Program Competencies and Practice Behaviors




Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly

  • Advocate for client access to services
  • Demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, & communication
  • Practice personal reflection & self-correction for professional development
  • Attend to professional roles & boundaries
  • Engage in career-long learning
  • Use supervision & consultation


Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice


  • Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice
  • Make ethical decisions by applying standards of the NASW Code of Ethics
  • Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts 
  • Apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions


Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments


  • Distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge
  •  Analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention and evaluation
  •  Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities and colleagues

Engage diversity and difference in practice

  • Recognize the extent to which a person's culture structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power
  • Gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups
  • Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of differences in shaping life experiences 
  • View themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants

Advance human rights and social and economic justice


  • Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination
  •  Advocate for human rights and social/economic justice
  •  Engage in practices that advance social and economic justice

Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

  • Use practice experiences to inform scientific inquiry
  • Use research evidence to inform practice

Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment

  • Utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention and evaluation
  • Critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment

Engage in policy practice to advance soc and econ  well-being and deliver effective social work services

  • Analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being
  • Collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action

Respond to contexts that shape practice

  • Discover, appraise, and attend to changing contexts to provide relevant services
  • Provide leadership in promoting changes in service delivery and practice to improve service quality

Engage, assess, intervene, & evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, & communities

  • Substantively and effectively prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
  • Use empathy and other interpersonal skills
  • Develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes
  • Collect, organize, and interpret client data
  • Assess client strengths and limitations
  • Develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives
  • Select appropriate intervention strategies
  • Initiate actions to achieve organizational goals
  • Implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities
  • Negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients
  • Facilitate transitions and endings
  • Critically analyze, monitor and evaluate interventions
  • Help clients resolve problems