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Social Work Facts: 

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!

 

Social Workers provide leadership to change lives and change society.  Social Workers are professional helpers who graduate from a four-year university after completing a rigorous program of study and also an extensive field experience supervised by a BSW or MSW Field Instructor.  Many people have the wrong idea about what social workers do in their day to day job.  Child Welfare is the most frequently depicted career opportunity in social work - but most social workers actually work in other types of jobs.  There are endless and diverse career paths.  There is currently high demand for social workers in health care, geriatric, and substance abuse settings, but all fields of practice are hiring. 

Social workers are interested in understanding and assisting individuals and environments! Social work focuses on human development, relationships and interactions with the social environment.  It also advocates on behalf of vulnerable and marginalized populations, championing social justice and human rights for all people.

Social Workers work with individuals, families, small groups, organizations and communities!  As an undergraduate student, you will learn the kinowledge and skills necessary, and explore the values and principles to be successful in helping at all of these levels. 

The profession of social work has its own body of knowledge, code of ethics, practice standards, credentials, state licensing, and a nationwide system of accredited education programs. Avila University's Social Work department is one of these accredited education programs, and has been continuously accredited since 1974!

 


 

The following Social Work Facts come from the
National Association of Social Workers web site at www.naswdc.org

  • According to the recent U.S. Census more than 650,000 people held social work degrees in 2010..
  • 320,000 professional social workers hold state licenses that safeguard the public from unqualified workers. For more information about state licensing of social work, contact the Association of Social Work Boards at www.aswb.org.
  • Demand for social workers is on the rise! 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. The profession was expected to grow 25% between 2010 and 2020.
  • Social workers are highly trained and experienced professionals. Only those who have earned social work degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral levels, and competed a minimum number of hours in supervised fieldwork are “professional social workers”.
  • Social Workers help people in all stages of life, from children to elderly, in all situations.
  • Accredited BSW programs require a minimum of 400 hours of supervised field experience. Avila's students complete at least 500 hours of field experience in their program of study.
  • Social Workers counsel people about their situations, then connect them with programs and resources that best match their individual needs and circumstances. Millions of Americans are helped everyday by professional social workers.
  • Social workers help people overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, loss, unemployment, educational problems, disability.
  • 57% of social workers work in public organizations. 25% of social workers work in private settings; 18% in for-profit settings. (CPS 1999)
  • The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs employs more than 10,000 professional social workers to assist veterans and their families with individual and family counseling, patient education, end of life planning, substance abuse treatment, crisis intervention and other services.
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), professional social workers are the nation’s largest group of mental health services providers. There are more clinically trained social workers – over 200,000 – than psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined. Federal law and the National Institutes of Health recognize social work as one of five core mental health professions.
  • Over 40% of mental health professionals who participate in Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resources systems are professional social workers.
  • There are hundresds of social workers in national, state and local elected office, including 2 U.S. Senators and 4 U.S. Representatives. These include: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI), Rep Barbara Lee (CA), and Rep. Susan Davis (CA), Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA), Rep. Niki Tsongas (MA), Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL). 
  • Graduates starting out with a BSW can expect an annual salary ranging up to $40,000 depending on the type of work, experience and geographic factors. A social worker with an MSW degree can expect an annual income ranging to about $50,000. With experience, salaries increase and benefits are generally good.  A few experienced private practitioners and senior administrators earn as much as $100,000 or more.

For additional information about social workers, search the 2012 - 2013 Occupational Outlook Handbook

on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov.
or visit www.socialworkers.org for more information about the profession.