Career Resource Guide for Social Workers

Social work is a broad field involved with almost every level of industries and programs involving human services. From child protection, to schools and health care, social workers advocate for their client’s best interests and help them navigate complex human services programs. This is a list of the top resources available to social workers including academic journals, professional, research, and advocacy associations, and professional development conferences. These resources are immensely useful in helping social workers hone their skills and focus and increase their effectiveness.

Social Work Professional Associations, Research Organizations, and Advocacy Groups

National Association of Social Workers is the primary social worker advocacy and professional development organization in the United States. The organization is committed to advancing the cause of social work through research, policy advocacy, and supporting both practitioners and academics.

Council on Social Work Education is an organization whose main focus is on the advancement of social work academia, and the professional development of social work educators. The organization also seeks to keep social work educators in touch with the evolution of the social work field.

National Organization of Forensic Social Work concerns itself with the intersection at which social work meets the legal system. The goal of the organization is to provide support and advocacy to its members who work in an extremely complex area of Social Work.

National Center for Policy Analysis is a research and policy advocacy organization for the social worker who believes government causes more harm than good and wants to pursue private options for providing the same services more efficiently at lesser cost.

School Social Work Association of America is the primary organization for school social workers to turn to for professional development, best practices, research, and advocacy. The goal of the organization is to advance the field of school social work in order to provide better, more effective learning environments for students.

National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work is the primary organization concerned with the interests and development of thought leaders in social work education. The members of this organization represent the forefront of social work academia and the organization gives them a forum to collaborate and come together with their shared experience, to improve the field of social worker education.

Society of Social Work and Research is a society whose membership is open to any and all social work professionals who are interested in research. The society is collaborative and gives social work professionals the opportunity to start research projects or to help other social workers with theirs.

International Council on Social Welfare is an organization open to social work professionals who are interested in promoting the cause of social welfare on a global scale.

International Federation of Social Workers strives to further the impact of social work by developing and affirming best practices, and enabling international cooperation among social work professionals.

Social Work Policy Institute is focused on the examination of major issues within the social work field. This includes helping individuals and families in complex situations with a wide variety of needs.

Relevant Publications for Social Workers

Affilia- Journal of Women in Social Work is a peer reviewed publication focused on addressing the concerns of social workers and those they serve from a feminist point of view. The journal features research, new theory, and innovative strategies geared specifically toward helping women.

International Social Work is a scholarly, peer reviewed journal featuring content focused on international themes and issues in social work. The journal seeks to broaden the knowledge of its readers while promoting enhanced communication within the international social work community.

Qualitative Social Work focuses primarily on providing readers with qualitative research and qualitative approaches to social work practice and evaluation. The journal especially emphasizes the applications of critical realism within the field.

Research on Social Work Practice is a bi-monthly disciplinary journal focused on publishing empirical research targeting assessment methods and results of social work practice.

Clinical Social Work Journal features the publication of original articles, particularly those relevant to clinical practice with families, individuals  couples, and groups. This is one of the oldest and most respected journals on the subject.

Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal focuses on clinical practice involving children, adolescents, and families with children and adolescents. The journal publishes articles concerned with current issues in the field drawn from theory, practice, social policy, and research.

Journal of Social Work is an international peer reviewed journal which provides a platform for the discussion and publication of important ideas and research in the social work field.

Social Work is put out by the NASW and is regarded as one of the foremost publications in the field. It covers social work in a broad sense, and is widely read by practitioners, students, educators, academics, and researchers alike.

Journal of Family and Social Work focuses on the interactions of social workers and the social work system with families in various situations. The journal features peer reviewed articles on research, practice, and myriad other subjects.

Health and Social Work focuses on the role of social workers in healthcare, their responsibilities, and how they can have the greatest possible impact on the field.

Social Justice Research targets social scientists and social work professionals with original research articles that explore the origin, structure, and impact of the human concept of justice.

Administration in Social Work features content designed to help social work administrators handle the often complex problems that arise on a day to day basis in the field. The journal features articles on best practices, and new theoretical work designed to help administrators innovate and take full advantage of an ever-shifting landscape.

Psychoanalytic Social Work’s primary audience consists of clinicians and clinical educators. The goal of the journal is to provide its readership with revolutionary articles that will enhance the practice of clinical social work.

Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work focuses on the multicultural issues, obstacles and challenges that are often issues in the field. The journal focuses on how to solve these problems by publishing original peer reviewed articles on research, practice, policy, and theory.

Journal of Evidence Based Social Work focuses on the increasingly effective use of evidence based practice in every day care. The journal articles feature content focused on innovation, research, and techniques.

Forensic Social Work is the go to journal for social workers who frequently deal with the legal system. The journal focuses on broadening the knowledge base of its readership so that they are better equipped to deal with one of the most complex systems in the field.

Journal of Social Work and Human Sexuality disseminates information, research studies, theory, practice strategies and more intended to help social workers meet the unique needs of people of every sexual orientation.

Social Work Conferences

SSRW Annual Conference: Research for Social Change is a conference designed to gather passionate social work practitioners and academics and facilitate collaboration with the goal of catalyzing social change.

Health Disparities Research at the Intersection of Race, Ethnicity and Disability focuses on the gaps that exist in healthcare availability and health promotion among various disadvantaged demographics.

Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work is one of the premier social work conferences every year. This year the emphasis is on the power of social work to help improve the lives of those most in need.

16th National School Social Work Conference focuses on the role of social workers who work with schools. The focus is on how to create high impact strategies that will tangibly improve the effectiveness of social work practitioners in the school social worker role.

7th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental Health will address the increasingly important role in patient advocacy played by social workers in the health and mental health industries.

Continuing Education 2012 Annual Conference is held by the NASW and the focus is on continuing education opportunities for social workers. Professional development and the growth of its professionals is important to the field of social work as a whole and the focus of this conference is on enabling members to choose the best options for their goals.

Global Health and Well Being: The Social Work Response will focus on the role of social work in the world as a whole, and the manner in which social work, and the perspectives of its professionals, can effect significant global change.

Social Work: Essential to the Future of Healthcare is a conference that focuses solely on social work’s role in healthcare. The conference takes the position that social work is an integral part of the healthcare system and seeks to find ways to continue to positively impact the health care industry.

Conference on Social Work and HIV/AIDS features research presentations and strategy meetings focused on the most effective ways social work professionals and the field as a whole can contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Rural Social Work at the Crossroads: Building Capacity, Nurturing Sustainability focuses on the unique challenges faced by social workers that practice in rural areas. With a smaller number of people spread over a larger geographic area, the rural social worker must develop different strategies for reaching those in need.

National Organization of Forensic Social Work Conference is entirely focused on the growth of social workers who must interact with the legal system. The conference attendees are presented with strategies, and training to enable them to better understand the complex framework of the legal system as it applies to the social work field.

International Social Work Conference on Children and Youth focuses on one of the primary demographics with which social work is concerned. Children and youth represent a unique demographic in that they are more vulnerable to external forces and have less control over their circumstances. This conference focuses on the best ways to identify dangerous situations and take action to protect those not equipped to protect themselves.