What is Social Work?

What is social work?

Do you like to help people? Are you good at maneuvering through complex situations? If so, social work should be on your list of career options! According to the National Association of Social Workers, social work is “a profession devoted to helping people function the best they can in their environment” and Bureau of Labor Statistics adds “Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives.” 

Social work professionals are found in a wide variety of environments, from hospitals and universities to communities of all types.


Social workers share a commitment to

  • promoting social welfare,

  • ​helping people of all backgrounds overcome their unique challenges,

  • advocating for social and economic justice for all members of the community, and

  • embodying a professional code of ethics.



John Cocco, a current doctoral social work student, answers the question “What is social work?” in this short video.



Three Types of Social Work Practice:

  • Micro-level practice: Work directly with individuals and help them cope with their situations.
  • Mezzo-level practice: Work with groups instead of individual clients.
  • ​Macro-level practice: Lead and establish social change on a large scale through organizing, policy change, and administration.