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What is Social Work?

Social Work is an applied field, offering a scientifically-grounded, value-based approach to human services. Social workers work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, mental health, juvenile justice, and perform a variety of tasks such as case management, client advocacy, and counseling. The profession of social work extends back to the late 19th Century, when various individuals and groups began applying a unique perspective and orientation to address the social problems of the time. BSW StudentsBSW Students While Mary Richmond and Jane Addams, two of the Founding Mothers of Social Work, had different approaches, each saw the importance of the interplay between individuals and their environment for understanding and ameliorating individually-felt social problems. This foundation of the person-in-environment perspective establishes the special contribution that social work and social workers have in our society. It is an exciting field, to study, to develop, and to practice.

Why a BSW Degree?

Social work offers the intellectually curious a program to explore the complexities of social and individual assets and problems, as well as solutions to these problems. Student WorksIt also offers strategies for intervention at all levels (the individual, the small group, and the society) in order to help ameliorate individual and social problems.
BSW programs focus on preparing a generalist social worker so that graduates are prepared to work with a variety of clients in a variety of settings. Baccalaureate-level social workers work in a variety of settings ranging from schools to child welfare to mental health services and offer services including case management, client advocacy, and counseling interventions.
Social work is a field in demand. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States. The profession is expected to grow by 30% by 2010, but a recent study by the National Association of Social Workers indicates that at current levels, social work programs will not be able to adequately supply these workforce needs. In January 2007, we contacted a diverse set of local agencies, including several of Houston’s largest social service organizations. These agencies serve a variety of populations with services including shelter and support for Houston’s homeless, counseling and support for families in crisis, educational and community support for immigrants, mentoring services for African American and Hispanic American boys, and alcohol and drug treatment for adults and adolescents . We asked these agencies to consider current and future needs for bachelors-level social workers in Houston. All of them indicated that the BSW would be a valuable degree for employment with their organization. The majority indicated that within the next 15 years, Houston would have a high need for BSWs, and all responded that a BSW program at UHD would benefit the city of Houston.

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Last updated or reviewed on 11/25/13

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