A career in social work

Medical social worker looking after elderly patient

The best measure of a society is how it cares for its weakest members — the poor, the handicapped, the homeless, the sick or the aged. Social work is the profession that addresses these concerns.

What’s this career about?

Social workers are the helping hands of the society. Their main concern is the well-being of people. Through direct counselling, they help clients identify their real concerns and help them to consider solutions and find resources. The role of social workers is not telling people how to run their own lives, rather they help people obtain the resources they need to live with dignity. At the same time, they are committed to making society more responsive to people’s needs.

The duties performed by them vary depending on the settings in which they work. Social workers in child welfare or family services may counsel children and youth who have difficulty in adjusting socially, advise parents on how to care for disabled children, or arrange for domestic services during a parent’s illness. Medical social workers help patients and their families cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses and handle problems that may stand in the way of recovery or rehabilitation. They may organize support groups for families of patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, or other diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy.

Mental health social workers provide services for persons with mental or emotional problems, such as individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and training in skills of everyday living. They may also help plan for supportive services to ease patients’ return to the community. School social workers diagnose students’ problems and arrange needed services, counsel children in trouble, and help integrate disabled students into the general school population. Social workers in criminal justice make recommendations to courts, and provide services for prison inmates and their families.

In earlier days, social work generally was considered as work done in an honorary capacity for society and was conveyed as ‘service to human being is service to God.’ Now with the changing social atmosphere, social work is being increasingly taken as a full-fledged whole time paid job. The usual line of development for a social worker is to start as a caseworker, advance to supervisory position and eventually become an administrator in a public or private social agency.

PLUS!

  • How do I get there?
  • Key skills
  • Institutes
  • Employment prospects and pay packages
  • Hot locations

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Dr Vibha Gupta

Dr Vibha Gupta

Dr Vibha Gupta is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. Her book 'Careers: A Pathfinder' and articles in various publications attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.
Dr Vibha Gupta

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Dr Vibha Gupta

Dr Vibha Gupta is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. Her book ‘Careers: A Pathfinder’ and articles in various publications attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.