National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with 150,000 members. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies.
How to Become a Social Worker
Elizabeth Hoffler of the National Association of Social Workers provides an overview of the social work profession. Every social worker is uniquely qualified to help people right in their own environment, by looking at all the different aspects of their life and culture. They work to ensure your personal well-being, prevent crises and to counsel individuals, families, and communities.
Elizabeth Hoffler: Hi! I am Elizabeth Hoffler, MSW and ACSW. I am a social worker, a lobbyist, and a special assistant to the Executive Director at the National Association of Social Workers. Today we are going to be talking about becoming a social worker. Social work is the helping profession. The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. We often deal with complex human needs. Social work is different from other professions, because we focus on the person and environment. We deal with the external factors that impact a person's situation and outlook. And social workers create opportunity for assessment and intervention, to help clients and communities cope effectively with their reality and change that reality when necessary.
In thousands of ways social workers help other people; people from every age, every background, across the country. Wherever we are needed, social workers help. The most well-known aspect of the social work profession is that of a social safety net. We help guide people to critical resources and counsel them on life-changing decisions. There are more than 600,000 professional social workers in the country, and we all either have a Bachelor's Degree, a Master's Degree, or a PhD in Social Work. There are more clinically trained social workers than clinically trained psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses combined.
Throughout this series you will learn more about the social work profession, the necessary steps to get a social work degree, the rich history of social work, and the many ways that social workers help others. Later in this series, you will hear from Stacy Collins and Mel Wilson, fellow social workers at NASW. Stacy is going to walk you through the step-by-step process of becoming a social worker, and Mel will tell you about the range of options you have once you get your social work degree, as well as the high standards of responsibility the social workers must adhere to.
NASW represents nearly 145,000 social workers across the country. Our mission is to promote, protect, and advance the social work profession. We hope you enjoy this series about how you can make a difference by becoming a social worker. Next, we are going to talk about choosing social work.