Missouri’s nickname may be the “Show Me” state, but it should really be called the “Read Me” state. Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, T.S. Elliot and Tennessee Williams are all from Missouri. The state is known for its 6,000 caves, and for hosting the 1904 Summer Olympics – the first Olympics to be held in the United States.
Major industries in the state include aerospace, transportation equipment and electrical equipment. Agriculture and husbandry are both still big in the state, which ranks in the top ten producers for all of the following: hogs, cattle, soybeans and rice. Missouri is home to bustling cities and peaceful rural expanses.
Social Work Issues
In many ways, Missouri is an “average” state. Fifteen percent of the state’s population lives in poverty, which is average for our country. The state has a slightly higher than average percentage of the population that is over age 65 (14.7 percent, compared to the national average of 13.7 percent). The state’s median household income is a little below average, but so is the cost of living of the area (1) (2).
Some states have a particularly high need for one type of social work or another, but Missouri’s needs are evenly spread amongst the typical issues. The Missouri Association for Social Welfare lists the following as top priorities of the state:
- Affordable housing and addressing the needs of the homeless in the state (3)
- Criminal justice/inmate issues (4)
As a social worker in Missouri, you would find opportunities to work in a variety of settings, addressing a myriad of concerns typical for this field of employment.
Studying Social Work
Missouri is one of the best places to study social work in the country. According to the 2014 US News & World Report school rankings, Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work is ranked number one in the nation. Three other universities in the state (St. Louis University School of Social Work, University of Missouri in Columbia School of Social Work and University of Missouri in St. Louis School of Social Work) rank in the top 100 graduate schools in the nation (5).
Washington University in St. Louis’ School of Social Work attracts many of the brightest and best students who are interested in pursuing one of its many dual degree programs. Some of the most interesting are the following: architecture and social work, business and social work, divinity and social work, Jewish studies and social work, law and social work, and public health and social work (6). They also are known for their skill-building labs and extensive fieldwork (7).
As a social worker in Missouri, you may qualify for a loan forgiveness program such as the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). You would need to work in one of the designated “Health Professional Shortage Areas” (HPSA), which are underserved communities. Some social workers qualify for up to $40,000 in loan forgiveness, granted at a rate of $20,000 per year. You might also want to check out the US Department of Health and Human Resources Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) database of state grants for loan forgiveness to determine if you can apply. Missouri has participated in this program in the past.
High Job-Growth Rates
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of Missouri has the second highest concentration of healthcare social workers in the nation (8). As of 2010, 4,660 healthcare social workers were employed in the state, and job growth in this sector is predicted to increase at a rate of 23 percent, meaning approximately 220 new jobs should open up each year. The median salary for healthcare social workers in Missouri is $42,600 (9).
Mental health and substance abuse social workers can expect job opportunities to continue to open up, as well. Experts predict job growth at a rate of 18 percent in the state. As of 2010, 3,570 mental health and substance abuse social workers were employed in the state. The median salary, as of the year 2013, was $33,500 (10).
Most of the social workers in the state work as child, family and school social workers. Approximately 11,210 child, family and school social workers were employed in the state as of 2010. That sector is also predicted to grow, but at a slower rate of seven percent per year (11).
Licensure and Professional Development Resources
- Social Work License Requirements in Missouri
- Missouri Division of Professional Registration For Social Workers
- National Association of Social Workers, Missouri Chapter>
- Missouri School Social Workers Association
- Missouri Society For Clinical Social Work
Universities with Master’s in Social Work Degrees
- State and County Quick Facts: Missouri, 2013. United States Census Bureau. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29000.html
- St. Louis, Missouri Cost of Living Index. Areavibes.com. http://www.areavibes.com/st.+louis-mo/cost-of-living/
- Affordable Housing and Homelessness. Missouri Association for Social Welfare. http://www.masw.org/programs/housing_homeless.php
- Criminal Justice. Missouri Association for Social Welfare. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?spp=10&program=top-social-work-schools&name=&zip=missouri&program_rank=Any&sort=&sortdir=
- Dual Degrees, George Warren Brown School of Social Work. Washington University in St. Louis. http://brownschool.wustl.edu/Admissions/MSWProgram/Pages/DualDegrees.aspx
- Field Education. George Warren Brown School of Social Work. Washington University in St. Louis. http://brownschool.wustl.edu/Admissions/MSWProgram/Pages/Field%20Education.aspx
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211022.htm
- Occupation Profile: Healthcare Social Worker: Missouri, 2013. Career One Stop. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=011000000&soccode=211022&id=1&nodeid=2&stfips=29&search=Go
- Occupation Profile: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Worker: Missouri, 2013. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=011000000&soccode=211023&id=1&nodeid=2&stfips=29&search=Go
- Occupation Profile: Child, Family, and School Social Worker: Missouri, 2013. Career One Stop. http://www.careerinfonet.org/occ_rep.asp?optstatus=011000000&soccode=211021&id=1&nodeid=2&stfips=29&search=Go