The work of a social worker is constantly changing due to evolving societal, health, cultural, economic and familial issues. That’s a lot to keep up with.
To assist you on your journey as a social worker or a social work master's degree student, use this resource guide to get inspired, learn new skills, make work easier, and connect with other social workers.
Professional Development Resources for Social Workers
Joining organizations for social workers or attending events and conferences is a great way to keep up with social work news and connect with peers and mentors who may one day provide you with opportunities for growth. Here are some organizations to check out:
American Clinical Social Work Association (ACSWA) — The ACSWA online site features clinical social work news, marketplace and profession trends, directories, blogs and forums. Membership puts you in directories and gives you access to eBooks and journals.
American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) — This nonprofit is focused on professionals who work with mistreated children and their families. APSAC provides resources and articles, networking opportunities, a quarterly publication, training and more.
Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) — This nonprofit is dedicated to social workers who work with cancer patients and their families. AOSW hosts an annual conference for oncology social workers and provides online learning tools.
Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA) — The CSWA advocates for licensed clinical social workers and provides members with up-to-date clinical information, free consultation on ethical and legal questions, and discounted comprehensive liability insurance.
International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) — The IFSW has social worker members from 126 countries and works to promote social work to achieve social development. IFSW sponsors social work events around the globe and advocates for social work policy.
National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) — The NABSW is made up of social workers of African ancestry and is committed to enhancing the quality of life for people of African ancestry. The NABSW hosts annual national and international conferences and has a career center.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) — NASW was founded in 1955 and is the largest professional social worker organization in the world, with more than 120,000 members. NASW hosts events and conferences for members, creates and maintains professional social work standards, and advocates for social work policies.
National Rural Social Work Caucus — Geared toward rural social workers, every year there is a National Rural Social Work Conference hosted in the U.S. The conference increases the knowledge base for rural social work by sharing research and expertise with attendees.
School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) — The SSWAA is an organization for school social workers. It publishes annual reports, offers webinars and a national conference, and works on legislation focused on social work in schools.
Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care (SSWLHC) — The SSWLHC is an organization for social workers dedicated to promoting universal availability of health care addressing psychosocial components of illness and health. Members are health care social workers and researchers. Membership includes free publications, national networking opportunities and a mentorship program. The SSWLHC hosts an annual national conference.
9 of the Best Social Worker Blogs
Find inspiration, learn from others’ stories, check out social worker news from around the world and discover tips and techniques from like-minded social workers. Visit these social work blogs to learn more about the lives of social workers and social work students.
1. Creative Play Therapist
Creative Play Therapist, run by two clinical social workers, shares ideas and resources for play therapy interventions.
2. Help Starts Here
Help Starts Here features blog posts created by social workers on topics related to their clients’ struggles. It’s a great site to find content to share with clients, post on social media sites or learn for yourself.
3. The New Social Worker
The New Social Worker provides tips and news for social workers, such as posts on ethical issues, self-care and career engagement, trends in social care like travel social work, and more.
More of a community than a blog, Reddit’s social work forum allows members to post questions, ask for advice, share news and converse on all things social work.
5. Social Life blog
Social Life blog, a blog of curated articles by “The Guardian”, features stories from people who work in social care.
6. Social Work Blog
Learn the latest developments in social work regarding advocacy, professional education and training in this blog hosted by NASW.
7. Social Work Career
The Social Work Career website focuses on helping current and aspiring social work professionals advance their careers, with education and training resources, expert interviews, tips for LMSW exams, and more.
8. Social Work Helper
Social Work Helper covers an array of topics related to social work, including news, politics, technology, culture, mental health and education.
9. Social Workers Speak
See how social work and related issues are portrayed in the media and movies at Social Workers Speak.
Top Books for Social Workers
Reading a book is a great way to glean insights and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Books help social workers discover new experiences and view their world in a different light. These books have plenty to teach:
“Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America,” by Barbara Ehrenreich — In 1998, the author became a minimum-wage worker to see how low-wage America lives. The book helps readers understand how people experience life while trying to work to survive.
Get help for your social work career right in your pocket with mobile apps:
AlcoholFX Mobile App — This app from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains to students ages 10-12 how alcohol can harm their brains.
ASWB Flashcards — Practice for ASWB exams with more than 1,100 flashcards on 10 topics.
Compass CoPilot — This app for social workers in the field provides access to case and client information, forms and documents. It also enables social workers to record interviews, take photos and note findings while in the field.
Evernote — Evernote is a note-taking app that also scans documents, saves website screenshots and enables PDF and document searching.
Google Translate — When you need to talk to a non-native speaker or are having a difficult time understanding, use Google Translate to cross language barriers.
Happify — Prioritize self-care with this app’s activities to improve emotional well-being.
KnowBullying — The SAMHSA app gives tips for starting meaningful conversations about bullying with kids. It teaches how to recognize bullying and prevent it.
Talk. They Hear You. — This SAMHSA app to prevent underage drinking gives users tools to talk with children and teens about the dangers of alcohol.
The Savvy Social Worker — Get the latest on new developments in social work practice, including best practices and evidence-based practices , in an e-news reader format.
Suicide Safe — The Suicide Safe app by SAMHSA teaches users how to use the SAFE-T approach when working with patients. It also provides treatment resources, crisis lines, fact sheets and educational opportunities.
Get the Social Work Support You Need
There are thousands of social work resources available to help you succeed in your social work career and better serve your clients. Refer to this guide for social worker resources that can help.