Is Social Work for you?
As one of the helping professions, Social Work exists to serve populations that are vulnerable, in need of basic services and resources, or attempting to make a change in their lives. Positions in human service settings address a wide range of issues, such as child welfare, chemical dependency, physical and mental health, aging, and corrections. Social workers are concerned with the community or setting where people spend their daily lives.
In addition to serving individuals, a career in social work can include working for social change to benefit the larger community. If you have empathy for people in need and are ready to work for the welfare of your community, social work is a field in which you’ll thrive.
- 16% growth projected in overall Social work employment
- 14% growth in child, family & school social work positions
- 20% growth in health care & medical social work positions
- 19% growth in mental health & substance abuse positions
Ashley Katz '16, LCSW, SAC-IT
Ashley Katz graduated from UWO’s Masters of Social Work program, advanced track in 2016. She began as a social worker at WMHI on their dual diagnosis unit in 2017. Ashley gained a critical understanding of how intertwined mental health and substance abuse are which inspired my pursuit of a Substance Abuse Counselor-In Training license which she has held since 2017. WMHI has the only available locked inpatient dual diagnosis program in Wisconsin and she contributed in developing the treatment program.
Nikki Seignarack, BSW '19
As I was pursuing my BSW at UW Oshkosh, I found it most helpful being in a smaller group of folks that had the same vision as I did. This small group of 50 students made it feel like I could have meaningful connections with my classmates and professors. I was most appreciative to the BSW Field Coordinator at the time to understand my concerns. She assisted with the change of placement with little to no hesitation. She made me feel heard and valued as a student and as a young upcoming professional. With that change, I was empowered to advocate for myself and my professional development experience. The BSW program prepared me to be a critical thinker at my field placement and in my current place of employment following graduation. The specific qualities that were most meaningful to me are allowing students to be vulnerable with each other, no matter the course. Being able to form purposeful relationships with classmates made it ten times more manageable and simply more fun to be pursuing a social work degree. I would consider my advisor to have helped me through my BSW journey by listening, caring, and providing sage advice in navigating my future. I want to extend my most incredible gratitude to all of the professors that taught me and showed me the ropes and the best of luck to incoming students considering pursuing a degree in social work!
Sarah Jaschob, BLS, MSW Student
The UWO social work program helped me develop a vision for my future, determine my specific goals, and strengthen my confidence to turn those goals into reality. As a Prevention Project Coordinator with Sexual Assault Crisis Center – Fox Cities, I lead coalitions focused on developing community programs aimed at eliminating sexual violence. The program helped me discover my passion for community level social work, a career that gives me pride and purpose.
Studying Social Work
Social work is an applied or practicing profession. Therefore majoring in a profession such as social work is different from majoring in academic disciplines such as history, sociology or physics. The standards by which students are evaluated pertain not only to critical thinking and ability to master conceptual content, but also to the manner in which they incorporate professional values, ethical principles, and professional performance requirements expected of a social worker. Students will be expected to demonstrate competency for serving and engaging with others in a manner which upholds the professional requirements of social work. Further, they should also possess the capacity to examine their own values, beliefs, and professional conduct which can potentially bias or interfere with their ability to perform professional services. Finally, students should be able to model a community service ethic.
At UWO, the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program has a four-part curriculum:
1. General education (University Studies Program, or USP)
2. Gateway courses, the pre-admission curriculum
3. 300-level courses, the pre-field curriculum
4. 400-level courses, which includes the Field Practicum.