Although research has been conducted concerning differences between rural and urban social work practice, less is known about differences between rural and urban social workers. Findings from this investigation suggest that social workers who grew up in rural areas, those who participated in rural practica, and those who received rural-focused education at the BSW and MSW levels were more likely to be employed in a rural setting than those not sharing these characteristics. Given that the recruitment and retention of social workers in rural settings has been documented as an ongoing concern, developing a better understanding of differences between these groups is warranted. Findings from this investigation suggest that social work educational programs could increase the number of rural social workers by using strategies focused on group-specific recruitment, curriculum content, and practica location.

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