Explore Social Work

young woman with coffee cup and notebook

Social work is an excellent career choice for those who care about human dignity and social justice. The field is as diverse as the individuals, families, and communities we serve. Learn about the many career paths in the field, how to get started on a social work career path.

Why Choose the Social Work Profession?


If you’re looking for a career with meaning, action, diversity, satisfaction, and a variety 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.

Types of Social Work Degrees

smiling woman stands leaning against library stacks

To be a social worker, you need to hold a degree in social work from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Find out what kind of work you can do with the different degree types.

What Are Social Work Values?

man helping someone

Social work values are outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics, which sets forth ideals to which all social workers should aspire.

Understanding Micro, Mezzo and Macro Social Work Practice

concentric circles with PIE in center, then micro, mezzo, macro

Read about the different types of social work.

Specialty Occupational Profiles

Learn about the practice areas in which social workers specialize. These occupational profiles provide an overview of the benefits, challenges, and salaries of social work specialty positions.

Social Work Employment Outlook, 2016-2026

  • 16% growth projected in overall Social work employment
  • 14% growth in child, family & school social work positions
  • 20% growth in health care & medical social work positions
  • 19% growth in mental health & substance abuse positions

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections

woman's hands filling out a paper application

State Licensing

A state social work license is issued to regulate the practice of social work and to protect the public. It is issued by and useful only in the jurisdiction where the holder plans to practice.

Licensing requirements vary from jurisdiction. Check with your state board and the Association of Social Work Boards:

professional woman sitting at desk

Credentials and Certifications

Credentials and certification enhance your state license. NASW credentials and certifications provide recognition to those social workers who have met national standards for higher levels of specialized knowledge, skills, and experience.

Learn about Credentials and Certification


Helps Starts Here is an NASW blog that shares with the public the many ways that social workers help people in their communities.

Visit Helps Starts Here

woman stands next to a two-seater airplane near a pine forest

Meet NASW Members

We interview NASW members in every issue of Social Work Advocates magazine.

Read stories about NASW members

colorful graphic of people standing in a row

Social Work Talks Podcast

Our guests discuss the rewards and challenges of their social work practice.

Listen and subscribe

Interested in  different health careers? 

Visit explorehealthcareers.org >>