One way to become successful as a social worker student or on the job is to find other social workers to network with. Much of that networking needs to be local, so you have resources available to help you help others. But staying on top of trends in the industry is important too. As a student especially, learning about new legislation, theories, or insights can help generate discussion and put you at the top of the class. Online journals and forums designed specifically for social workers can provide those resources you need to be the best in your field. The following twenty online journals, forums, and social media outlets offer information to help you attain your goals.
- Child & Family Social Work: With a focus on children and families, this journal provides social workers with current issues and archives of the most recent issues. They also offer an online availability for “call for papers.”
- Clinical Social Work Journal: This journal publishes leading, peer-reviewed original articles relevant to contemporary clinical practice with individuals, couples, families, and groups. It also presents innovations in theoretical, practice, evidence-based clinical research, and interdisciplinary approaches. You can find downloads of articles online, as well as the opportunity to submit work.
- International Social Work: This is a scholarly peer reviewed journal designed to extend knowledge and promote communication in the fields of social development, social welfare, and human services. You can find the current issue and forthcoming articles published ahead of print at this site.
- Journal of Social Work: This is an international peer reviewed forum for the publication, dissemination and debate of key ideas and research in social work. You can find online articles here that promote, debate and analyze current themes and issues in social work theory, research, policy and practice, sometimes before they’re published in print.
- Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics: This journal examines the ethical and values issues that impact and are interwoven with social work practice, research, and theory development. The current edition is available online, as well as an archive, and a way to submit manuscripts.
- Qualitative Social Work: This journal provides a forum for those interested in qualitative research and evaluation and in qualitative approaches to practice. Look for the current issue online, as well as forthcoming articles published ahead of print.
- Social Work & Society: Social Work and Society (SW&S) is an international network of social scientists and political activists in the fields of social work and social policy. You can find current issues and archives available at their site. They have an “open access” policy.
- Social Work Today: This journal tackles topics such as addictions, mental health, children and family, aging, healthcare, and professional practice. They hold current issues and article archives online as well as a “Digital Edition” section.
- The British Journal of Social Work: Published for the British Association of Social Workers, this is the leading academic social work journal in the UK. It covers every aspect of social work, with papers reporting research, discussing practice, and examining principles and theories. This journal offers online access to the current issue as well as archives.
- The New Social Worker: This online magazine has been in operation for almost two decades. They carry job listings, a forum, and articles that keep social workers updated with their careers.
Beyond this list, take look at university and college websites for social work or social worker forums. Many higher-education institutions that maintain social work programs also provide forums for students to talk about social work issues across the spectrum. You often need to be a student in a given program to gain access to those resources.
- Socialworkhelper.com: This is a professional online magazine where users can engage listen to podcasts, share information, comment on news stories, view archived twitter chats, and much more.
- CareSpace Social Work Forums: Learn more about the social work profession, children’s and adult services, the practice, careers, and residential care, among other topics at this forum.
- Council on Social Work Education Discussion Forums: This is an electronic mailing list community that requires registration to join in the conversations. You also can join as a Council on Social Work member.
- Social Worker Jobs Forum: This job site provides a way to communicate about social work jobs from around the country and the world. Topics include PhD degrees, new graduate stress, career change, and other issues.
- The GradCafe Social Work Forum: You must register before you can comment, but feel free to browse topics such as information about various college programs, college woes, and field placement interviews, and more.
As forums are becoming more and more a thing of the past, most people are connecting and interacting with social media now. While there are many outlets you can follow on Facebook and Twitter, here are a few key sites that can be a stepping stone toward developing your online identity. As always, be aware of what you post publicly online and consider the ethical implications of what you post.
- LinkedIn Networking and Discussion Forum for Social Workers: Connect with other social workers in this professional social media format. You can also promote your business and skills by posting articles, questions, and answers. You must be a LinkedIn member to participate.
- This Twitter list of social workers: Twitter is great tool for real-time interaction, even if on a microlevel. This list of over 300 social workers and institutions is filled with a variety of people you can add to your following list.
- Twitter chats: Another way to talk in real-time about specific issues at a predetermined time. Social Worker Helper does a great job of organizing these chats, and archiving them as well.
- Reddit: Essentially the modern online forum, the social worker subreddit goes more in depth than twitter’s character limit allows. Many questions you probably have about MSW programs and social work in general will be asked and hopefully answered here.
- The National Association of Social Workers Facebook: It’s always a good idea to stay up-to-date with the NASW. They post frequently on Facebook, as well as longer posts and an archive on their blog.
What to Consider When Evaluating MSW Options
Online programs are designed for students who want to complete their education without the constraint of traditional classroom scheduling. When considering an online option, keep the following in mind:
- Is the program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)? (Online MSW programs must meet the same CSWE accreditation standards as campus-based programs.)
- Does the program offer the area specialization or concentration you want in addition to ample field placement opportunities in your area of interest?
- Does the program offer on-campus or online research facilities, academic advising, classroom training, or internships?
Below you’ll find a list of accredited schools that meet the above criteria and offer a number of quality degree options:
Sacred Heart University
University of Southern California
Grand Canyon University
Indiana Wesleyan University