National Social Work Program
Career as a VA social worker
VA is the largest employer of social workers in the nation with over 20,000 Master’s prepared social workers. VA trains more social work graduate students than any other single agency
Social workers are an integral part of VA health care. In this large and complex system, social workers are often the thread that pulls a treatment plan together and the one leading linkage and referral processes with community partners and engaging with Veterans’ groups and organizations on efforts to strengthen services. Social workers’ contributions with these efforts are valued, acknowledged and necessary. The wide range of opportunities within VA allows for social workers to experience many different jobs/positions throughout their careers. We are in small clinics in rural communities as well as in large medical centers in metropolitan areas.
VA Social Workers Opportunities
VA Social Workers can be found working and managing in the following programs:
- Spinal Cord Injuries and Disease
- Mental Health
- Outpatient and Inpatient Medical/Surgery
- Emergency Department
- Long Term Care
- Visual Impairments
- Polytrauma Rehabilitation
- Palliative Care
- Therapeutic and Supportive Employment
- Suicide Prevention
- Veterans Justice Outreach
- Medical and Residential Foster Homes
- Home Based primary Care
- Caregiver Support Program
Characteristics of social workers who work with Veterans
Social workers who assist Veterans rely on the same skills and motivations that all effective social workers exhibit: compassion, a genuine desire to help others, adaptability and a willingness to learn new things. Social workers who work with Veterans must also understand the unique challenges facing their clients.
Professionals who work with Veterans must assess clients in the context of their military experience. This requires understanding of military service-specific factors such as deployment, relocation, combat, and reintegration post-deployment.
Benefits of VA social work jobs
- Access to technology. The VA is a leader in telehealth and its technology resources extend to such areas as speech recognition, virtual technologies, and mobile devices.
- The VA offers extensive benefits and employees are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).
- Education support. The VA offers loan repayment and tuition assistance and VA employees with federal student loans may be eligible for the national loan forgiveness program.
- VA employees can transfer to other VA facilities with no loss of benefits and one active, unrestricted state license allows VA employees to practice in any VA facility nationwide.
- The VA has steady demand for qualified social workers and it serves, more than 1,200 health care facilities throughout the U.S. and its territories. The wide range of physical, mental, and social challenges that Veterans experience also provides social workers with unique opportunities for professional development.
- Veterans served by the VA work with multidisciplinary care groups under the Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) program. PACT brings together diverse individuals, such as primary care providers, clinical specialists, social workers, pharmacists, and administrative professionals, to coordinate holistic care.
- Work-life balance. VA offers many opportunities to support a strong work life balance for staff. Some VA facilities offer on-site childcare and fitness centers. Some positions may be conducted virtually with flexible work schedules.
Find additional information about VA Social Work careers and apply for VA Social Work jobs online at Social worker jobs | VA Careers.
Work at VA
Become an integral part of our patient care team as a social worker, helping Veterans, and their families, caregivers, and survivors access the resources they need and finding solutions for complex problems.
- LEARN more about social worker careers at VA.
- WATCH Jennifer Koget talk about social workers at VA.
- EXPLORE the benefits of a VA career.
- SEARCH for your VA career by visiting VAcareers.va.gov.
- DISCOVER the rewards of a VA social worker career (PDF)
- Helpful sites for interviewing skills - Performance Based Interviewing
- 10 tips for landing a Social Work job with VA, Part 1
- 10 tips for landing a Social Work job with VA, Part 2
- VA social worker positions - USA Jobs Search
Hear from VA social workers
- VA Careers – HUD-VASH Social Worker
- VA Careers – Social Work
- VA Careers – Social Work Health Profession Trainee
- VA Careers – Social Work Service Education and Training Coordinator
Social work licensure
In compliance with Public Law 106-419, VA social workers appointed after August 14, 1991, must be licensed at the master’s level to independently practice social work in a state. VA social workers have a master's degree in social work (MSW or MSSW). Some are also limited licensed master social workers (LLMSW), licensed master social workers (LMSW), or licensed clinical social workers (LCSW).