What is Social Work?

Social work is the professional activity of helping individuals, groups, or communities enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions favorable to this goal. Social work practice consists of the professional application of social work values, principles, and techniques to one or more of the following ends:

  1. helping people obtain tangible services;
  2. providing counseling and psychotherapy to individuals, families, and groups;
  3. helping communities or groups provide or improve social and health services; and
  4. participating in relevant legislative processes.

Social Workers work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, senior centers, elected office, private practices, prisons, military, and corporations as well as a variety of other public and private agencies that serve individuals and families in need. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Social Work is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States.