MSW Core Competencies (Learning Objectives)

Demonstrate ethical and professional behavior.

  • Make ethical decisions by applying the standards of the NASW Code of Ethics, relevant laws and regulations, models for ethical decision-making, ethical conduct of research, and additional codes of ethics as appropriate to context.
  • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior; appearance; and oral, written, and electronic communication.
  • Use technology ethically and appropriately to facilitate practice outcomes.
  • Use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior.

Use supervision and consultation to guide professional judgment and behavior.

  • Apply and communicate understanding of the importance of diversity and difference in shaping life experiences in practice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels.
  • Present themselves as learners and engage clients and constituencies as experts of their own experiences.
  • Apply self-awareness and self-regulation to manage the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse clients and constituencies.

Advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.

  • Apply their understanding of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights at the individual and system levels.
  • Engage in practices that advance social, economic, and environmental justice.

Engage in practice-informed research and research-informed practice.

  • Use practice experience and theory to inform scientific inquiry and research.
  • Apply critical thinking to engage in analysis of quantitative and qualitative research methods and research findings.
  • Use and translate research evidence to inform and improve practice, policy, and service delivery.

Engage in policy practice.

  • Identify social policy at the local, state, and federal level that impacts well-being, service delivery, and access to social services.
  • Assess how social welfare and economic policies impact the delivery of and access to social services.
  • Apply critical thinking to analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice.

Engage with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks to engage with clients and constituencies.
  • Use empathy, reflection, and interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituencies.

Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  • Collect and organize data, and apply critical thinking to interpret information from clients and constituencies.
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the analysis of assessment data from clients and constituencies.
  • Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives based on the critical assessment of strengths, needs, and challenges within clients and constituencies.
  • Select appropriate intervention strategies based on the assessment, research knowledge, and values and preferences of clients and constituencies.

Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  • Critically choose and implement interventions to achieve practice goals and enhance capacities of clients and constituencies.
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in interventions with clients and constituencies.
  • Use inter-professional collaboration as appropriate to achieve beneficial practice outcomes.
  • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and constituencies.
  • Facilitate effective transitions and endings that advance mutually agreed-on goals.

Evaluate practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

  • Select and use appropriate methods for evaluation of outcomes.
  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment, person-in-environment, and other multidisciplinary theoretical frameworks in the evaluation of outcomes.
  • Critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate intervention and program processes and outcomes.