What Does a Social Worker Do (and How Do I Become One)

Posted: 3/31/2023 10:00 AM by Interim HealthCare

What Is Social Work?

March is World Social Work Month, and we are proud to support and stand together with social workers around the world to celebrate their constant contributions to our society. Thanks to this practice-based profession, social workers can work with families and institutions to promote social change, solidarity and the empowerment of communities. 


"The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty." - NASW Mission Statement

What Do Social Workers Do?

Many social workers provide direct services to clients, helping them to cope with, manage, and overcome problems such as: 

  • Poverty
  • Abuse
  • Addiction
  • Discrimination 
  • Physical illness
  • Mental illness
  • Divorce
  • Loss
  • Unemployment
  • Educational problems
  • Disability
By providing counseling and connecting clients with the resources they need, social workers empower individuals to create change in their own lives. Typically, a social worker liaises with clients, their families and others around them—supporting different client groups, including the elderly.

Types of Social Work

According to the National Association of Social Workers, there are 16 different types of social work. Below are 3 examples that relate to home healthcare:

Gerontological social work

Social workers support the elderly by providing them with resources that help to maintain their independence, quality of life and participation in society. Social work with older adults focuses on the physical, psychological, social, and economic aspects of daily living, and often involves helping clients to apply for benefits and access the services that they need.

Healthcare/ medical social work

Healthcare and hospital social workers help individuals to manage various factors affecting their health and wellness. When patients have terminal or chronic medical conditions, they may suffer emotional, financial, physical or medical stress—leaving them feeling overwhelmed with the burdens created by their condition. Healthcare social workers help these individuals and their families through difficult times by providing the advice and guidance they need. 

Mental health and clinical social work

Clinical social workers make up one of the largest groups of providers of mental health services. They work closely with individuals who suffer from emotional distress, mental disorders or complex mental issues, providing care plans, treatment methods, counseling, support services and referrals. Mental health social workers will often help their clients ease back into society following an inpatient programme. 

How Do I Become a Social Worker?

To become a social worker, you must graduate from an accredited university with either a Bachelor's of Social Work (BSW) or a Master's of social work (MSW) degree.


The BSW degree—sometimes called a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work depending on the school—typically lasts four years. After graduating, holders of a BSW degree can immediately start working as a practicing social worker. These entry-level jobs tend to be low-paying, which is why many individuals choose to continue with a master’s degree as soon as they have completed their bachelor’s degree.


Commonly lasting two years, the MSW degree requires students to choose a concentration when applying; for example Addictions, Clinical Counseling or Gerontology. This degree allows graduates access to higher-paying jobs and clinical practice.

Is Social Work Right For You?

Overall, social work offers many different paths that all lead to a worthwhile and rewarding career. If you are someone who is interested in social justice and has the drive to help vulnerable people, social work could be just the profession for you.


To search available social worker jobs near you, visit our careers page today. 


Already found a posting for the job of your dreams? Now it’s time to elevate yourself as a candidate and crush your next job interview. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of six interview essentials. Click here to download our Guide to Crushing Your Next Home Care Interview.