Female student at a policy and practice class

What is Social Work?

Social Work is the profession of caring and intervening in the interactions between individuals, groups, and communities to enhance or restore well-being, and create societal conditions that help individuals, groups, and communities enhance their own well-being. Social workers select, use, and develop interventions based on the best available evidence.

More about Social Work*

  • Social workers are trained professionals who have a BSW, MSW, or a PhD in social work.
  • All states license or otherwise regulate social work practice. For more information about licensure, go to the Social Work Licensure website.
  • A social service employee, caseworker, or volunteer community worker is not a "social worker" unless he or she has a social work degree.
  • Social workers are America's largest providers of mental health and therapy services.
  • Social workers are often the only mental health care providers serving residents of many poor, rural counties.
  • Social workers practice in many settings: family service agencies, mental health centers, schools, hospitals, corporations, courts, police departments, prisons, public and private agencies, private practice, and as elected officials.

See the link for online resource for students pursuing a Master's degree in Social Work.

*Adapted from Social Work Myth Busters, National Association of Social Workers, Washington, DC.