Why Social Work?

We are here to help you find your place in social work.

Social work as a profession is rarely seen on TV or in movies and if it is, it is portrayed in inaccurate or stereotypical ways (i.e., removing children from homes). You may find yourself confused and desire clarity between the “helping” professions, (i.e., social work, psychology, nursing, public policy, nonprofit leadership).

Perhaps you have known a family member or close friend who is a social worker and therefore have a view of the broad spectrum of the career. You may have received and benefitted from social work services in your school, community, or medical settings.

Foremost, students who seek a path to help others, improve society, and advocate for just social conditions land in social work.

Is Social Work a Good Fit for Me?

To learn more about your potential fit with social work, review and answer these questions.

  • Are you passionate about social change and social and economic justice?
  • Are you concerned about social problems such as poverty, racism, and inequality?
  • Are you committed to working with people form diverse backgrounds to enhance their social functioning and thus contribute to the betterment of humanity as a whole?
  • Are you resilient and committed to cultivating resilience in others?
  • Do you possess empathy for others?
  • Do you genuinely care about people?
  • Are you willing to advocate for the most vulnerable members of our society for social change and connect them to resources?
  • Are you able or willing to acknowledge and examine your own biases as well as other hindering personal issues, maintaining an open mind toward working with people from all backgrounds?
  • Are you willing to adhere to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics and demonstrate a commitment to these values and ethics in working with clients from diverse backgrounds?
  • Do you possess or are you willing to develop the quality of professionalism, being nonjudgmental, and accepting of others?
  • Do you believe in the worth and dignity of every human being?
  • Are you willing to grapple with and resolve ethical dilemmas?
  • Are you accepting of differences and diversity by race, ethnicity, family background, social economic status, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, age, class, disability, gender and gender expression, and religion/ faith tradition?
  • Are you committed to understanding the intersectional nature of identities, social location, and social categorizations?
  • Do you employ or are you willing to develop problem-solving and decision making skills?
  • Are you willing to make hard decisions and follow through with them?
  • Do you have or are you willing to develop superior leadership, networking and teamwork skills that are necessary for effective social work?
  • Are you willing to develop excellent analytical, organizational and communication skills to use in your practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities?
  • Do you have or are you willing to develop strong listening and interviewing skills , as well as other skills such as confrontation, support, limit setting, and self-disclosure?
  • Do you have strong problem-solving skills?
  • Can you willing work long hours while maintaining a healthy balance between your professional and personal life?
  • Are you able and willing to undertake multiple tasks and assume awe-inspiring responsibilities?
  • Do you engage in self-care activities – deliberate activities you do in order to take care of your overall health?
  • In addressing the issue at hand, are you willing to share power and work in partnership with those you serve?
  • Do you acknowledge and engage the experience and expertise of service recipients and providers as critical in your problem-solving processing?
  • Are you committed to confidentiality and showing the respect for others’ right to privacy?
  • Are you committed to building relationships of trust with others?
  • Are you committed to lifelong learning, keeping abreast of current literature, evaluating your own practice, and contributing knowledge to the profession?
  • Are you willing to seek supervision, accept criticism and use it for self-improvement and continuous professional growth?

Taken from: Morales, A. T., Sheafor, B. W., & Scott, M.E. (2012). Social work: A profession of many faces. (12th ed.) Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.