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Why Social Work at Bloomsburg University?
Why Social Work at Bloomsburg University?
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the job outlook for social workers is expected to grow at a rate faster than average for all occupations through the year 2022 at a rate of 19%. Students graduating with a BSW have opportunities to work in various areas of practice including mental health clinics, schools, child welfare and human service organizations, hospitals and in government.
Social workers receive training that enable them to help others solve and cope with problems in their every day lives. Social workers have a range of career options and training that enables them to work with diverse populations and settings to make a positive impact in the world.
The Bloomsburg University BSW program has been in existence since 1988 and has grown to include nearly 200 pre-majors and majors who are studying to become the next generation of social workers.
At Bloomsburg University, opportunities are provided for the student to gain social work knowledge, values, ethics, and skills to work with client systems of all types and sizes. An emphasis is placed on an appreciation for human diversity and a strong commitment to social and economic justice. Students are prepared through courses to engage in the social change process through interface with the regional community.
The social work faculty at Bloomsburg have OVER 80 years of practice experience in the field ranging in areas of practice from drug and alcohol, aging, mental health, child-welfare, domestic violence, international services, HIV/AIDS research, military social work, juvenile justice, end-of-life, LGBT and health care. The faculty continues to be involved in various advocacy efforts including research and community outreach.
Their holistic approach to teaching and practice provides for continued awareness of the growing needs of the students, the profession and the local, regional, national and international communities.
Examples of social work practice concentrations include:
The growing population of adults over the next decade is expected to create an extraordinary demand for aging programs, initiatives, services and policies in this field of practice. The Administration on Aging reports that by 2030, there will be over 72 million older adults residing in the United States. Social workers in this area of practice are often employed in community area on aging centers, community mental health centers, health care settings, and residential living facilities. Social workers who work in this area of practice engage in initiatives at both direct and indirect levels of practice to provide supportive services and interventions to older adults and their caregivers to address personal, social and environmental challenges to aging.
Social workers who work in mental health can provide services in a variety of settings including hospitals, residential living facilities, schools, rehabilitation programs, employee assistance programs, community mental health programs, military and veteran services and in private practice. According to the NASW, clinically trained social workers are the lead mental health providers in the country, making up 60% of the work force. Social worker’s training and focus on problem-solving, systems, empowerment and person in environment enables them to assist individuals with alleviating major daily life stresses.
Drug and Alcohol
Substance abuse social workers are employed throughout the community in social service agencies, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and various community based programs that are aimed at serving populations who suffer from alcohol or drug abuse. Although according to the NASW, most substance abuse social workers have a master’s degree (MSW) in social work, bachelor’s level (BSW) social workers are able to find entry-level positions and can obtain credentials to become a certified addictions counselor (CAC).
Social Work Practice in Rural Communities
About 21% of the US population lives in areas considered “rural”1 and many of those communities are in need of social work professionals. Rural social work is a unique field of practice that requires context-based educational preparation in cultural competence, rural cultures, diversity, ethics, and practice skills. Rural social workers often have opportunities to work across various field of practice using numerous roles and skills. They provide direct services to individuals, families, small groups, and organizations. Practitioners in rural communities also work as resource specialists, assisting in the optimal utilization of limited resources, and, because of their unique training and skills, often find themselves moving quickly into administrative positions.
Social workers work in all branches of the military to help families and military personnel prepare for a cope with the aftermath of war and have been working with the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) since 1926. Areas of practice for military professionals often include working in Veteran’s Hospitals, on military bases and in various mental health settings. Social workers have the training and skills that help soldiers and their families reconnect with each other and society after they return from war. They often work side by side with other professions including chaplains to provide preventative and clinical services particularly for individuals who may be prone to domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. To learn more about Military Social Work and the recent “Joining Forces to Support Veterans and Military Families” launched last year by Dr. Jill Biden and the NASW.
Social work professionals continue to have a key role in all areas of child welfare including direct practice, supervision, administration, training, and policy and program development. Currently in this area of practice there are varying state initiatives aimed at providing financial support and additional training to both BSW and MSW students who are interested in a career in child welfare. Currently in the state of Pennsylvania, the United States Administration for Children and Families, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare and fourteen undergraduate and graduate social work degree programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) offer the Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates (CWEB) and the Child Welfare Education for Leadership (CWEL). The goal of these programs is to provide extensive training and employment opportunities for students while strengthening public child welfare services in the state of Pennsylvania. For more information, visit Child Welfare Education Research Programs or the Child Welfare tab on this site.
Social workers have a long-standing history of working in careers that influence social policy. In this area of practice social workers find themselves working as lobbyist, policy and program analyst and community organizers. Social work policy practitioners often work with other policy professionals to engage in the development, implementation, reformation or assessment of social policies in an effort to ensure social justice. Social worker’s focus on person-in-environment and skills in advocacy and communication provide them with a unique skill set that is needed to be effective in the area of policy practice.
International Social Work
Social workers interested in this area of practice may have opportunities to work with international emergency response and humanitarian aid programs as well as international development programs such as the Peace Corps. Social work training as it relates to a focus on social justice and advocacy prepares students to engage in problem solving practices and collaborative efforts with organizations both in the U.S and abroad. Some specific areas of international social work may involve child rights and protection, foreign assistance, immigration and refugee resettlement and international women’s rights.
Other Areas of Practice
- criminal justice
- re-entry programs for ex-offenders
- school social work
- medical social work
- advocacy for individuals with disabilities
- animal-assisted social work