Turn your desire to help others into a rewarding career

Many people want to help others. There is nothing wrong with that. It is good to want to help others. It speaks to our humanity, our sense of mutuality, and even to our purpose. But the desire to help other people, while a good goal, has its limitations. Simply wanting to help others could backfire if you don’t know what you’re doing. It is entirely possible that you could do more harm than good. Helping others should be informed helping. If you want to make a difference in the lives of others and to really help individuals and communities, you will need a bachelor’s in social work (BSW). A degree in social work prepares you with the knowledge, values and skills necessary to help others in a truly meaningful and informed way.

Let’s talk briefly about those three pillars — knowledge, values and skills — that are central to any social work program. If you want to help an individual, a community or even shape social policy, you need knowledge about what makes people tick, knowledge on why society is the way it is, and knowledge on strategies that can transform communities . You need to understand how we think about social issues like poverty and racism. Helping someone without understanding could be misguided so knowledge is necessary.

Social work values include: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the individual, importance and centrality of human relationships, integrity, and competence. Through a BSW program you will learn more about the meaning of these values, how they come into play, and examine how your values are aligned with social work values. Through a good social work curriculum, you will be challenged to think about ethics and how you would apply ethical reasoning to solve dilemmas.

Lastly, it takes skill to help people. Take for example the skill of listening. Most people are not good listeners but this is a skill that can be taught and developed. In any good social work program you will learn not only basic interpersonal skills, but you will also learn the skills necessary to advocate for clients, change social policy, and for building community engagement. There has never been a more exciting time to enter the social work profession and the first step is getting a BSW degree. 

Published on June 21, 2017