What is the difference between a social worker, sociologist, and a social psychologist?
A social worker is a professional individual that is looking to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of an individual, group, or community. They do so by intervening through research, policy, community organizing, direct practice and teaching. They help those who are the victims of social injustices. They do research on social policy, human development, etc. Social workers can be work locally, for the government, or internationally. Professional social workers often hold a degree; their education begins with a BA, BSc, BSSW, etc. Many times they must also obtain a license or be professionally registered. An example of a social worker is someone who helps a family with problems with domestic violence.
Sociology is the scientific study of society. They study groups of people as a whole, instead of just solely studying the individual. It focuses on the influences of our relationships around us and how they affect our behaviors and attitudes. Sociologists conduct a lot of research that can be applied directly to social policy and welfare. Sociologists often study social class, culture, social mobility, etc. Sociologists analyze society. You must hold a degree to be considered a sociologist.
A social psychologist studies how people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. Social psychologists explain human behavior as a result of the interaction of mental states and immediate social situations. Social psychologists focus more on the individual and the affect a group has on it, rather than focusing on the group as a whole. Social psychologists use many methods to study the individual, such as experimental, correlation, observational, etc. A social psychologist must have a degree in psychology. Though these three careers sound very similar, and may even have some overlap, they are essentially very different.