Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to the practice of social work.
An extraordinary, life-changing experience
As a social work student, you are part of Camosun's School of Arts and Science.
The School of Arts and Science is an excellent choice for academic or career studies. Each semester, we offer hundreds of courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, English and Psychology. Are you interested in courses such as Astronomy, Canadian Literature, Anthropology, Mathematics or Child Psychology?
Our students benefit from small class sizes and flexible full and part-time study options, including the possibility of taking some distance courses. Dedicated and experienced faculty encourage academic and personal growth in an environment that fosters a caring concern for the individual. Whether you are interested in a few general interest classes or two full years of university transfer courses, the School of Arts and Science is your first choice. Learn more.
What is social work?
The International Federation of Social Workers General Meeting in Montréal, Canada, July 2000 adopted the following definition of social work:
The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.
Where do social workers work?
Social workers are found in many settings including schools, family and child services, community care, non-government welfare agencies, correctional services, public welfare, private practice, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, general and psychiatric hospitals, agency administration, federal, provincial, and municipal government departments, social policy, planning and research, and charity and religious organizations.
What do social workers do?
From the Canadian Association of Social Workers:
The duties performed by social workers vary depending on the settings in which they work.
- Social workers employed by child welfare agencies (public and private) investigate cases of family violence, child abuse and neglect and take protective action as required. They may recruit foster parents or supervise the placement of children in protective care.
- Many school boards hire social workers to help students adjust to the school environment.
- In general and psychiatric hospitals, social workers are members of the treatment team. In these settings they contribute to the care, treatment and rehabilitation of the aged and of physically or mentally ill individuals, as well as the care of disabled persons.
- In health and community services centres, social workers are involved in the provision of counselling to individuals or families and in providing services to seniors.
- Some work as community developers helping citizens to identify their needs and proposing ways of meeting these needs.
- In the correctional field, social workers may be part of a team concerned with the social rehabilitation of young or adult offenders.
- Social workers in private practice offer their services on a fee-for-service basis to individuals, families and organizations. Their services include counselling, psychotherapy, mediation, sex therapy, policy and program development, organizational development, and employee assistance programs.
- Social workers involved in policy analysis, policy development and planning are usually working in federal and provincial departments or social planning councils. Researchers are found in universities and governments. Others are teaching in universities and community colleges.
What are the working conditions?
According to Work BC, most social workers have a standard work week although there are exceptions in handling emergency situations or attending community or client meetings. Social workers spend most of their time in an office or residential facility but they may travel locally to visit clients or meet with service providers.Social Work is a regulated profession and social workers are required to be registered with the British Columbia College of Social Workers unless they work for an exempt employer. This occupation can be emotionally demanding and "employee burnout" is quite common. Large caseloads also add extra pressure.
The average provincial salary for full-time social workers from the 2006 census was $53,000 to $66,000 per year.
The largest concentrations of social workers are employed by health and social services and the provincial government. 81% of all social workers in B.C. are women.