Social Work prepares individuals for the professional practice of social welfare administration and counseling, and that focus on the study of organized means of providing basic support services for vulnerable individuals and groups. Includes instruction in social welfare policy; case work planning; social counseling and intervention strategies; administrative procedures and regulations; and specific applications in areas such as child welfare and family services, probation, employment services, and disability counseling.
Is Social Work Major right for you? Take the free College Major Quiz to find out. Start Now >
What kind of students major in Social Work?
Individuals who enjoy helping and empowering people who are dealing with such issues as personal or family dysfunctionality, will enjoy this major. Through positive acts like therapy and positive intervention, these issues can be remedied and even prevented from occurring if they are caught in time. Individuals in this major are usually outgoing, energetic, and very friendly and people oriented.
Colleges offering a Social Work Major:
Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree usually needed for a career in Social Work.
What courses do most students take in college?
The required and elective courses you would take for Social Work majors vary considerably among institutions. Courses are listed here that are illustrative of the breadth of topics you are likely to experience were you to major in this field.
- Alcohol and Drug Addictions
- Behavior and the Social Environment
- Child Welfare
- Contemporary Gender Issues
- Development of the Social Welfare System
- Human Diversity
- Introduction to Helping Professions
- Introduction to Non Verbal Therapies
- Sexual Issues for the Helping Individual
- Social Welfare Policy
- Social Work with Families & Groups
- Social Work with Individuals
- The Field of Social Work
What are your future career options as a Social Work Major?
- Child, Family, and School Social Workers
- Counselors, All Other
- Healthcare Social Workers
- Marriage and Family Therapists
- Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
- Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
- Social and Community Service Managers
- Social Work Teachers, Postsecondary
- Social Workers, All Other
What does a Social Workers do in their day to day career?
- Counsel individuals, groups, families, or communities regarding issues including mental health, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, physical abuse, rehabilitation, social adjustment, child care, or medical care.
- Interview clients individually, in families, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems, to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
- Provide, find, or arrange for support services, such as child care, homemaker service, prenatal care, substance abuse treatment, job training, counseling, or parenting classes, to prevent more serious problems from developing.
- Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics, courts, protective services, doctors, and other contacts, to help children who face problems such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
- Develop and review service plans in consultation with clients, and perform follow-ups assessing the quantity and quality of services provided.
- Counsel parents with child rearing problems, interviewing the child and family to determine whether further action is required.
- Arrange for medical, psychiatric, and other tests that may disclose causes of difficulties and indicate remedial measures.
- Refer clients to community resources for services such as job placement, debt counseling, legal aid, housing, medical treatment, or financial assistance, and provide concrete information, such as where to go and how to apply.
- Maintain case history records and prepare reports.
- Collect supplementary information needed to assist client, such as employment records, medical records, or school reports.
What work activities are required of most Social Workers?
|Getting Information – Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.|
|Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates – Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.|
|Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others – Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.|
|Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work – Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.|
|Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships – Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.|
Required skills for most Social Workers:
|Active Listening – Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.|
|Speaking – Talking to others to convey information effectively.|
|Reading Comprehension – Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.|
|Social Perceptiveness – Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.|
|Service Orientation – Actively looking for ways to help people.|
|Monitoring – Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.|
|Critical Thinking – Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.|
|Writing – Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.|
|Complex Problem Solving – Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.|
|Judgment and Decision Making – Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.|
Required knowledge for most Social Workers:
|Therapy and Counseling – Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.|
|Psychology – Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.|
|English Language – Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.|
|Sociology and Anthropology – Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.|
|Customer and Personal Service – Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.|
|Law and Government – Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.|
Work styles for Social Workers:
|Concern for Others – Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.|
|Self Control – Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.|
|Adaptability/Flexibility – Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.|
|Cooperation – Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.|
|Stress Tolerance – Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.|
There are many professional associations to further your career based on your specific career path:
Gaining experience and internships is vital to receiving a job after graduation. Listen to a student’s advice about their education:
Have any tips for future Social Work Majors? Add a comment below or share with any aspiring students.