Earn a Degree in Social Work
Social Work is a profession dedicated to partnering with people to create change. It is set apart from other human-related disciplines by its person-in-environment focus. That means that social workers have a dual orientation at all times - the individual and the environment.
Social workers are educated in a body of specialized knowledge and skills, while being committed to a core set of values. While different individuals or organizations may express these a little differently, they all share the same basic principles. Here in the TTU Social Work Program, we adhere to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics. In that document, the organization identifies and defines six core values including service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. Those core values ground our professional practice as social workers. The code then goes on to guide and regulate our practice.
To learn about some specific examples of work that social workers do, check out the "Who are Social Workers?" playlist shown in the sidebar on this page.
Professional social workers work in a great variety of different practice settings. Some of these include the broad areas of health, politics, policy, child welfare, school social work, mental health, aging, families, addictions, disabilities, corrections, administration, research, community organization and advocacy, homelessness, and many, many others. Social workers work for both public and private organizations. To learn more about different fields of practice, check out NASW's information on practice areas or explore some different professional social work organizations.
Becoming a social worker does not require a vow of poverty! While most social workers choose the profession for its intrinsic rewards, financial benefits also exist. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) profile on the social work profession, the annual median wage for social workers in 2021 was $50,390, even higher in Texas. Further, the BLS reports that the profession is expected to continue to grow faster than the average rate for all occupations, largely in the areas of medical social work and mental health services. More information on workforce related issues in social work can be found in the following reports: The NASW's Survey of 2017 Social Work Graduates and the 2017 Profile of the Social Work Workforce.
Did you know that before someone can claim to practice social work, they must hold a license? The Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners (TSBSWE), falling under the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council (BHEC), licenses and regulates social workers at four levels, including licensed baccalaureate social worker (LBSW), licensed master social worker (LMSW), licensed master social worker-advanced practice (LMSW-AP) and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Similar to most other states, the primary requirements for all levels of licensure in Texas include the appropriate degree in social work from an institution accredited with the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and a passing score on the corresponding national exam with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Other requirements vary by license level, but may include hours of practice experience, supervision hours from a board-approved social worker, specific training modules deemed critical emerging knowledge, background checks and/or fingerprinting, as well as licensing fees and forms. The BHEC website provides a detailed description of steps to apply for a license.
Sign up for Social Work Advocacy day by March 1!
Applications are open for the first advanced admission cohort of the new online MSW program!
Please join us in welcoming our newest faculty member, Dr. Cayce Watson!
Playlists about Social Work
Who are Social Workers?
NASW Social Work Talks
What Do Social Workers Do?