7 Things the Public May Not Know About Social Work

  1. They get around!

Many different practices within the field of social work require that social workers be able to travel from place to place, doing their job in various settings.  Depending on their specific practice, social workers may find themselves in environments such as offices, hospitals, homes, etc. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 1-4)


  1. There are a lot of them!

“According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2001) over 826,000 U.S. citizens call their occupation social work, which is more people than the population of Alaska, Delaware, North or South Dakota, or Wyoming.”  (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 4)


  1. Wait, it deals with what now?

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Many people realize that social work encompasses disciplines like psychology and sociology, but may not realize that it can also delve into subjects like nursing or public administration. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 10-14)


  1. This is NOT a man’s world!

Women make up a majority of the social workers in the United States, accounting for 83% of the work force and 70% of all awarded doctorate degrees. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 18-19)


  1. Ironic racial “diversity”

For a group of people that see themselves as agents for change, social workers are mostly Caucasian.  According to “Racial/ethnic distribution of active licensed social workers and the U.S. population, 2004” the workforce is composed of 86% white or non-hispanic people, despite the fact that they only make up 68% of the United States population. Nearly every minority group depicted in the figure seems to be misrepresented in the workforce. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 23-24)


  1. Are Social Workers getting worse?

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It’s been suggested that due to the critical need for a larger workforce, many states and schools have begun implementing “low-quality programs at all degree levels, resulting in a surplus of social workers and educators of dubious competence, and a reduction in social work salaries to levels that cause some of the best and brightest to leave the profession.” (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 26)


  1. They’re “jack’s of all trades”

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Social workers must understand several theories and their respective practices, as well as being able to use the appropriate ones in a given situation.  There are 6 theories that are taught universally throught social work programs, but far more that are used across the country. (Dinitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 31-32)



DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a
challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books

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