Here are some common myths about social work:
Myth: Most social workers work for the government.
Reality: Fewer than 3 percent of all professional social workers work for the government. About a third of all professional social workers are employed by federal, state, and local governments combined.
Myth: For therapy you need a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Reality: Professional social workers are the nation’s largest providers of mental health and therapy services. Professional social workers are often the only mental health care health care providers serving residents of many poor, rural counties. Social work is designated as one of the four core mental health professions under federal legislation that established the National Institute of Mental Health.
Myth: Most social workers are employed in public welfare or child welfare.
Reality: About one-quarter of all child welfare cases are handled by professional social workers. About 1 percent of NASW members work in the public sector. Professional social workers practice in many settings: family service agencies, mental health centers, schools, hospitals, corporations, courts, police departments, prisons, public and private agencies, and private practice. More than 200 professional social workers hold elective office, including one U.S. Senator and four Representatives.
Myth: Social service employees, caseworkers and volunteers are "social workers."
Reality: A social worker is a trained professional who has a bachelors, masters, or doctoral degree in social work. All states license or otherwise regulate social work practice. A social service employee, caseworker, or volunteer community worker is not a “social worker” unless he or she has a social work degree.