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Professional Social Work

The social work profession is committed to the realization of individual and collective well-being through the advancement of social justice, the provision of effective programs and services, and the enhancement of individual and family development. The primary responsibility of social workers is to the most vulnerable groups and individuals.

Social work views differences among people as enriching the quality of life for all and places positive value on varying perspectives provided by race, ethnicity, gender, age, and other characteristics. Social work seeks to enhance opportunities for individuals, especially those who have historically been oppressed, to participate to their maximum in society.

Social work is practiced in a wide variety of settings. These range from hospitals and clinics, schools, public welfare departments, and family and child welfare agencies to counseling agencies, mental health clinics, gerontology and geriatric programs, and immigrant/refugee centers. The societal mandate of social work is to be prepared to intervene at various levels: with individuals, families, and groups; with organizations and communities; and with broader levels of government focusing on resource development and social policy changes.

Career Opportunities

The BSW program prepares students for beginning level professional social work practice in public welfare agencies, alcohol detoxification centers, corrections, hospitals, day care centers for the elderly, and youth-serving agencies. Graduates have also pursued careers in other professions such as law, school counseling, and urban planning.

The MSW program prepares students for advanced professional social work practice with children and families, and in health, mental health, gerontology, justice, and other areas. Career opportunities include practice, policy and program planning, research, and other leadership positions in public or private agencies. Graduates of the school have careers in social work in Hawai‘i, other states, and other countries. Our SWITCHED-ON! Distance Education MSW Option focuses on educating and training professional social workers for practice on the neighbor islands.

The PhD program prepares students for leadership roles in social policy, social program management, planning and evaluation, and research to enhance the knowledge base of social work practice.

The school offers notice of position openings for its students and the community. Career employment sessions are held each year for graduating students.