Should I Join a Professional Social Work Organization?

While there are a number of organizations devoted to social work in America today, you might wonder if you should join a professional organization in your own city or state. Social work is a simple term that applies to a large number of professionals. It can include those who investigate claims of child abuse, those who offer counseling in drug and alcohol centers and those who help patients leaving a hospital learn what to do at home. If you aren’t sure if you should join one of these organizations, you can check out some clear scenarios of when joining one is beneficial.

You Want Access to Leading Journals and Publications

College students have access to some of the top social work journals and publications because their colleges pay the subscription fee associated with each one. While you may work in an office or department that subscribes to a few journals, joining an organization will give you access to all publications put out by that group. When you join the National Association of Social Workers, you can view current and archived editions of all its journals, including Children & Schools, Social Work Abstracts and Social Work Research.

You Plan on Searching for a New Job

Even if you are completely satisfied with your current job, you may want to switch careers in the future. A degree in social work can help you find a job as a counselor, a rehabilitation specialist or even a community worker. Joining a social work organization is a great way to find out about new jobs open in the field. You can even use your professional connections to apply and interview for a new job before the agency starts looking for qualified applicants.

You Want to Network With Other Social Workers

No matter what area of social work you work in, you need to network with other professionals. Attending conferences is a great way to meet other social workers and to learn about upcoming changes in your field. You might attend a national conference that talks about new laws that will change the way others report abuse or government changes that will reduce the amount of money open to your agency. Social work conferences also take place at both the state level and the city level. Those smaller conferences allow you to network with others and hear stories from others.

You Are Still in College

You might hesitate to join a professional organization in college because you think that these organizations are better suited for licensed social workers than students. According to Jorie Scholnik of USA Today College, these organizations are great for students because the organizations can help you find internships. You might do an internship with a child abuse agency in college before deciding if you want to work with kids and their families, or you might do an internship with a drug and alcohol treatment center after college to gain some experience before applying to grad school. These organizations can help you find internships with qualified agencies.

Social workers are responsible for protecting their clients from abuse, helping those battling addictions and assisting patients in hospitals. Joining a professional organization devoted to social work can help you network with other professionals, find a new job, secure an internship or learn more at authorized conferences.

Related Resource: 50 Most Affordable Accredited MSW Programs in the East 2016