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Skidmore College
Social Work Department

Overview of the Profession

There are numerous ways to describe the profession of social work and what social workers do. Social workers are educated to help people with problems in virtually any setting. These problems can range from those on the individual level to problems on a much broader level that affect groups and communities. Thus social workers need a wide array of skills in order to work with these various system levels, which include individual, family, group, organizational, and community systems. Social workers are concerned with the interaction between people and their social environments as well as the responsiveness and effectiveness of the social institutions to which provide needed resources.

Salome and SaraSocial work is a dynamic profession based on knowledge drawn from a variety of disciplines as well as its own body of knowledge, practice skills, research, and professional values. The profession has a code of ethics, practice standards, and a national system of accredited education programs designed to bring together the desire to help others with the skill and knowledge needed to provide that help. Those who are interested in a career in social work should be willing to commit themselves to a professional way of life that includes the following values: client self-determination, a commitment to service, the belief in the inherent worth and dignity of all persons, integrity, competence, and a commitment to social justice.