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Social Work: Careers in Social Work

What it takes to be a social worker

In assessing your interest in and suitability for social work, consider the following general issues and questions (Morales, Sheafor, & Scott, 2012):

  • Commitment to humanity despite challenging social and economic conditions: Are you passionate about social change and social and economic justice?...
  • Self-awareness: 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 diverse backgrounds?
  • Adherence to professional values and ethics: Are you willing to adhere to the National Association of Social Worker’s (NASW) Code of Ethics...?...Do you believe in the worth and dignity of every human being?...
  • Commitment to diversity in all its forms: 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 religion?
  • Collaborative working style: In addressing the issue at hand, are you willing to share power and work in partnership with those you serve?...
  • Commitment to confidentiality: Are you committed to confidentiality and showing respect for other’s rights to privacy?...
  • Superior interpersonal skills: Do you employ, or are you willing to develop, problem-solving and decision-making skills?...
  • Excellent analytical and communication skills: Are you willing to develop excellent analytical, organizational, and communications skills to use in your practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities?...
  • Flexibility and balance: Can you willingly work unorthodox hours while maintaining a healthy balance between your professional and personal lives?...
  • Lifelong learning: Are you committed to lifelong learning, keeping abreast of current literature, evaluating your own practice, and contributing knowledge to the profession?...

    Dr. Jessica A. Ritter, B. M., PhD, & Dr. Halaevalu F.O. Vakalahi, P. (2015). 101 Careers in Social Work, Second Edition: Vol. Second Edition. Springer Publishing Company.

Further Readings

Social Work Careers

  • Child Protection Caseworker 

  • Intake Worker 

  • CPS Investigator 

  • Family Preservation Caseworker 

  • Substitute Care Caseworker 

  • Foster Care and Adoption Caseworker 

  • Careers with Private or nonprofit agencies 

  • Careers in Child Welfare Research 

  • Careers with the government 

  • Child Welfare Advocate 

  • Adult Protective Services Caseworker
  • Adult Day Centers
  • Residential Care Case Manager
  • Psychogeriatrics
  • Hospice Social Worker
  • Home Health Social Worker
  • Geriatric Case Manager
  • Disaster and Emergency Management
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Family Violence Counselor
  • Sexual Assault Counselor
  • Policy Advocate
  • Probation Officer
  • Parole Officer
  • Correctional or Detention Officer
  • Correctional Treatment Specialist
  • Juvenile Justice Counselor
  • Gang Prevention Counselor
  • Family Court Social Worker
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Victim Services Specialist
  • Mediation and Conflict Resolution
  • Restorative Justice
  • Forensic Social Work
  • Custody Evaluator
  • Mental Health Evaluator
  • Mitigation Specialist
  • Immigrant, Refugee, and Asylee Resettlement Worker
  • Immigration Policy Advocate
  • Disaster Relief Worker
  • Human Rights Worker
  • International Development Worker
  • United Nations/UNICEF
  • Income Assistance Caseworker / Employment Counselor
  • Poverty Advocate
  • Lobbyist
  • Campaign Worker
  • Legislative Aide
  • Field Organizer
  • Policy Analyst/Researcher
  • Advocacy Organization
  • Legislator or Public Official
  • Community Planner
  • Community Developer
  • Community Organizer
  • Urban Communities
  • Rural Social Worker
  • Government Agency Administrator
  • Executive Director
  • Program Manager
  • Public Relations / Media Relations
  • Volunteer Services Director
  • Ombudsman
  • Animal-assisted social work