Department of Social Work and Human Services

Social Work Careers

What is a social worker?


A social worker is an individual who is interested in working with people and wants to make a difference on a variety of levels. Those in the social work profession strive to make things better in the world and assist individuals, families, and their communities. The social work profession is over 100 years old and has its own body of knowledge, ethics, and practice standards. All of these aspects are in place to help guide social workers in their efforts and distinguish social work from other service oriented professions. 


What do social workers do?


Image of a Social WorkerSocial workers empower individuals to function at the optimal level within their environment.  In preparation for the future, they assist these individuals by providing skills to overcome challenges and improve their lives. They help connect individuals with resources, engage in research to investigate social issues, and create programs to address problems. Social workers counsel individuals and groups by facilitating communication. Some of the recurring issues that social workers address include poverty, stress, discrimination, addiction, abuse, physical and mental illness, unemployment, divorce, disability, and death.  Social workers strive to prevent these obstacles from negatively impacting individuals and communities.


Image of a Social WorkerWhat types of job titles do they hold and in what settings do they work?


The three main types of social workers include: child, family, and school social workers; medical and public health social workers; and mental health and Addiction Treatment Services social workers. Managers, supervisors, administrators, educators, therapists, and researchers are just a few of the job titles held by social workers. They can also be found working at different levels of the government and even serving as political leaders. Some of the most prevalent settings that social workers can be found are hospitals, schools, universities, police departments, courts, senior centers, public social agencies, veterans’ hospitals, prisons, non profit agencies, private practices, and military bases.


KSU Career Services


For more information on careers in the Social Work Profession, please visit The Career Services Center at KSU.