Consider Making Social Work Your Calling in Life
Social work is a highly rewarding field, often considered the cornerstone of social change and community welfare. If you’re passionate about advocacy, social justice, and improving lives, then studying to become a social worker may be your calling. Social work isn’t just a job; it’s a commitment to bettering the lives of individuals and communities.
Why Study Social Work?
Studying social work in college equips you with the necessary knowledge and skills to become a competent and effective social worker. A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is typically the minimum requirement to start a career in social work. However, many positions, particularly in clinical settings, require a master’s degree in social work (MSW).
The Need for Black Social Workers
The need for Black social workers is crucial, as social workers play a vital role in addressing their community’s unique challenges at individual and policy levels. Black social workers can further offer culturally sensitive approaches, build trust, and provide a sense of understanding and relatability that can be especially meaningful to Black clients.
Social work professionals of color can serve as role models and advocates in a system that often lacks representation of Black professionals. The results of a 2019 survey released by the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity at George Washington University found that more than 22% of new social workers are Black. But equity is still a far way off. Having more Black social workers can lead to more inclusive and effective services and help challenge and change systemic biases in the social work field..
Career Opportunities for Social Workers
The field of social work is diverse in its opportunities. Social workers can be found in hospitals, helping people cope with chronic illness. They also provide therapy and help prevent students from dropping out of school. They can also be found in prisons, helping inmates re-enter communities, and providing rehabilitative support in drug and alcohol centers.
In addition, social workers benefit from working in a growing field: experts project a 13% employment growth rate for social workers between 2019 and 2029, outpacing the average employment estimates for other fields. Job prospects look particularly good for clinical social workers, including increased demand for social workers
qualified to provide treatment services.
A survey conducted in 2018 found that nearly 35% of students with a master’s degree in social work move into roles that support children and families. Sightly more than 25% choose to help individuals with mental health issues. Others still go on to pursue public health and policymaking positions in health departments. As a social worker, you’ll be able to promote change in the ways that are most important and motivating for you and your community.
Want to learn more about this possible career path and college major? Have questions about which UNCF colleges and universities offer social work programs? Looking for help with financing this degree?
Preparing for Success
High school students aspiring to study social work in college can prepare by engaging in various activities that will help build a strong foundation for their future studies. It’s essential to excel in relevant subjects like psychology, sociology, and human development, which provide a necessary theoretical background.
In addition, volunteering at community centers, homeless shelters, or other social service organizations is an excellent way to get practical experience and a first-hand look at the challenges those in need face. Joining clubs or organizations focusing on social issues, human rights, or community service can also be beneficial.
It also helps to develop strong communication and active listening skills, and cultivate empathy and a nonjudgmental attitude, which are crucial for becoming a successful social worker.
Consider HBCUs to Pursue a Career in Social Work
Due to the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action in college admissions, more Black students will likely turn to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for their education. These institutions will do everything they can to meet increased student demand. HBCUs help more students earn college degrees, compete successfully for well-paying jobs in competitive career fields, improve workforce diversity, and increase upward economic mobility.
UNCF Schools to Consider
These UNCF-member HBCUs offer bachelor’s degrees in social work:
- Tuskegee University
- Clark Atlanta University
- Spelman College
- Johnson C. Smith University
- Virginia Union University
- Florida Memorial University
- Oakwood University
- Rust College
- Talladega College
Many organizations in various fields of social work can offer more insight into working in this field. A sample list includes:
- Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA)
- American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC)
- International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
- National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW)
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- National Rural Social Work Caucus
- School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA)
- Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care (SSWLHC)
- Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)
There’s no better way to start on your path to a successful career in social work than with a solid financial foundation. Fortunately, many scholarships are available through UNCF. Keep an eye on the UNCF website for current scholarship opportunities and announcements.
Search for specific scholarships and view those that are currently accepting applications here! Students should also check with each college, university, and professional organization to see if additional scholarships are available to study social work.
As you explore your options, use our guide to apply for scholarships and grants. You can also receive guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in social work. Submit the form on our website to get started. Follow us on UNCF’s social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!
You can also show your support for students pursuing careers and furthering equity in social work by contributing to UNCF member schools. Education is the greatest tool we have in creating a just and equitable society where economic mobility is available to all. Help us achieve this future by donating today!