What is social work?

There are many facets to social work, so it is difficult to provide a concise definition of the field.  The National Association of Social Workers (2011) defines social work as:

a profession for those with a strong desire to help improve people’s lives.¬† Social workers assist people by helping them cope with issues in their everyday lives, deal with their relationships, and solve personal and family problems.¬† Some social workers help clients who face a disability or a life-threatening disease or a social problem, such as inadequate housing, unemployment, or substance abuse.¬† Social workers also assist families that have serious domestic conflicts, sometimes involving child or spousal abuse.¬† Some social workers conduct research, advocate for improved services, engage in systems design or are involved in planning or policy development.¬† Many social workers specialize in serving a particular population or working in a specific setting.


For other perspectives on the profession of social work, please click on the following:

NASW, Social Work Profession:


International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), Definition of Social Work:


Bureau of Labor Statistics, Community and Social Services: Social Workers: