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Social Work

Page Index:Social Work

Academic Information:

What is Social Work?

Social work is a profession devoted to helping people function the best they can in their environment. Social workers are people who care about people who want to make a difference. The Social Work Department began in 1974 to serve the needs of Maryland and the neighboring states, and since then it has grown to include the dual-degree program with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 1990 and a new Master of Social Work Program launched in 2001. In 2006, the Department expanded to include satellite programs at Cecil College Northeast campus, the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center at Chesapeake College, and the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown and in 2013 to the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California, Maryland. All of SU's undergraduate and graduate social work programs are fully accredited by the Council of Social Work Education, a must for earning licensure.

Career Information

Possible Job Titles

  • Health and Human Services
  • Foster parent
  • Public health educator*
  • Advocate (e.g. children, ethnic group members, aging)
  • Genetic counselor*
  • Physician*
  • Transplant registry database manager*
  • Job counselor
  • Health-service administrator*
  • Drug/alcohol abuse counselor
  • Crisis center director
  • Clergy
  • Rehabilitation specialist*
  • Geriatric care specialist
  • Adoption service counselor
  • Adult Probation Officer
  • Eligibility Worker
  • Patient Advocate
  • Benefits Specialist
  • Employment Specialist
  • Probation/Parole Officer
  • Case Manager
  • Family Caseworker
  • Psychiatric Social Worker*
  • Casework Supervisor*
  • Family Service Worker
  • Public Health Social Worker
  • Child Welfare Worker
  • FEMA Applicant Assistance Officer
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Clergy
  • Foster Care / Adoption Agent
  • Researcher
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Geriatric Social Worker
  • Residential Counselor
  • Community Organization Worker
  • Housing Advocate
  • Residential Foster Parent
  • Community Services Board Director*
  • Hospice Director*
  • School Social Worker
  • Community Social Worker
  • Industrial Social Worker
  • Services Coordinator
  • Community Volunteer Coordinator
  • Juvenile Probation Counselor
  • Social Group Worker
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Learning Center Director*
  • Social Welfare Administrator*
  • Correctional Case Manager
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Social Work Educator*
  • Criminologist*
  • Mental Health Counselor*
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Direct Service Coordinator*
  • Outreach Coordinator*
  • Youth Service Coordinator


  • Agency Director
  • Deputy Director
  • International Social Worker
  • Aging/Gerontology
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Manager/Administrator
  • Child Welfare/Children's Services
  • Eligibility Specialist
  • Mental /Clinical Social Worker
  • Case Worker
  • Executive Director
  • Policy & Planning Specialist
  • Community Org. Dir.


  • Guidance counselor*
  • Bilingual/bicultural program specialist
  • Vocational teacher (of adults)
  • Academic advisor/counselor*
  • Teacher of English as a second language (ESL)
  • Demographer
  • Editor
  • College administrator*
  • Compensation analyst*
  • Collections manager
  • Foundation program manager
  • Marketing researcher
  • Media planner
  • Corporate trainer
  • Student services director*
  • Affirmative action representative
  • School social worker

Government/Public Service

  • Friend of the Court caseworker
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs researcher*
  • Probation officer
  • Public interest group director
  • Grants coordinator
  • Attorney*
  • Congressional committee staff director
  • Coroner/medical examiner*
  • Head Start program director
  • State/federal government policy analyst
  • Public administrator*
  • Urban planner
  • Correctional center/program counselor


  • Journalist
  • Industrial psychologist*
  • Employment recruiter
  • Loan officer/bank employee
  • Union legal counsel*
  • Environmental impact assessment researcher
  • Executive search consultant
  • Human resources manager
  • Management consultant
  • Marketing manager
  • Advertising account executive
  • Art director
  • Salesperson
  • Hotel manager


  • Social Worker
  • Policy Advocate
  • Consultant
  • Food Stamp Administrator
  • Policy Analyst
  • School Social Worker
  • Health Care Specialist
  • Program Manager
  • Teacher
  • Supervisor
  • Research Analyst
  • Criminal Justice/Corrections Specialist
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Intake Counselor
  • Employment/Occupational Social Worker

*Denotes need for additional education.

Typical Places of Employment

  • State, county, or municipal government agencies, primarily in departments of human resources, social services, child welfare, mental health, health, housing, education, and corrections.
  • Higher Education
  • Schools
  • Hospitals and other health care settings
  • Mental health and substance use clinics
  • Senior centers and other aging services organizations
  • Private practice
  • Veteran affairs hospitals and outpatient centers
  • Military base family services units
  • Military correctional facilities
  • Community and military base schools
  • Community mental health centers
  • Vocational rehabilitation centers
  • Community-based organizations
  • Social welfare providers
  • Government planning departments
  • Advocacy organizations
  • Political offices
  • Human resource departments
  • Most in the private sector are in voluntary social service agencies, community and religious organizations, hospitals, nursing homes, or home health agencies.
  • Suicidal Units
  • Military hospitals
  • Social services agencies
  • Elected office and policy advocacy organizations
  • Corporations
  • Child welfare organizations
  • Adoption agencies
  • Foster care agencies
  • Daycare providers
  • Government agencies
  • Nursing facilities
  • Health departments
  • Clinics
  • Hospices
  • Individual and family services agencies
  • Treatment facilities
  • Prisons

Required Skills and Abilities

  • Help individuals cope with problems such as inadequate housing, unemployment, lack of job skills, financial mismanagement, serious illness, disability, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancy, or antisocial behavior.
  • Work with families that have serious conflicts, including those involving child or spousal abuse
  • Most social workers specialize in a clinical field such as child welfare and family services, mental health, medical social work, school social work.
  • Clinical social workers offer psychotherapy or counseling and a range of services in public agencies, clinics, as well as in private practice.
  • Other social workers are employed in community organization, administration, or research.
  • Planning long-term projects
  • Recruiting/coordinating research subjects
  • Writing grant proposals
  • Evaluating
  • Maintaining records
  • Developing project designs
  • Interviewing
  • Understanding group dynamics
  • Observing human interactions
  • Recognizing cultural differences/similarities
  • Surveying and sampling
  • Help clients identify their real concerns and help them to consider solutions and find resources.
  • Provide concrete information such as:
    ● Where to go for debt counseling.
    ● How to find child care or elder care.
    ● How to apply for public assistance or other benefits.
    ●How to get an alcoholic or drug addict admitted to a rehabilitation program.
  • Arrange for services in consultation with clients and then follow through to assure the services are actually helpful.
  • Review eligibility requirements, fill out forms and applications, arrange for services, visit clients on a regular basis, and step in during emergencies.
  • Examining data
  • Conducting field studies
  • Applying non-intrusive methods
  • Reaching new conclusions through comparative study
  • Utilizing statistical applications
  • Identifying value systems
  • Gathering and organizing data

Alumni Resources

(Listed below are examples of SU Alumni and their Jobs in this major-For more alumni resources, go to Mentor Network)





Lauren Askew 2008 Child Protective Services Investigator Department of Social Services Anne Arundel County
Leighann Bell 2005 Learning Support Specialist Somerset County Public Schools
Abigal Smith 2006 Social Worker Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
Patricia Millman 1982 Social Worker Supervisor State Of Delaware-DHSS
Amanda Pearson 2004 Social Worker/Bereavement Heartland Hospice

Related Links: Further Explore this Career Field

Professional Associations:

National Association of Social Workers

Clinical Social Work Association

National Association of Perinatal Social Workers

International Federation of Social Workers

National Association of Black Social Workers

National Organization of Forensic Social Work

Association of Oncology Social Workers

Society for Social Work and Research

School Social Work Association of America

Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care

North American Association of Christians in Social Work

National Association of Puerto Rican Hispanic Social Workers

The Network for Social Work Management

Social Workers Helping Social Workers

Council on Social Work Education

American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work

Latino Social Workers Organization

International Association for Social Work with Groups

Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors

Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work

American Public Health Association Social Work Section

The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Social Welfare Action Alliance

American Case Management Association

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Other Career-Related Links:

Certification/Licensing Information

Clinical Psychology vs. Social Work

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