Advocacy in Action

Through the stories we share, the Admissions Team at Baylor University hopes to inspire and educate future leaders in the field of social work.

Time to Debunk: 5 Misconceived Notions Surrounding Social Work

Written by Baylor School of Social Work Team on 01.10.19

There is a lot of information out there, and it's definitely not all accurate. Unfortunately, the field of social work is sometimes regarded with misconceived notions and misguided observations, but we’re here to dispel a few of those myths.

Here are five myths surrounding social work  debunked.

Explore Baylor University's digital resource page: Master of Social Work — The  MBA of the Helping Professions!

1. The pay is low. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau survey in 2018, the average annual income for one working adult was $33,706. The Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that the 2018 median pay for social workers was $49,470, significantly more than the national average income.

In Texas specifically, the average salary for those holding a master's in social work is higher than the national average, coming in at $63,163. It is possible to have a financially successful career, while helping others.

Pro-tip: Check out — 5 Lucrative Jobs You Can Begin After Getting an MSW, to learn about some of the highest paying jobs in the industry!

2. It has ties to the socialist ideology.

The social work profession is in no way tied to the socialist ideology. The first social workers came about in the 19th century after the end of feudalism, as a result of the Poor Law. At the time, there were no governmental systems in place to care for the poor. By the late 1800s, Jane Adams had helped to found a system of settlement houses, which grew into a movement that provided legal, educational, and health services to the disadvantaged. By 1929, ten university programs had been established in social work, and by 1955, the National Association for Social Workers was formed to provide opportunities for professional development.  

Read more: Learn about 5 revolutionary thought leaders who have helped shape the social work profession into what it is today.

3. The MSW isn’t a professional degree.

Incorrect. The MSW is a professional degree, meaning that it is designed to prepare graduates for a practice-oriented career within the field of social work.

Pro-tip: Have questions about what the social work profession is really all  about? Explore our guide — What Do Social Workers Actually Do? — to find out!

4. Social work careers are limited.

According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of social work is projected to grow faster than average over the next decade. As fields such as health care and the need for specialists in mental health and substance abuse grow, social work will also experience a career uptake.

Read more: Not only is this field expected to grow 11 percent (much faster than average) between 2018-2028, there are also endless possibilities for specialized work in the field. Explore — 5 Specialty Areas of Social Work — to learn more. 

5. All social workers are therapists or work for CPS.

Some licensed clinical social workers do serve as therapists or work for Child Protective Services (CPS) as a case worker, but careers in social work are not limited to only these opportunities. There are countless different environments you can choose to work in, and even more ways you can specialize in your specific area of expertise.

Read more: Looking for a outside-of-the-box social work career? Read — 5 Nontraditional Careers in Social Work — for more ideas!

At Baylor, we want to help you follow your dreams of pursuing an impact-driven career in social work.

A career in social work isn't for the faint of heart, but because of people like you, individuals and communities in our world who are struggling are able to find hope and support.

To be the best possible advocate that you can be, it is important to arm yourself with the best education and tools. At Baylor University, our Master of Social Work degree is grounded in research, supported by expert faculty, and flexible enough for the busiest working professional. If you have questions about what it would mean to pursue a degree and a career in social work, we hope you'll request more information, plan a visit, or start your application today!

Explore our digital resource page, Master of Social Work — The MBA of the Helping Professions!


Posted by Baylor School of Social Work Team

We are the admissions team at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, at Baylor University. We believe social work is about service and justice; it is about the dignity of individuals and the power of relationships; it is about integrity and competence, and our mission here is preparing social workers to do these things well. We hope you find our resources helpful and informative as you explore and pursue a degree in social work!