What Is Social Work?
Social Work is a profession devoted to helping individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities enhance their well-being within their social environment. Social Work also addresses broader social issues, such as child abuse, substance abuse, intimate violence, elder abuse, prejudice, discrimination, poverty, national and international relief efforts, juvenile delinquency, medical and mental health care, and criminal justice. Thus, social work can mean working for change that will improve the social environment in which we all live.
What Do Social Workers Do?
Social Workers help people strengthen their problem solving skills and expand their capabilities to better utilize their own resources and those of the community to resolve problems. Many social workers interact directly with clients; while others are involved in community organizing, policy development, research, and administration of social service agencies.
Areas of Social Work Practice – Examples
|Public and Private social services||Public Health|
|Child Welfare Services||Mental Health|
|Adoptions||Drug/Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs|
|Medical (hospitals, clinics)||Nursing Homes|
|Juvenile Justice||Adult Corrections|
|Adult Protective Services||School Social Work|
|Police Departments||Victim Assistance Programs|
|Political Offices||Community Organizing Agencies|
|Homeless or Abuse Shelters||Employment Assistance Programs|
Projected Employment Growth in the Social Work Profession and Salary Ranges
The United States Bureau of Labor projects in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition during the 2008-2018 decade the social work profession will grow by 16%, which is much faster than the average profession. In 2009 the national median salary for the BSW and MSW respectfully was $44,222 and $51,589.
Projected Employment Growth (combined BSW & MSW) for Specific Practice Areas
- Medical and public health social workers…………………..22% (much faster than average) (Major contributing factor: Rise in elderly population)
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers….20% (much faster than average)
- Child, family, & school social workers……………………….12% (average growth)
**The Union College Social Work Program is Accredited by the Council of Social Work Education.