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Choosing Social Work as a Profession: The Nine Competencies

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 1426 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Choosing Social Work as my Profession will help you understand the competencies that are discussed within the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  This paper will walk you through these nine competencies and explain what role the social worker has within.  Choosing Social Work as my Profession will also explain why I decided to go back to school and try to obtain my MSW.  

Choosing Social Work as a Profession

Nine Competencies

A Social Worker is a professional working with the public to help them in areas that they may need help with.  A Social Worker can be a therapist or an advocate.  They can give guidance and/or direction as to where to turn to help with decisions.  Social Workers wear a variety of hats.  There are nine competencies that relate to social work. These nine competencies are listed below.

Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior

When a person demonstrated ethical and professional behavior they abide by the standards and use critical thinking.  Personal values are being displayed in a manner where you show respect for the other person.  Showing professional behavior is displaying your professional manners, dressing the part, communicating properly, and having the correct demeanor about you.  Demonstrate professionalism within oral and written documentation.

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

Engaging diversity and differences in your practice will be needed daily.  Every person is different so therefore you will need a variety of ways to complete therapy.  For example: if you are working with a child, you will need to find different words or different ways to be on the level of that child so that the child will understand what you are talking to them about.  You may need to use pictures instead of a question and answer forms.  You will have to engage in diversity due to age, class, color, culture, ability, ethnicity, etc.  A social worker is always open to new things to learn.

Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice

Social Workers understand that there are barriers that may be influencing others and they are trained to help eliminate those barriers.  Economically, socially, and environmentally a Social Worker will advocate for the rights of people at certain levels.  Social Workers also may act upon practices that may help them advance in these areas.

Competency 4: Engage in Practice-Informed Research and Research-Informed Practice

Social Workers are well informed of scientific research and know-how to build their knowledge in areas that need perfecting.  They use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research methods that may help them with therapy.  Critical thinking is needed for them to research and translate evidence so that the information may be delivered professionally.

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

Social Workers know that policy background for their state, local and federals levels.  Social Workers also know what is to be expected of them.  Policies will tell you what is expected of you as a social worker at micro, mezzo, and macro levels.  When you engage in policy practice you have a right to come forth and advocate in areas of human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice areas. 

Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Social Workers not only engage with one on one but they have various types of engaging with the community.  Social Workers apply empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to engage with a variety of clients.  Groups can be created to reach a larger quantity of people.  Public organizations may organize a day to reach others at a larger number of people (for example Day of Hope).  Social Workers can reach people through these types of gatherings to put their literature and information out to the public.  Individual and family sessions may be needed for various types of therapy (for example marriage counseling, PTSD, substance abuse (SUD), etc.).

Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

When a social worker assesses a client, they will collect information that is given and use critical thinking to interpret what is needing to be worked on.  When an assessment is being evaluated, knowledge of the human behavior and social environment, the person in the environment, and other frameworks are analyzed, the social worker will review goals and objectives based on the client’s strengths, needs, and challenges.  Strategies or care plans will then be created to help the client develop healthy goals.

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Social Workers will apply the knowledge that was given during the assessment to intervene or meet with individuals, and families.  Social Workers are the mediator, negotiator, and advocator with and on the behalf of various clients.  Social Workers help with adjustments in different areas if needed.  Social Workers will intervene with whomever they need to in order to help that client reach their goal in a healthy manner. 

Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities

Social Workers will review the different forms of practice and methods to apply their knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.  Monitoring, analyzing, and evaluating processes and outcomes is a major job for the Social Worker.  When evaluating and assessing the findings to improve the micro, mezzo, or macro levels of social work the Social Worker can make the correct decision to see that it gets the correct outcome.

MSW Decision

 The reason I chose to go back to school for my MSW degree has been a long-time decision.  I have worked in the Mental Health Department for 6 years and in the medical field for over 14 years.  I got my divorce and wanted to support my daughter and myself without needing to ask for help.  Patients would talk to me and compliment me on how they felt comfortable talking or relating to me when I would acknowledge them.  I have had multiple people ask me if I had a clinic that they could come to see me.  I took the opportunity when I divorced to sign up for college and decided that I needed to go back to school and can help someone.  I also have been in some bad situations that I feel that I have great knowledge and support that could help with others.  The more I work and talk to people I feel that this is my calling.  I want to help others overcome obstacles that they feel like they are alone in.  Social Workers were there when I needed them, now I feel that I need to be there for when others need that support.  Also, having experience with social workers and their work I find myself wanting to be one. 


 Social Workers take these nine competencies and use them in collecting, assessing and use them for critical thinking.  Using these nine competencies will help the Social Worker be able to choose which method of treatment or therapy for their clients. Overall, a Social Worker is the main key to assessing, intervening, advocating, and can push for areas that need to grow within the communities.



  • East Tennessee State University. (n.d.). CSWE Competencies: https://www.etsu.edu/crhs/socialwork/field_education/bsw_field/cswe_competencies.php
  • Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2015). Introduction to Social Work & Social Welfare. Canada.



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