Social workers help people, groups and societies realize their full potential; they work primarily with the poor and the sick. Social workers deal with the causes, solutions and impacts of social problems in a way that improves the lives of individuals, families, and classes of society.
Categories of Social Work
There are three different categories of social work. "Macro" social work deals with communities as a whole. "Mezzo" social work involves working with agencies and small organizations. "Micro" social work deals with families and individual clients. The duties of a social worker will vary depending on the setting in which she is employed.
Duties of a Social Worker
Social workers may arrange daycare and place children in foster care or adoptive homes. They may offer families financial guidance, vocational training, medical care and general counseling. Arranging and performing medical, psychiatric and aptitude tests are also duties sometimes carried out by a social worker. Social workers also interview applicants to determine eligibility for public assistance. They evaluate employment, medical and school records and prepare reports based on this information.
Social Work Jobs
Social workers may be hired as caseworkers or casework supervisors. They may work in environments such as schools, delinquency prevention, human services, social welfare policy, medical social work, and child/family social work.
Social Work Associations
There are a few professional associations that are specifically geared towards social workers such as The National Association of Social Workers and The Iowa School Social Workers Association. Internationally there is the Federation of Social Workers and the International Association of Schools of Social work.
Social Work Education
To become a social worker you must have at least your Bachelor's degree, however a Master's degree is recommended. The highest form of education that you can achieve as a social worker is a PhD. College majors that you may consider include social work, psychology, sociology, and children and family services.
Social Work Skills
In order to become a social worker you must have the following skills:
-good reading comprehension
-good listening, writing, and speaking skills
-ability to think critically
-ability to monitor other people
In addition to these basic skills, as a social worker you will be required to counsel and advise others, use computers to record and analyze data, plan and give information, prepare case reports and provide social services.
In terms of personal attributes, a good social worker has a high level of patience, is extremely compassionate, has good interpersonal skills, and has the need or urge to help others.