Headquartered at IUPUI
Locations on 8 IU Campuses


Professional social workers aim to build and maintain social conditions that help individuals, groups, and communities to function and succeed.  The practice requires firsthand knowledge of human behavior, insight into social, economic, and cultural issues, and the ability to create a web of security that benefits those in need.

Here are six fast facts about the social work profession:

Social workers are highly trained professionals.  A bachelor's or masters, social work degree-with a minimum  number of hours in supervised fieldwork-is needed to become a professional social worker from an accredited school from the Council on Social Work Education.  In the state of Indiana, there are 5849 licensed social workers.

Professional social workers are the nation's largest providers of mental health services.  According to government sources, social workers deliver 70 percent of mental health services.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics shows social work is one of the nation's fastest growing careers.  The need for social work services is expected to increase by 30 percent by 2010.  In the United States, nearly 600,000 people hold degrees in social work in the United States.

Nationally, more than 170 social workers have been elected to public office nationwide.

More than 40 percent of mental health volunteers trained by the Red Cross for mental health support are social workers.

You'll find social workers in every facet of community life-they often specialize in one or more of the following areas.

The U.S. population is aging. We live in a country where people over 65 outnumber teenagers. This translates into a tremendous need-and a variety of opportunities-for social work with older persons and their families

Related Areas
  • Advocacy and Intervention
  • Home Health Care
  • Geriatric Case Management
  • Public Policy
  • Adult Day Care
  • Family Services

Child welfare social workers are advocates for American’s most silent minority; out nation’s youth.

Related Areas
  • Family Preservation
  • Child Day Care
  • Child Protection Family
  • Foster Care
  • Group Care Adoption
  • Advocacy and Intervention

Public welfare provides income and support services to society’s most vulnerable people-children, the ill, the elderly, and the disabled. Although some of these people will always need services, traditional thinking about how to help is changing as the nation debates welfare reform. How to foster self-sufficiency and move people into the mainstream is today’s challenges complicated by an increase in social problems and general decrease in funds.

Related Areas
  • Income Maintenance
  • Adult Protective Services
  • Housing Services/Management
  • Administration
  • Public Policy
  • Research

Corrections and justice is a field in which a social work can focus on rehabilitation and the constructive use of authority.

Related Areas
  • Corrections
  • Probation
  • Forensics
  • Youth Services
  • Parole

People with developmental disabilities may at some time seek out social services.

Related Areas
  • Case Management
  • Planning Research
  • Policy Program Evaluation

Employment and occupational social workers help workers with problems that affect their job performance and satisfaction. Employee assistance programs is a growing practice area.

Related Areas
  • Clinical Social Work
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Treatment
  • Health and Wellness Education
  • Grass Roots Organizing

Social workers are needed in hospitals, clinics and other medical and health care settings to facilitate medical and emotional treatment. They are vital members of the health care team, working in concert with doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

Related Areas
  • Hospital Social Work
  • AIDS Counseling/Education
  • Hospice
  • Counseling/Management
  • Home Health Care
  • Case Management
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Physical Rehabilitation
  • Chemical Dependency

Many people at times in their lives need mental health services to get the most out of life. Clinical social workers are the largest group of professionally trained mental health providers in the United States, supplying more than half of counseling and therapy services. These mental health professionals help people find solutions to problems ranging from inability to cope with stress to severe mental illness.

Related Areas
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Treatment
  • Individual and Family Psychotherapy and Counseling
  • Grief Counseling
  • Victim Service
  • Group Therapy

To be a social worker, requires a degree in social work from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.  The undergraduate degree is the Bachelor of Social Work.  Graduate degrees include the Master of Social Work and the Doctorate in Social Work.  A Master of Social Work is required to provide therapy.

Degree programs involve classroom study as well as practical field experience.  The bachelor’s degree prepares graduates for entry-level work.  The master of Social Work is required for more advanced practice.  A Doctorate is required for doing research or teaching at the university level.

Related Areas
  • Community Organization
  • International Social Work
  • Management/Administration
  • Policy and Planning
  • Politics
  • Research