According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest-growing careers in the United States. The profession is expected to grow by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022. More than 650,000 people currently hold social work degrees. Considering a career in social work? In this article, you’ll find social worker job descriptions.
Social workers help people overcome some of life’s most difficult challenges. They also help prevent crises and counsel individuals, families, and communities to cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life.
Professional social workers are found in every facet of community life and in numerous public and private agencies that serve individuals and families in need.
Here Are Some Social Worker Job Descriptions:
Medical Social Worker
Medical social workers are responsible for providing support to patients with chronic or terminal illnesses, as well as their families. They work directly with patients to ensure that they receive proper care, assist with making decisions, and facilitate communication with their medical providers.
Medical social workers typically work in interdisciplinary teams with other health care professionals within hospitals, emergency rooms, nursing homes, hospices, and assisted living facilities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of a medical social worker is $53,590 with the top 10 percent of social workers earning $76,940. Those who work in specialty hospitals earned an annual average salary of $66,640.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors work with individuals who are suffering from dependency on drugs, alcohol, and other substances through both individual and group psychotherapy. This is considered to be one of the most demanding areas of social work, but playing such a vital role in helping addicts recover and changing their lives for the better can be extremely rewarding.
As a substance abuse counselor, you can be employed in rehabilitation facilities, non-profit organizations, correctional facilities, and private practices.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse counselors is projected to grow 22 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Also, median average salaries begin at $39,980 and extend to as much as $63,030.
Child Welfare Caseworker
Child welfare caseworkers provide services to children who are abused, neglected or suffering from impoverishment and homelessness. They work with child protective services to investigate cases of child abuse and intervene when a child is being raised in an unsafe home environment.
As a child welfare caseworker, you regularly visit children and families to assess the state of the home and ensure the welfare and well-being of children and their families. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of child, family, and school social workers is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022, and the median annual salary is $42,120 but varies widely depending on level of education and where you work.
School Social Worker
School social workers are specialized counselors who are typically found helping students from elementary to secondary school.
They are strong advocates on the child’s behalf between teachers, parents, and outside agencies, and are responsible for addressing a number of school issues, such as behavioral intervention programs, truancy prevention programs, sexual education, health education, and crisis intervention.
Depending on location and level of education, school social workers earn a salary ranging from $35,169 to $70,951 annually.
Clinical Mental Health Social Worker
Many mental health social workers provide therapy, and this requires advanced education, as well as licensure, as a clinical social worker (LCSW).
As a mental health social worker, there is a diverse range of mental health services you can provide. You can work in community mental health centers, mental hospitals, private practices, hospitals and even schools.
Mental health social workers assess your clients’ mental health, diagnose mental disorders, develop treatment plans and assist in the daily living of those with mental disorders. Clinical social workers in the United States take home approximately $51,000 per year on average, with the income range spanning between $38,000 and $75,000 per year.
Additional Social Worker Job Descriptions:
Within the most popular career paths mentioned above, a social worker can hold many job titles in a variety of settings outside of social work. Some of these social worker job descriptions include:
Provides counseling to terminal patients and their families. After a person has died, they offer bereavement counseling and groups to surviving family members.
Nursing Home Director
Includes administrative tasks, volunteer coordination, overseeing staff members and providing programming options to residents.
Work at outpatient mental health centers to provide counseling to individuals or families of a variety of ages. Also work on group therapy programs for the mentally ill.
Administrator of Charity Agencies
Work at food banks, homeless shelters or abused women’s shelters to seek funding sources, outreach to the community, coordinate volunteers and provide services to individuals in need.
Child Protective Services Social Worker
Includes answering calls of suspected child abuse and neglect, investigating possible abuse, supervising line staff, observing parents during visits with children, and providing parenting education and counseling.
Psychiatric Crisis Screener
Assess any patients in the ER or on medical units who exhibit psychiatric symptoms or suicidal ideation.
Each practice-related classes and provide valuable perspective for students seeking their Masters of Social Work degrees.
Prison Social Worker
Assess inmates to determine if they need psychiatric services and provide ongoing psych services during their imprisonment. Also, help inmates have a successful release by administering housing.
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