What is Social Work?

Social work is a helping profession – guided by Codes of Ethics – that values diversity, justice, empowerment, and advocacy for all persons, especially the vulnerable, poor, and oppressed. Social workers are change agents, working to improve the quality of life for all people. A career in social work provides professionals the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including (but not limited to) mental health, health care, child and family services, schools, public policy, gerontology, and corrections.

The minimum requirement to practice social work is a bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSSW) and a bachelor’s level social work license (LBSW). The BSSW prepares graduates for entry-level generalist social work practice, including case work and direct-care.

The Master’s degree in Social Work (MSSW) prepares graduates for advanced professional social work practice, including counseling or therapy, case management, advocacy, community organization, research and supervision. To practice social work on the master’s level, a master’s level social work license (LMSW) is required in most states.