Advocacy in Action

Through the stories we share, the Admissions Team at Baylor University hopes to inspire and educate future leaders in social work.

Making a Career Switch? 6 Professions that Transition Smoothly to a Career in Social Work

Written by Baylor School of Social Work Team on 05.16.19

Have you ever thought to yourself — I’m not satisfied with my job, I wish I could make a change? Whatever your reason for wanting to switch, you will be comforted to know that changing careers is common and you are in good company. In fact, adults switch careers an average of 11.7 times between the ages of 18 and 48.

But thinking about making a career change is only the first step, choosing what you will do in your next career can be a little more challenging. There is lots to consider when deciding on a new career like your interests, transferable skills, applicable work experience, the education required to begin a new profession, and the job opportunities available in your new field.

The social work profession is an excellent career choice for those who enjoy working with individuals and groups to help them improve their lives and who are ready to embrace challenging and rewarding work. Any profession can transition easily into a successful social work career. Here are six careers that make the switch to social work particularly smooth.

Explore Baylor University’s digital resource page: How and Why You Should  Switch to a Career in Social Work!


Those in healthcare are already highly experienced with caring for the physical needs of patients. Social work offers these professionals the opportunity to care for the needs of the whole person, physical, spiritual, mental, and psychological. Healthcare workers who choose to transition to social work will bring with them transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, and effective listening skills.

Corporate Jobs

If you have been working in a corporate career behind a desk in a 9-5 job, you might be looking for a career with more flexibility and more meaning. Look no further than social work. Social workers schedules often depend on their client meetings, meaning that you can frequently flex your schedule to accommodate your needs as well. With your corporate training, you will bring valuable prior knowledge and experience to a social work career including organizational, management, problem-solving, and time management skills.


A prior career in childcare is excellent preparation for a switch to social work. Those who have worked in childcare already have a heart for caring for individuals and meeting their needs — much of what a social work position entails. A career in social work will give these individuals the opportunity to work with all different populations to secure the resources and services they need to thrive. Childcare professionals bring several transferable skills with them into a career in social work including patience, interpersonal communication, and empathy.


Educators who wish to switch to social work will find that much of their prior career experience applies to their new field. Along with teaching students, educators encourage students to advocate for themselves and assist them in learning to grow and improve in all areas of life. In many ways, social workers do the same. Social workers advocate for their clients, but they also teach their clients to help themselves. Social workers use their connections to secure resources for clients, but they also empower them to seek out what they need to improve their situation. Educators who choose to transition to social work will bring with them transferable skills such as leadership, adaptability, and social perceptiveness.

Nonprofit Work

Those who have prior experience working for a nonprofit will see large areas of overlap in a career as a social worker. Both nonprofit workers and social work professionals desire to better the world through their organization’s mission. Additionally, those who have prior experience in the nonprofit world are frequently used to making the best out of situations where they might not have ample resources. Social workers are often faced with this challenge as well. This pushes social workers to be creative problem-solvers and to utilize their network of resources to assist the client. Some transferable skills that prior nonprofit workers will bring with them include resource allocation and management, creativity, and flexibility.

Corrections/Criminal Justice

If you have been working in corrections or criminal justice, your prior experience will benefit you in a career in social work. Social workers work with individuals who are part of vulnerable populations. Unfortunately, implicit racial bias and socioeconomic inequity continue to contribute to exorbitant numbers of individuals in the US prison system. Switching to social work offers individuals who are familiar with the criminal justice system to act preventatively, helping those who are most vulnerable get the help they need. Transferable skills include an intricate knowledge of the law and criminal justice system, strong written and oral communication skills, and a passion for justice.

Start Your Career Switch with an MSW

Whatever your prior career, many of your skills and experiences will help you make an easy switch to the social work profession. The first step to beginning your social work career is investing in your education. To practice as a licensed social worker you will need the education and training that comes with a graduate degree. This investment in your future career will benefit the clients you serve and set you up for professional success.

The Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University is excited to assist you in your career switch. Our Master of Social Work degree is perfect for those who are ready to start a new career. With field-trained faculty and a supportive cohort model, you will be on your way to your new career in no time. Contact us today to get started!

Want to switch to a career in social work, but not sure exactly how? Explore our step-by-step guide to making the change in our digital resource, How and Why You Should Switch to a Career in Social Work.


Posted by Baylor School of Social Work Team

We are the admissions team at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, at Baylor University. We believe social work is about service and justice; it is about the dignity of individuals and the power of relationships; it is about integrity and competence, and our mission here is preparing social workers to do these things well. We hope you find our resources helpful and informative as you explore and pursue a degree in social work!