It takes special people to have careers in social work. By being compassionate, problem-solving critical thinkers, social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. If you enjoy helping people, have a lot of sympathy and like to find ways to solve problems, then you should consider a career in social work.
What skills will I develop while studying social work?
A student in the social work department will acquire multiple skills through both in-class studies and out-of-classroom experiences. A few skills that a student in social work will develop are communication, critical thinking, creative problem solving and a focus on social justice such as anti-oppressive and anti-racist practices. Social workers are compassionate and creative problem-solvers who are employed in human-service settings.
What courses will I take?
There are plenty of social work courses that prepare students to step into life-time careers of helping people. These jobs could be in either public or private counseling settings. Popular courses in the social work department include: Introduction to Social Work, Social and Economic Justice, Psychology, Basics of Social Research, Social Work Practice, and so many more.
Social workers who wish to go into a health care or clinical field of social work or desire to have a private practice or supervising position will need to obtain a Master of Social Work (MSW). Find a list of accredited schools who offer an MSW near you!
Check out our blog: Should I get an MSW?
What experiential opportunities are available?
Every social work major gains hands-on experience through hours in field placement in addition to quality classroom instruction. There are multiple field placement opportunities. They include helping aid the aging/elderly, working in behavioral health, performing community outreach, learning about counseling services, creating crisis-victim services, and aiding people with developmental disabilities. Specific places where students typically complete field experience are foster care/child services, hospitals, job and family services, juvenile correction institutions and schools.
What careers could I have with a social work major?
Most agencies prefer or require their social service workers to be licensed. Every state requires some form of legal regulation of social work practice. Ohio requires social workers obtain a license. A bachelor’s degree in social work is needed to be eligible to apply for the license. After earning a license, there are many jobs that someone, especially with a master’s degree in social work, can apply for.
Social workers are employed in human-service settings. These include children’s services, mental health facilities, nursing homes, schools, corrections facilities and rehabilitation clinics. Professional social workers work with children, families, domestic abuse survivors and people addressing mental health issues and substance misuse. There is a lot of variety in the field of social work.
At Bluffton University…
Bluffton’s social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. By being an accredited program and school, our students are eligible to be a licensed social worker at a baccalaureate level. Graduating from an accredited program puts our students in advanced standing for admission into graduate schools of social work including Bluffton’s new MSW program. Plus, Bluffton’s professors understand they are not just teaching students, they are “training future colleagues.”
Visit Bluffton University today to explore our accredited program!
Written by Kaylee Rauch ’26, public relations student assistant and Dr. Walter Paquin, director of social work