Choose the Social Work Profession

If you’re looking for a career with meaning, action, diversity, satisfaction, and an abundance of options, consider social work. Social workers are people who care about people, who want to make things better, who want to relieve suffering, who want their work to make a difference.

Social work is a profession devoted to helping people function the best they can in their environment. This can mean providing direct services or therapy directly to people (called "clients"). It also can mean working for change to improve social conditions.

The phrase "in their environment" points to a distinguishing characteristic of social work—one that sets it apart from other helping professions. Social workers help clients deal not only with how they feel about a situation but also with what they can do about it. 

For example, a man suffering stress stemming from single parenting may be referred by a social worker to a child care agency. The social worker also might help him explore flextime with his employer and might work with a coalition of local employers to make flextime and child care more available. In addition, the social worker might provide therapy to help him handle the immediate stress.

Many social workers work for social change as well. The victim of an assault benefits not only from therapy but also from efforts to curb neighborhood crime. The client under stress because illness has devastated the family finances benefits from efforts to reform the nation’s health care system.

Social Work Specialty Occupational Profiles

These occupational profiles provide an overview of the practice areas in which social workers specialize, including benefits, challenges, and salaries.

Read about social work specialties

Educational Paths for Social Workers

To be a social worker, one must hold a degree in social work from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Learn about educational paths for social workers


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