Michigan consists of two peninsulas, the upper and lower peninsulas, connected by the famous Mackinac Bridge. It’s a state where fishermen, boating enthusiasts and water-lovers of all varieties can enjoy always being within six miles of a lake. Michigan is also the home of Motown music and the Wolverines, frigid winters and gritty Detroit.
Michigan’s population is an interesting mix of highly educated academics and a hard working middle class, the backbones of higher education and of the core of our country’s automotive industry. Michigan has seen both boom and bust, which means its populace has repeatedly endured economic depressions and recoveries.
Michigan – A People Who Persevere
Michigan has had a rough time economically in the past decade, and economic struggles often translate into social health challenges. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Michigan has an above average percentage of the population diagnosed with mental illness (19.81 percent as compared to a national average of 18.19 percent) and severe mental illness (4.53 percent as compared to a national average of 3.97 percent). Michigan currently has 349 mental health and substance abuse prevention and/or recovery programs operating in the state. If you are interested in serving the mental health social work community, Michigan might be the right place for you (1).
Just under a quarter of Michigan’s children under age 18 are living in homes under the poverty line (2). Of additional concern is the number of Michigan youths residing in juvenile detention centers. Michigan juveniles are living in detention centers at a rate of 221 per 100,000 kids, as compared to the national average of 196 per 100,000 (3) (4). As of 2010, approximately 11,040 child, family and school social workers were employed in Michigan. If you enjoy working with troubled youth or contributing to safe schools, this might be the perfect arena of opportunity for you (5).
Incredible Academic Opportunities
Michigan is an incredible place to get a master’s degree in social work. According to the 2014 US News & World Report, the number one graduate school in the nation to study social work is the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor School of Social Work. Four other Michigan universities rank in the top 100, and yet two more rank in the top 150 schools (6). Michigan is overflowing with superb academic institutions.
The University of Michigan- Ann Arbor School of Social Work is lauded for its broad range of concentrations, covering the spectrum of social work (7). The U of M-Ann Arbor is known for its depth of research, intensive field work programs and its dual-concentration degrees, through which students gain experience and knowledge of two concentrations that dovetail with each other.
You might want to check out the loan forgiveness programs available to social workers working in “Health Professional Shortage Areas” (HPSA). If you are willing to work in a position that supports an underserved population, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness of up to $20,000 a year for two years, for a total of $40,000 of loan forgiveness. Check out the requirements of both the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the Michigan State Loan Assistance Repayment Program (MSLRP).
A Thriving Social Work Industry
You will find that the state of Michigan is ripe with opportunity for social workers seeking employment, especially for healthcare social workers and mental health and substance abuse social workers. As of 2010, 9,250 healthcare social workers were employed in the state of Michigan, and job growth is expected at a rate of 27 percent by the year 2020. Healthcare social workers in Michigan can expect to make slightly more than the national average, pulling in a median wage of $51,000 a year (8).
Likewise, mental health and substance abuse social workers are in demand and are predicted to continue to be in demand to the tune of an increase of 20 percent more job opportunities by the year 2020. Michigan mental health and substance abuse social workers make a median wage of $43,600 per year, which is higher than the national average of $41,000 (9).
The highest paying social work jobs in the state go to post-secondary social work teachers, who make a median wage of $71,300. That’s above the national average of $64,300. Of course, this is no surprise; Michigan’s graduate social work programs are nationally recognized for their academic excellence (10).
Licensure and Professional Development Resources
- National Association of Social Workers, Michigan Chapter
- Michigan State Board of Social Work
- Michigan Association of School Social Workers
- Michigan Social Work Continuing Education Collaborative
Universities with Social Work Programs in Michigan
- National Mental Health Services Survey: 2010. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/DASIS/NMHSS2010_Web.pdf
- Poverty, Children Ages 0-17, 2011. Kids Count Data Center. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/1692-poverty–children-ages-0-17–saipe?loc=24&loct=2#detailed/2/any/false/867,133,38,35,18/any/3591,13134
- Youth Residing in Juvenile Detention, Correctional, and/or Residential Facilities. Kids Count Data Center. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/42-youth-residing-in-juvenile-detention-correctional-and-or-residential-facilities?loc=24&loct=2#detailed/2/24/false/867,133,18,17,14/any/319,320
- Youth Residing in Juvenile Detention, Correctional, and/or Residential Facilities. Kids Count Data Center. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/42-youth-residing-in-juvenile-detention-correctional-and-or-residential-facilities#detailed/1/any/false/867,133,18,17,14/any/319,320
- Occupation Profile: Child, Family, and School Social Workers: Michigan, 2013. Career One Stop. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=011000000&soccode=211021&id=1&nodeid=2&stfips=26&search=Go
- Graduate School Social Work Programs: Michigan, 2014. US News & World Report. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?spp=10&program=top-social-work-schools&name=&zip=michigan&program_rank=Any&sort=&sortdir=
- MSW Program, University of Michigan School of Social Work. http://ssw.umich.edu/programs
- Occupation Profile: Healthcare Social Workers: Michigan, 2013. Career One Stop. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=011000000&soccode=211022&id=1&nodeid=2&stfips=26&search=Go
- Occupation Profile: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers: Michigan, 2013. Career One Stop. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=011000000&soccode=211023&id=1&nodeid=2&stfips=26&search=Go
- Occupation Profile: Social Work Teachers: Post-Secondary: Michigan, 2013. Career One Stop. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=011000000&soccode=251113&id=1&nodeid=2&stfips=26&search=Go