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: