Five Beneficial Social Work Professional Organizations
- The Network for Social Work Management
- School Social Work Association of America
- The National Association of Perinatal Social Workers
- Clinical Social Work Association
- Association of Oncology Social Work
Social workers spend most of their work time caring for others which is why membership in a national professional organization for social workers is so important. These organizations provide support for members giving them opportunities to connect with other social workers who have been through the same ups and downs of the profession. By joining one of these groups, an individual will have access to many educational opportunities as well as industry updates. Some rewarding professional groups are listed below.
1. The Network for Social Work Management
This organization focuses on supporting social workers in leadership roles throughout the human services fields. Membership is free for both professionals and students and provides access to competency training, the NSWM Journal, and expert blogs. Professionals from around the world gather each year at a conference to discuss management techniques in the field.
2. School Social Work Association of America
This is one of the specialized professional groups for social workers focusing on those who work in elementary and high schools. Members of SSWAA receive a $250,000 malpractice insurance plan along with access to webinars, continuing education courses, an online book club, and regular news updates. Another main focus of this organization is advocacy, fighting specifically about funding, safety in schools, and racial and economic disparities.
3. The National Association of Perinatal Social Workers
Inviting all social workers who work with mothers from pregnancy through a child's first birthday, the NAPSW focuses on a specific area of social work. At the local level, members can get involved in their local chapters to address particular issues in their communities including early childcare, education for new mothers, and serving newborns in underprivileged areas. All chapters come together for an annual conference, and delegates vote to select the recipients of a Reward for Excellence and research grants.
4. Clinical Social Work Association
The CSWA is open to students as well as current and retired social workers and is one of the largest social work professional associations. The group is expected to continue growing as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports this field is projected to increase 16% from 2016 to 2026. Their website features a job board and professional development modules as well as resources to help practices complete insurance forms, comply with HIPAA, and use proper ICD-10 codes.
5. Association of Oncology Social Workers
Social workers who work with cancer patients have a variety of tasks from coordinating care to providing emotional support for the patient and family. This requires a diverse skill set, and the AOSW helps these professionals stay up-to-date on the latest guidelines. The organization focuses heavily on research in all stages of a cancer diagnosis including remission.
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Since social workers help clients through difficult situations, this career can be exhausting at times, but it can also be very rewarding. Large professional organizations for social workers provide a network of individuals who can motivate each other and share resources to make the job easier.