean Michael Patchner lamenting, “There aren’t as many treatment facilities as are needed in Indiana. Therefore, we have a lot of outpatient work providing treatment. There is just a need to address all of these social problems.” When you pursue travel social work jobs, you could have the opportunity to enable positive results for those addicted to opioids and the families who suffer along with them.
Travel social worker jobs address key shortages nationwide
In conjunction with the growing need for additional social workers through the country, many areas are already underserved, an issue that can be addressed through travel social worker jobs. “I would encourage someone to become a travel social worker because it increases access to care for vulnerable populations in rural and remote areas,” says Ashley L. Annestedt, LCSW, a former traveling social worker who now works with patients via video in six states and various foreign countries. Such areas might not have healthcare resources for residents who are not able to travel to more highly populated areas to obtain services. Traveling social workers can instead meet people in need where they live, positively impacting entire communities.
Annestedt continues that she would “encourage someone to consider travel social work because it can make you a better clinician. Seeing a patient in their natural environment gives us a unique opportunity to increase the patient/therapist relationship.” And while serving underserved regions, “you are potentially exposed to new environments and cultures that one may not find in an office setting.” The skills honed in such an environment can help social workers to advance their careers through broader experiences.
Expand your travels
While many of the benefits of becoming a traveling social worker are related to the necessary services you can provide to others while also preparing you for future career opportunities, these contract jobs can also meet personal needs through opportunities to travel to new and enticing locales. Angelique Lange, LMSW, is a clinical social worker whose travel contracts over the past decade have enabled her to help military families on bases throughout various military installations in the United States and overseas. Lange touts the many exciting travel opportunities available, including:
- “the ability to travel throughout the US and abroad to locations I never would have considered while earning a living
- “the opportunity to have travel experiences beyond those accessible to most tourists
- “opportunities to immerse myself in various communities and cultures, which has broadened my world view significantly
- and being “able to learn things about different parts of the US and the world abroad that I wouldn't have gleaned from reading books or searching the internet.”
Helping others, expanding your horizons
Whether you are a new graduate from your social work masters program or an experienced professional determining your next career move, accepting travel social worker jobs can be both fulfilling for yourself and highly impactful on the communities in which you serve.
To learn more about travel social worker jobs across the country, complete the form here. One of our recruitment specialists will contact you to discuss some great options.