5 Professional Organizations for Social Workers

Professional organizations for social workers is fast becoming a way that people are feeling more engaged and fulfilled in their work. This comes at a crucial time because Forbes has reported that more than 70 percent of workers in the United States report feeling dissatisfied with their career.

For social workers, one of the main ways they stay engaged with their career is through membership in a professional organization. These organizations provide mentoring and educational opportunities, which includes workshops and networking events, but they offer something more important: a sense of a shared purpose relating to social work. While not every social worker will be a member of every organization, there are five that are respected among professionals.

The National Association of Social Workers

The National Association of Social Workers is the largest professional social worker organization in the world, with more than 132,000 members registered. It is the most important organization for social workers in America, where it continues to set the standard for social work both in the private and public sectors. The organization’s Code of Ethics is also followed by its 55 chapters.

Along with crafting policy and standards for its members, NASW also includes a charity organization, the National Association of Social Workers Foundation, which was created to offer social work services to individuals, families, and communities around the world.

Clinical Social Work Association

The Clinical Social Work Association is for licensed social workers who work as professional mental health clinicians. It is one of the top professional organizations for social workers as it focuses solely on the mental health aspect of social work, allowing it to focus on the issues that matter to LCSWs.

CSWA has a stated goal of uniting the professional of clinical social workers to implement mental health parity within the health care system, fairness of pay within the industry, and uniting the profession with standards and policies. It is also this profession’s united voice when discussing national health care.

International Federation of Social Workers

The International Federation of Social Workers is an international organization for social workers that has been recognized by the UN’s Economic and Social Council and UNICEF. Its members include professional organizations from 116 countries and works closely with the World Health Organization and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

This organization runs differently from others on this list in that only other social work organizations can join. However, social workers who belong to an organization that is part of the federation do have access to international opportunities, such as working for the UN and other organizations.

Society for Social Work and Research

The Society for Social Work and Research was established in 1994 and focuses primarily on research in the social work sector. It is one of the only organizations for social workers that has this focus and currently enjoys a 1,300-strong membership with members hailing from over a dozen countries, including Hong Kong, Japan, and Sweden, as well as the United States.

The sole purpose of this professional organization is to advance and disseminate research; to advance this goal, social workers will find that membership affords them access to research projects as well as reduced subscription rates to professional journals.

The Network for Social Work Management

The Network for Social Work Management is an international organization that has a mission to advance social work management and leadership. It is designed to help social workers in the health and human services sector. Membership to this organization is free and is offered to both professionals and students.

The organization takes education and leadership seriously; to this end, it has stated a commitment to furthering networking and workshop opportunities for all of its members. This professional organization offers management conferences, development workshops, mentorship programs, and more. Social workers in this organization may even find themselves with job opportunities overseas.

Choosing to become a social worker is an incredible step towards making a difference in the world. By choosing one or more professional organizations for social workers to become a member in, professionals will find themselves engaged and fulfilled in their work.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs