The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Why Choose Social Work?

Core Social Work Competencies.

Why Choose the Social Work Profession?

If you are looking for a career with diversity and meaning, consider social work. The fundamental mission of the social work profession is to serve people needing assistance and to work to make social institutions more responsive to human needs. Social work is distinguished from other helping professions by its person-in-environment focus and its strong commitment to social and economic justice.

The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior, of social, and economic, and cultural institutions, and of the interaction of all these factors. Social workers can be found in a wide range of work settings providing a wide range of services including: helping people obtain tangible services; providing counseling and psychotherapy to individuals, families, and groups; helping communities provide or improve social and health services; and participating in the legislative process.

The following areas of practice employ social workers:

  • Mental health clinics and outpatient facilities
  • Social service agencies
  • Schools
  • Government agencies
  • Health clinics and outpatient health care settings
  • Hospitals and medical centers
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Colleges and universities


Recruitment PowerPoint that defines Social Work Motivations and Goals and lists general career paths.


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Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System