Social Work:A Maturing Profession Chapter 20
Criteria of a Profession • Five distinguishing attributes of a profession: • Systematic theory • Authority • Community sanction • Ethical codes • A culture
Historical Background • The first beginnings of a school of social work were in New York City in 1898. • Before 1910 there were schools of social work in the five largest cities in the United States. • By 1996 there were 117 programs in the United States offering appropriate master’s education.
Council on Social Work Education • The basic aims of the council are to support, strengthen, and improve social work education and to increase the number of qualified social workers. • The Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education accredits social work education program both at the bachelor’s and master’s level.
National Association of Social Workers • For a discipline to become a profession, it is imperative that a professional organization be established. • In the 1950’s representatives of seven organizations met and established a single integrated organization, the National Association of Social Workers. • This association was officially organized on July 7, l955. • Currently the Association has 160,000 members.
NASW • A major development sponsored by NASW has been the establishment of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) • ACSW certification requires a MSW degree plus two years of experience. • Another area of interest to NASW is licensing. • In 1945 in California the first voluntary registration for MSW’s in social work was enacted.
Code of Ethics • The Social Work Code of Ethics which serves to help social work practice emphasizes basic values and standards of conduct. • The social worker’s conduct and comportment as a social worker • Ethical responsibility to clients • Ethical responsibility to colleagues • Ethical responsibility to employers and employing organizations • Ethical responsibility to the social work profession • Ethical responsibility to society.
Schools of Social Work • In 1996 Master of Social Work degrees reached an all-time high, amounting to about 15,000. • The basic program for the master’s degree includes the three core areas of human behavior and social environment, social services and social policies, and the methods courses. • Fifty-one graduate schools have introduced doctoral programs. • A current movement exists to change DSW programs to Ph.D. programs.
Research • Since the 1960’s social work has blossomed in the area of research, which is basic to professional development. • Most schools of social work have one or more research projects or grants they are sponsoring. • Another contribution is the work being done by the more than 14,000 students who graduate each year with their MSW degrees. • About 250 doctoral dissertations are being completed each year. • These studies are making contributions toward new knowledge about human behavior and social work education and practice.
Private Practice • Private practice of social workers is on the increase. • Most social workers in private practice are involved in it on a part time basis. • The term vendorship may be applied to the practice of payment by a third party (and insurance carrier).
Salaries and Jobs • Present salaries for most MSW graduates would be in the range of $25,000 to 30,000 a year and for those who have been in practice about ten years, $30,000 to $50,000. • Some social workers in private practice now make $75,000 to $150,000 annually. • The 1995 Social Work Almanac reports a NASW sample study of its members which showed that in 1993 the average salary of those in direct services was 31,729 and the median salary was 29,000.
The Changing Nature of Work • Social work practice and education have been influenced by changes in America’s economy, especially in terms of patterns of employment and unemployment. • According to some experts, the U.S. economy is shifting to “the new, ruthless economy” characterized by more inequality, a shift in power from labor to capital, and the proliferation of low-wage employment. • Some believe this will lead to “severe poverty” because it will be more difficult for low-income people to move into the middle class while the chances of middle-class Americans moving into poverty will increase.
Changing Nature of Work • A second factor affecting social work in the 21st century is the reorganization and transformation of work. • The technological revolution will throw millions into unemployment because new industries have not been developed to hire these displaced workers.