The field of social work is constantly changing and this is why there is a need for quality social work professional organizations. A professional organization is created for a number of reasons. The first and most important reason why all professional association is formed is to help to advance a particular profession or field by keeping individuals who work in the field interested in the profession and by helping companies advance. To do this, most organizations offer their student, professional, and mentor members opportunities for networking and further education.
If you are studying for a social work degree or you currently already work in a government agency, there are plenty of professional associations that you can join. They key is to choose the one organizations that are worth joining based on their membership population, how they contribute to social work advancement and the benefits that they offer. Here are a few options to consider:
Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA)
The Clinical Social Work Association, more commonly referred to as the CSWA in the field, is a national organization that is committed to helping clinical social workers in the United States by advocating for clinical professionals and providing essential services. Professionals must currently be licensed to work in a clinical setting or they must have graduated from a social work program within the last four years.
Every association offers its individual members a different set of benefits. The CSWA provides each of its members with access to a clinical job board, free consultative services for legal questions, discounts insurance, updated information on clinical standards, legislative advocacy, and more. Membership fees range from $25 for students to $150 for active professionals.
Nation Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Another option that is not limited to the membership for solely clinical social workers is the National Association of Social Workers, known as NASW. NASW is the largest professional association of social workers is not just the nation, but across the entire globe.
While it is globally recognized, social workers in the US are to benefit most by joining this association because of the association's influence on all colleges and universities with social work programs. All accredited programs follow the NASW Code of Ethics and the standards set by the organization. In addition to doing this, the NASW advocates for practicing professionals and social issues. Offered to members includes legal resources, ethics consultations, HIPAA resources, continuing education, social work journals, and conferences.
Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)
The Society for Social Work and Research was founded in 1993 and is a great option for social workers working closely with research within their role. The purpose of the SSWR is to play a role in the advancement of social work research by giving members access to social worker journals and discounted research projects. Other membership benefits include inclusion into the directory, job posting services, access to the doctoral student center, and reduced subscription fees.
Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Online Masters in Social Work 2018
Social workers enter the field to help a struggling population get access to the services that they need to live a better quality of life. Earning a degree is the first step in career advancement, but one of the next things that all students and active professionals should do is search for the best social work professional organizations to join.