Why Choose the Social Work Profession?

Social work is the helping profession.

mid-career social workers speaks with client

The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. If you’re looking for a career with meaning, action, diversity, satisfaction, and a variety of options, consider social work.

Social work is different from other professions, because we focus both on the person and their environment. Social workers deal with the external factors that impact a person's situation and outlook. And we create opportunities for assessment and intervention, to help clients and communities cope effectively with their reality and change that reality when necessary. Social workers help clients deal not only with how they feel about a situation but also with what they can do about it.

In thousands of ways, social workers help people of every age and background, all across the country. The most well-known aspect of the social work profession is providing direct services or therapy directly to clients. We help guide people to critical resources and counsel them on life-changing decisions. We also advocate for change to improve social conditions and strengthen the social net.

There are more than 600,000 professional social workers in the United States, and we all either have a BSW, MSW or a DSW/PhD in Social Work. There are more clinically trained social workers than clinically trained psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined.


What Do Social Workers Do?


Social workers help relieve people's suffering, fight for social justice, and improve lives and communities. Most people think of social workers when they think of poverty alleviation and child welfare. Many social workers do that kind of work — and we do much more.

Some of society's most notable helpers were social workers. Jane Addams is the founder of our profession. Frances Perkins was President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor, and Dorothy Height and Whitney Young were both civil rights legends. All of these people were social workers. They made great contributions to our society during some of our most troubling times. These pioneers laid the path for social workers of today. They set a great example for our commitment to advocacy, social justice, and helping individuals, families, and communities who need us most.

We can be found in hospitals, helping people cope with acute conditions and chronic illness. We provide therapy and community health centers and help prevent students from dropping out of school. We help prisoners as they reenter communities and provide rehabilitative support in drug and alcohol centers.

We provide outreach and long-term care in nursing homes and homeless shelters. We are clinical therapists to members of the military and veterans. And we are first responders during natural disasters.

Social workers are executive directors of nonprofit organizations, community organizers, and professors. We are corporate leaders and members of Congress.

If you see yourself in any of these roles, you should consider joining the social work profession.



Social workers are people who care about people, who want to make things better, who want to relieve suffering, and who want their work to make a difference.

help-starts-here-sidebar

Helps Starts Here is your source for professional advice, inspiring stories, and a social worker directory.

Visit Helps Starts Here


Related Publications