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.
Possible Job Titles
*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
- 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
- Child welfare organizations
- Adoption agencies
- Foster care agencies
- Daycare providers
- Government agencies
- Nursing facilities
- Health departments
- Individual and family services agencies
- Treatment facilities
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
- Maintaining records
- Developing project designs
- 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
(Listed below are examples of SU Alumni and their Jobs in this major-For more alumni resources, go to Mentor Network)
||Child Protective Services Investigator
||Department of Social Services Anne Arundel County
||Learning Support Specialist
||Somerset County Public Schools
||Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
||Social Worker Supervisor
||State Of Delaware-DHSS
Related Links: Further Explore this Career Field
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:
Clinical Psychology vs. Social Work