Individuals who pursue social work degrees are ready to make a difference in the lives of others and improve their communities. In fact, social work is a helping profession with a clear code of ethics and a mission to empower clients while addressing both private issues and public concerns. Social workers work closely with those who are disadvantaged to enhance their well-being, assisting them in meeting basic needs. Social workers interact with people who are vulnerable, oppressed and impoverished. The combination of addressing individual and community problems defines social work. Its focus is on improving the lives of clients within the context of society as a whole, promoting social justice and social change.
Though many social workers carry out their work in community centers and clinics, there are options for those who are looking to branch out. The following social work settings are ideal for those seeking a unique setting in which to practice.
According to the National Association of Social Workers, more than 600,000 inmates are released from prison annually in the United States. Social workers can help these individuals with navigating the social services system and avoiding relapse into crime. Correctional social workers are trained mental health professionals who are employed within the criminal justice system. They work to reduce re-arrest rates, using their knowledge and skills to lessen the risk of recidivism. Addressing psychosocial issues, educating and providing social service recommendations are all part of what corrections social workers do. These steps allow individuals to successfully rejoin the community after release.
Social workers who specialize in adoption, placing children who have been legally separated from their birth parents with a new family, work in adoption agencies or government organizations. Their responsibilities include facilitating domestic and international adoptions, understanding the legal requirements for each case and assisting social service organizations to legally advocate for children.
School social workers focus on the well-being of students, both psychological and social. Depending on specialty, they can work with students ranging from elementary school through college. By providing students with information and counseling, school social workers can solve problems related to communication, interpersonal relationships with peers and issues at home. School social workers can also provide referrals to other resources, as well as help students, parents and faculty to work together to cope with personal and psychological issues that could affect school performance.
As the newly emerging field of forensic social work becomes more central to court cases and the criminal justice system, professionals trained to understand the legal system are in demand. This type of social worker is usually employed within court systems, child and family agencies, substance abuse treatment centers, correctional facilities and more. The National Organization of Forensic Social Work defines the field as the “application of social work principles to questions and issues relating to law and legal systems.” These professionals provide expert consultation to law enforcement personnel, lawmakers, attorneys, paralegals and more.
Your Social Work Career Begins With Brescia
The online social work degree from Brescia University is designed to provide a high-quality education in social work theory and practice. As an online degree program, it gives you the knowledge and skills required to begin your social work education. It also features opportunities for practical application, helping you gain the experience needed to move on to graduate study. Learn more about BUOnline’s social work program by visiting online.brescia.edu.