About Social Work
Why Social Work?
Often considered a rewarding profession, social work can be a fulfilling career path for people who care deeply about diversity, equality, and social justice. From fighting to end child labor in the early 1900s to helping struggling families and communities today, social workers have been changing people’s lives for more than 100 years.
Americans ranging widely in age, educational background, and professional experience have chosen to become social workers for many reasons, including these:
- Social workers build key relationships with others. Social workers experience personal and professional growth as they build relationships with clients and colleagues who share their desire to fight social injustices.
- Social work provides job security and career growth opportunities. Because the number of vulnerable Americans is increasing, employment in the social work field is expected to grow 12 percent by 2024, considered faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Social work makes every day meaningful. More than just a career, social work represents an ongoing commitment to fight for diversity and equality while making a difference for vulnerable populations.
Clinical social work is SocialWork@Simmons’ focus as a single-concentration school. The Simmons online MSW program is a clinical program that trains social workers to work directly with people in one-on-one, small group, or counseling settings. Our graduates help individuals and families address and overcome challenges that range from illness to substance abuse and interpersonal violence.
As you consider whether a degree and career in social work are right for you, we invite you to learn more about the mission, values, trends, and career opportunities that make this one of the nation’s fastest-growing and most rewarding professions.
Our students, faculty, and the social work community at Simmons College choose social work for many different reasons:
- “I decided to become a social worker to honor the life and legacy of my son who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 16 months old. Specifically, I became a social worker in order to effectively advocate for those in our society who are most often overlooked so that they might have a voice in order to influence our policymakers. While my passion is advocating for children with special health needs, as a policy practitioner, I also have the opportunity to work on issues that improve the lives of marginalized and oppressed groups such as the working poor and immigrant communities. “ – Kathryn Audette, Adjunct Faculty, SocialWork@Simmons
- “After practicing law for 20 years, I decided to pursue my MSW to be able to make a meaningful difference in the lives of my clients. Complete client advocacy includes promoting social justice and helping to empower clients to make a meaningful difference in their own lives.” – Kimberly Matthews, SocialWork@Simmons Student
Visit our Why I Do It page to learn even more reasons that the Simmons Social Work community has chosen this field.
What Do Social Workers Do?
Through direct services, advocacy, or social service leadership, social workers help individuals, families, and communities address the following challenges:
- addiction and mental health disparities
- domestic violence
- illness or disability
Social workers provide key services within various social settings, including community health centers, hospice care, hospitals, prisons, schools, senior centers, and substance abuse and mental health clinics.
Among the helping professions, social work is unique in its emphasis on challenging social injustice and empowering people to function more effectively within their own environments.
Qualities of a Social Worker
Social workers are expected to uphold core values that ensure the best possible outcomes for their clients. Successful social workers commit to these values:
Serve others, helping individuals in need and addressing social problems.
Challenge social injustice, pursuing social change on behalf of oppressed individuals and groups.
Respect the dignity and worth of every person, regardless of differences.
Recognize the central importance of human relationships, working to strengthen relationships that empower people and promote change.
Act with integrity, consistent with the profession’s mission, values, and principles.
Practice within your area of competence, continuously striving to develop your professional expertise.
Choosing Between Social Work and Other Helping Professions
People who are interested in helping others also may be considering a master’s degree in counseling or psychology. Here are the characteristics that distinguish social work from the other helping professions.
Social work is: