A Career in Social Work

Social Workers Make a Difference!

They help individuals, families, groups and communities to realize their potential and assist people to enjoy full, active and creative lives. They work to create social and environmental conditions to enhance quality of life and to develop the full potential of each individual, group and community in society.

Social workers are advocates, counselors, policy analysts, administrators, activists, facilitators, mediators, organizers and researchers. They:

  • work with individuals, families, groups and communities to shape and change the conditions in which they live
  • advocate for disadvantaged members of society
  • work towards the elimination of structural inequalities in society to facilitate a more equitable distribution of social, economic and political resources
  • engage in research to build our knowledge base and understanding of society
  • analyze, challenge and develop social policies

The social work profession is based on a commitment to social justice, equity, respect for diversity and critical thinking.

A Multi-faceted Profession

Social workers apply their skills to a wide range of concerns. People most often associate social work with services to the disadvantaged members of society. That is only one dimension of their work. Social workers also work with people with physical or mental health concerns, with families in crisis, street youth, seniors, criminal offenders, victims of trauma, and so on. Working with individuals, families and groups, however, is only part of the picture.

Many social workers work on a larger scale, providing services to improve social conditions and plan for better communities. Others are trained in social policy and work to plan or improve social programs and benefits for the nation’s or province’s citizens. Many social workers specialize in research, studying such problems as those related to family issues, child abuse, poverty and unemployment.

Social Workers Practice in Diverse Settings

Social workers practice as counsellors and administrators in child welfare settings, family service agencies, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, mental health organizations, community care facilities, addiction programs, treatment centres, employee assistance programs, community living agencies, and other similar organizations.

Community organizers work out of community centres and grassroots social action organizations. Social workers specializing in social policy and planning most often work in government or for associations such as planning councils. Social work researchers will practice in universities, government departments and social agencies. Some social workers are self-employed, offering counseling, consultative and other services directly to the public or to workplaces on a fee-for-service basis, or contracting their services to organizations.

See some of our current job postings to gain an idea of the types of jobs available in the social work field.


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