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Social Work Professionmedallion

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social work is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. The profession is expected to grow by 12% between 2014 and 2024. There were almost 650,000 social work jobs in 2014.

Who is a social worker?

  • Based on findings from the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Survey, there were 95,902 full-time students enrolled in social work programs in 2015 and 29,449 part-time students. The total enrollment of full-time master’s students was 38,659; the total enrollment of part-time mast’s students was 21,463. Thee total enrollment of full-time doctoral students was 1,790; the total enrollment of part-time doctoral students was 472.
  • A total of 45,837 social work degrees were awarded for the 2014–2015 academic year -- 42.8% were baccalaureate degrees, 56.5% were master’s degrees, and 0.8% were doctoral (practice doctorate and PhD) degrees.
  • In 2015, 532 institutions reported they had 5,603 full-time faculty members and 452 institutions reported having 7,387 part-time or contract faculty members.

What do social workers do?

  • Social workers help individuals, families, and groups restore or enhance their capacity for social functioning, and work to create societal conditions that support communities in need.
  • The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior, of social, economic and cultural institutions, and of the interaction of all these factors.
  • Social workers help people of all backgrounds address their own needs through psychosocial services and advocacy.
  • Social workers help people overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, loss, unemployment, educational problems, disability, and mental illness. They help prevent crises and counsel individuals, families, and communities to cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life.

Who employs social workers?

  • Professional social workers are found in every facet of community life—in schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, senior centers, elected office, private practices, prisons, military, corporations, and in numerous public and private agencies that serve individuals and families in need. Many also serve as social and community service directors.
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), professional social workers are the nation’s largest group of mental health services providers. There are more clinically trained social workers—over 200,000—than psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined. Federal law and the National Institutes of Health recognize social work as one of five core mental health professions.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employs more than 10,000 professional social workers. It is one of the largest employers of MSWs in the United States.
  • More than 40% of all disaster mental health volunteers trained by the American Red Cross are professional social workers.
  • There are hundreds of social workers in national,state and local elected office,These include one U.S. Senator and six U.S. Representatives. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI), Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-4), Rep. Niki Tsongas (MA-3)  and Rep. Susan Davis (CA-53). 
  • Today, almost 50 special interest organizations contribute to the vitality and influence of the social work profession.  There are social work groups for educators and researchers, as well as organizations for practitioners in health care leadership, nephrology, oncology, child welfare, schools, prisons, courts, and many other settings.

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