Social work attracts people who want to spend their careers focused on improving the lives of others, especially those from poorer and underrepresented communities. Earning a bachelor of social work opens the door to working with those in need, an increasingly important job in a diverse society where the number of people facing challenges continues to grow.

The federal government estimates that almost 38 million people live in poverty in the United States. The number of people living in poverty above 65 has increased in the last few years. While this represents 11.6% of the population in need of social services, it does not include all those who social workers support.

Some social workers specialize in working with people from various socio-economic backgrounds. Those specialties include mental health, the justice system, substance abuse, spousal abuse, and healthcare.

Students in a bachelor of social work degree program may choose courses that concentrate on their specific areas of interest.

What Does a Social Worker Do?

As the world becomes more complex and interconnected,  numerous challenges and issues affect individuals and communities on a daily basis. When faced with adversity, many people seek assistance and support to navigate difficult situations. This is where social workers step in, providing crucial aid and guidance to individuals, families, and communities in need.

Social work is a profession focused on improving well-being and quality of life. Social workers strive to address social problems, promote social justice, and empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives. They work in various settings, including hospitals, schools, mental health clinics, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

One of the primary responsibilities of a social worker is to assess the needs and challenges faced by individuals and families. They conduct thorough evaluations, considering physical, emotional, and social factors, to develop personalized intervention plans. Social workers provide counseling, emotional support, and guidance to help clients cope with personal difficulties such as relationship issues, mental health concerns, addiction, or financial problems.

Areas of Specialty for Social Workers

The skills and knowledge learned in a bachelor of social work program apply to jobs with various organizations. The demand for people with these skills drives a job growth rate over the next decade that far outstrips the average growth rate for all jobs in the United States.

For example, social workers play a crucial role in protecting the well-being of children and families. They work closely with child protective services to investigate cases of abuse or neglect. Social workers also assist families in crises, offering resources and services to help improve parenting skills, family dynamics, and overall functioning.

In healthcare, social workers contribute to well-being by helping patients and families navigate the complexities of the healthcare system. That aid includes connecting them to financial assistance resources or community support. In hospice care, social workers offer emotional support, assist in end-of-life planning, and provide grief counseling to patients and their families.

Many social workers also work with patients to address mental health and substance abuse issues. They collaborate with psychologists, psychiatrists, and other healthcare professionals to connect patients with counseling, therapy, and support services. They also help facilitate access to rehabilitation programs and community resources for those struggling with substance abuse.

Some social workers may also concentrate on community development by engaging in initiatives that address social inequalities and promote positive change. This area frequently involves social justice and advocacy for underrepresented communities, an idea at the core of all social work. Social workers strive to challenge and change unjust systems and policies perpetuating inequality and discrimination.

The NMU Global Campus Bachelor of Social Work

The online bachelor of social work at NMU Global Campus prepares graduates to apply the skills learned in the program to several specialty areas. They also are ready to further their education and earn a master’s degree, qualifying them for leadership positions in social work.

The flexible online program features both synchronous and asynchronous classes. MNU Global Campus also allows students to transfer as many as 90 previously earned credits toward earning the degree.

Students explore topics that include social welfare policy analysis, human behavior, practicing social work with diverse populations, methods of social research, and generalist methods. Students also participate in two semester-long seminars and two semester-long senior field placements. They graduate ready work in various settings, including schools, hospitals, nonprofits, and local, state, and federal government agencies/

A bachelor of social work degree prepares graduates to build a career spent on uplifting others and helping lead societal change. Some graduates also move on to earn a Master of Social Work. Their commitment to empowering others, fostering resilience, and addressing social issues makes them invaluable in an ever-evolving society.