What does a social worker do?

Social workers work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. They provide counseling and services to clients and work to improve social conditions. They often work with persons who are homeless, unemployed, disabled, seriously ill, mentally ill, or handicapped. They assist people of all ages with emotional and physical illness, behavior management, substance abuse, child/spouse abuse, and other issues.

What might a social worker do in a workday?

  • interview and counsel individuals, families, and groups regarding their concerns.
  • assess needs and then plan, develop, implement, oversee, and evaluate programs and activities designed to meet those needs.
  • help people obtain community services, education, and job training.
  • refer clients to other professional or community resources.
  • coordinate or work with civic, religious, business and union organizations to combat social problems through community programs.
  • advocate positive social and institutional change.

Developing a career as a social worker?

Social workers may specialize in areas such as health care; mental health; occupational, family and child welfare; adult and juvenile justice; aging studies; school social work; substance abuse; or physical disability. Social workers find employment in a variety of settings, such as agency offices, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, group homes, learning centers, schools, prisons, businesses, or courts of law. Some work independently, while others practice as part of treatment teams that include physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, therapists, teachers, clergy, and other professionals.

How much does a social worker earn?

  • $26,000 - $60,000

How do I become a social worker?

Students interested in becoming social workers should prepare by taking the most challenging high school courses available in science, English and math, including advanced placement courses.

Social workers must earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited school of social work. In order to become licensed in Virginia, two years of post-master’s (M.S.W.) work experience and a passing score on an examination must be completed.

Where else can I learn about becoming a social worker?

National Association of Social Workers, Virginia Chapter
5511 Staples Mill Road, Suite 303 / Richmond, VA  23228
tel:  804-204-1339 / web:  http://www.naswva.org

National Association of Social Workers
750 First St, NE, Suite 700 / Washington, DC  200002-4241
tel:  202-408-8600 / web:  http://www.socialworkers.org

State License Requirements for Social Workers:

A license is required to practice social work in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information on licensure, applications, and forms, visit www.dhp.virginia.gov/social.

Board of Social Work
Perimeter Center
9960 Maryland Dr, Suite 300 / Henrico, VA  23233-1463
tel:  804-367-4441

Educational Institutions in Virginia for Social Work: