What Is Social Work?
Social work is such a broad topic that it is difficult to define. Here’s the short version: a social worker helps people. They are trained to work to improve the living situations of people in need. Social workers think about how a person’s mind works within his or her social environment.
Is Social Work a Good Major / Degree for Me?
Are you a patient and compassionate person? Do you love to help people? Are you driven to make a difference in the world? Are you resilient? Do you enjoy working with people of all ages: babies through senior adults? Are you a strong communicator? If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then social work might be in your future.
However, be aware that social work can be emotionally and psychologically taxing. Social workers spend much of their time dealing with struggles and suffering. You may have to help a child who is being abused and help a terminally ill elderly patient in the same day. If you are up for such challenges, then the world of social work will welcome you!
High School Classes Needed for a Social Work Degree in College:
- 4 English Credits
- 3 Math Credits
- 3 Science Credits
- 3 Social Study Credits
- 2 Foreign Language Credits (More would be even better. Spanish is a good choice.)
- If your high school offers the following courses, take advantage!
- AP Psychology
- AP Spanish Language
- AP Spanish Literature and Culture
Common Social Work Courses in College:
- Abnormal Psychology
- Environmental Psychology
- Human Behavior and the Social Environment
- Contemporary Issues in Diversity and Pluralism
- Behavior Modification
- Problems of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Psychosocial Aspects of Disability
- Social Welfare Policy and Issues
- Horticultural Therapy
- Methods of Social Work Research
- In the field practicum
Similar Degree Programs You Might Want to Explore:
- Anthropology: the study of humankind, societies, and cultures
- Criminal Justice: the study of how society responds to criminal behavior
- Gerontology: the study of human aging
- Occupational Therapy: the study of how to use specific activities to treat and rehabilitate injured, ill, or disabled people
- Political Science: the study of government and politics
- Psychology: the study of the human mind and human behavior
- Sociology: the study of societies and human social behavior
Social Work Careers:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work majors are in luck: social work job opportunities are expected to increase over the next ten years.
A Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) will qualify you for entry-level positions. Many BSWs choose to get their Master of Social Work (MSW), which qualifies you for more employment opportunities. If you want to work one on one with patients, or if you want to work in social work administration, you may need a master’s degree.
Many Bachelor of Arts in Social Work graduates work for public organizations (e.g., Department of Human Services, Department of Mental Health, community centers, public schools). Still, there are also opportunities with private organizations (e.g., rehabilitation centers, day care centers, hospitals, adoption agencies).
Here are some specific examples of social work job descriptions:
- Managing a behavior lab at a public high school
- Working in a homeless shelter
- Counseling students at an elementary school
- Doing home inspections for a foster care agency
- Working in a probation office
- Assisting parents within an adoption agency
- Helping people overcome addiction in a rehab facility
- Helping families through hospice care
- Working in a prison