About the Profession

Why Social Work?

If you are looking for a career that involves helping people reach their full potential and making the world a better place, social work is for you. Social work is a licensed profession in the United States as well as internationally. Licensing boards in each state set specific eligibility standards, including educational criteria and passage of a national test for practitioners to become professional social workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were almost 650,000 social workers in the United States in 2014. With the expected growth in jobs of 12% by 2024, social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States (NASW, 2018).

Did You Know:

  • Social workers help people overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical and mental illness, divorce, loss, unemployment, educational problems, disability, and trauma. They help prevent crises and counsel individuals, families, and communities to cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life.
  • Professional social workers are found in every facet of community life—in schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, senior centers, long term care facilities, elected office, the military, prisons, homeless and domestic violence shelters, private practice, corporations, and in numerous public and private agencies that serve individuals and families in need.
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), professional social workers are the nation’s largest group of mental health services providers. There are more clinically trained social workers (over 200,000) than psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined. Federal law and the National Institute of Health recognize social work as one of the five core mental health professions.
  • The National Association of Social Workers is the largest professional organization of social workers in the world. For more information, please visit www.socialworkers.org.