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What is Social Work?

Boise State Online Master of Social Work graduates pose for a photo at a graduation ceremony.

“Choose a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Social work is often described as the helping profession. Social workers share a commitment to improving the lives of individuals, groups and communities and bringing about positive social change. It is a challenging profession, however, it provides the tremendous satisfaction of assisting others, and many social workers say that’s more than enough reward. 

Social workers are employed in a wide range of industries such as health care, substance abuse prevention and treatment, governmental organizations, advocacy work, nonprofit administration and much more.

If you’re passionate about helping others, then social work may be the perfect career field for you.

The Importance of Social Work

In a world filled with complex and pressing challenges, society needs people who are committed to making a difference in their own communities, where they have strong roots and connections. 

Through this commitment to local communities, social workers are responsive to the specific needs of their home area and can play a prominent role in improving the lives of those who need it most. Social workers connect people with systems and institutions that provide services, resources, support and opportunities for individuals and families. They challenge inequalities and use their position to pursue social change and increase knowledge and sensitivity surrounding oppressive circumstances and policies in the status quo.

As it’s a position in which one has power over the lives and well-being of others, being a social worker is a tremendous responsibility, but that’s also what makes it enormously rewarding.

The Future of Social Work

Social work is one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services but will vary by specialization.

Boise State Social Work Programs

The School of Social Work at Boise State is committed to preparing students for rewarding careers supporting some of the most vulnerable populations in the community. Our graduates are fully prepared to begin successful careers dedicated to helping others, fighting for social justice and working to make the world a better place. Our faculty work closely with students to develop them into future community leaders by providing a comprehensive and hands-on education., a trusted resource for online degree rankings and higher education planning, recently ranked Boise State sixth among its Top 50 Online Master’s in Social Work Programs for 2020. With many of its students living outside of Idaho, the Master’s in Social Work Program Online was also recognized as the best program for out-of-state students. 

“The way the program was structured (the many conference calls, video chats and group projects) made me feel like a regular student. I did not feel like I was missing out and I still had the opportunity to create bonds with my classmates. I was able to intern at a few different agencies where my professors would video call and get to talk to my agency field instructors about my progress, limitations and goals. This flexibility is what I loved most about Boise State Online.” – Patrice Elmore, 2019 Boise State Master of Social Work Online graduate

Each day, social workers nationwide work to make a profound, positive impact on the lives of millions of people daily. If you are interested in learning more about this career, have questions about getting your degree in social work or need more information, contact our Student Success Coaches today.