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Health & Social Service Jobs

 

This  excerpt from chapter eight of Health Care Job Explosion presents occupations that are in the health services group. The occupations are:

The first specialty is excerpted along with a sampling of resources from the all new 4th edition of Health Care Job Explosion!, Chapter Eight. The remaining occupations are featured in the same format as presented for homemaker-home health aides in the text version of Health Care Job Explosion! Occupational groups are divided into primary and related occupations so that individuals can investigate other fields for additional job opportunities.


Health Care Job Explosion features over 1,400 career exploration and job vacancy resources. Resources are grouped with each occupation and a sample of related resources are included with the listed occupation.

 



SOCIAL WORKER

 RELATED OCCUPATIONS:


Homemaker-home health aide is a service occupation that combines duties of health workers and social service workers. Workers in related occupations that involve personal contact to help or instruct others include:

  • Counselors
  • Probation Officers
  • Correctional Treatment Specialists
  • Psychologists
  • Social & Human Service Assistants

MENU


 

Significant Points

  • About 9 out of 10 jobs were in health care and social assistance industries, as well as state and local government agencies.
  • While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement, a master’s degree in social work or a related field has become the standard for many positions.
  • Employment is projected to grow faster than average.
  • Competition for jobs is expected in cities, but opportunities should be good in rural areas.
Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

Nature of the Work

Social work is a profession for those with a strong desire to help improve people’s lives. Social workers help people function the best way they can in their environment, deal with their relationships, and solve personal and family problems. Social workers often see clients who face a life-threatening disease or a social problem, such as inadequate housing, unemployment, a serious illness, a disability, or substance abuse. Social workers also assist families that have serious domestic conflicts, sometimes involving child or spousal abuse.


Social workers often provide social services in health-related settings that now are governed by managed care organizations. To contain costs, these organizations emphasize short-term intervention, ambulatory and community-based care, and greater decentralization of services.


Most social workers specialize. Although some conduct research or are involved in planning or policy development, most social workers prefer an area of practice in which they interact with clients.


Child, family, and school social workers provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and academic functioning of children. Some social workers assist single parents, arrange adoptions, or help find foster homes for neglected, abandoned, or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy and advise teachers on how to cope with problem students. Increasingly, school social workers are teaching workshops to an entire class. Some social workers specialize in services for senior citizens, running support groups for family care-givers or for the adult children of aging parents, advising elderly people or family members about choices in areas such as housing, transportation, and long-term care, and coordinating and monitoring these services. Through employee assistance programs, they may help workers cope with job-related pressures or with personal problems that affect the quality of their work. Child, family, and school social workers typically work for individual and family services agencies, schools, or state or local governments. These social workers may be known as child welfare social workers, family services social workers, child protective services social workers, occupational social workers, or gerontology social workers.


Medical and public health social workers provide persons, families, or vulnerable populations with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer, or AIDS. They also advise family caregivers, counsel patients, and help plan for patients’ needs after discharge by arranging for at-home services, from meals-on-wheels to oxygen equipment. Some work on interdisciplinary teams that evaluate certain kinds of patients—geriatric or organ transplant patients, for example. Medical and public health social workers may work for hospitals, nursing and personal care facilities, individual and family services agencies, or local governments.


Mental health and substance abuse social workers assess and treat individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Such services include individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and training in skills of everyday living. They also may help plan for supportive services to ease patients’ return to the community. Mental health and substance abuse social workers are likely to work in hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, individual and family services agencies, or local governments. These social workers may be known as clinical social workers.


Other types of social workers include social work planners and policymakers, who develop programs to address such issues as child abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, and violence. These workers research and analyze policies, programs, and regulations. They identify social problems and suggest legislative and other solutions. They may help raise funds or write grants to support these programs.

 

Working Conditions


Full-time social workers usually work a standard 40-hour week; however, some occasionally work evenings and weekends to meet with clients, attend community meetings, and handle emergencies. Some, particularly in voluntary nonprofit agencies, work part time. Social workers usually spend most of their time in an office or residential facility, but also may travel locally to visit clients, meet with service providers, or attend meetings. Some may use one of several offices with-in a local area in which to meet with clients. The work, while satisfying, can be emotionally draining. Understaffing and large caseloads add to the pressure in some agencies. To tend to patient care or client needs, many hospitals and long-term care facilities are employing social workers on teams with a broad mix of occupations, including clinical specialists, registered nurses, and health aides.


Employment


Social workers held about 562,000 jobs in 2004. About 9 out of 10 jobs were in health care and social assistance industries, as well as state and local government agencies, primarily in departments of health and human services. Although most social workers are employed in cities or suburbs, some work in rural areas. The following tabulation shows 2004 employment by type of social worker: Child, family, and school social workers, 272,000; Mental health and substance abuse social workers, 116,000; Medical and public health social workers, 110,000; Social workers, all other, 64,000.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement

Educational Opportunities - Online healthcare degree & certificate programs

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) degree is the most common minimum requirement to qualify for a job as a social worker; however, majors in psychology, sociology, and related fields may qualify for some entry-level jobs, especially in small community agencies. Although a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for entry into the field, an advanced degree has become the standard for many positions. A master’s degree in social work (MSW) is typically required for positions in health settings and is required for clinical work as well. Some jobs in public and private agencies also may require an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree in social services policy or administration. Supervisory, administrative, and staff training positions usually require an advanced degree. College and university teaching positions and most research appointments normally require a doctorate in social work (DSW or Ph.D.).


As of 2004, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited 442 BSW programs and 168 MSW programs. The Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE) listed 80 doctoral programs in social work (DSW or Ph.D.). BSW programs prepare graduates for direct service positions, such as caseworker, and include courses in social work values and ethics, dealing with a culturally diverse clientele, at-risk populations, promotion of social and economic justice, human behavior and the social environment, social welfare policy and services, social work practice, social research methods, and field education. Accredited BSW programs require a minimum of 400 hours of supervised field experience.


Master’s degree programs prepare graduates for work in their chosen field of concentration and continue to develop the skills required to perform clinical assessments, manage large caseloads, take on supervisory roles, and explore new ways of drawing upon social services to meet the needs of clients. A part-time program may take 4 years. Entry into a master’s program does not require a bachelor’s degree in social work, but courses in psychology, biology, sociology, economics, political science, and social work are recommended. In addition, a second language can be very helpful. Most master’s programs offer advanced standing for those with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited social work program.


All states and the District of Columbia have licensing, certification, or registration requirements regarding social work practice and the use of professional titles. Although standards for licensing vary by State, a growing number of states are placing greater emphasis on communications skills, professional ethics, and sensitivity to cultural diversity issues. Most states require two years (3,000 hours) of supervised clinical experience for licensure of clinical social workers. In addition, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) offers voluntary credentials. Social workers with an MSW may be eligible for the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW), the Qualified Clinical Social Worker (QCSW), or the Diplomate in Clinical Social Work (DCSW) credential, based on their professional experience. Credentials are particularly important for those in private practice; some health insurance providers require social workers to have them in order to be reimbursed for services.


Social workers should be emotionally mature, objective, and sensitive to people and their problems. They must be able to handle responsibility, work independently, and maintain good working relationships with clients and coworkers. Volunteer or paid jobs as a social work aide offer ways of testing one’s interest in this field.


Advancement to supervisor, program manager, assistant director, or executive director of a social service agency or department is possible, but usually requires an advanced degree and related work experience. Other career options for social workers include teaching, research, and consulting. Some of these workers also help formulate government policies by analyzing and advocating policy positions in government agencies, in research institutions, and on legislators’ staffs.


Some social workers go into private practice. Most private practitioners are clinical social workers who provide psychotherapy, usually paid for through health insurance or by the client themselves. Private practitioners must have at least a master’s degree and a period of supervised work experience. A network of contacts for referrals also is essential. Many private practitioners split their time between working for an agency or hospital and working in their private practice. They may continue to hold a position at a hospital or agency in order to receive health and life insurance.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 

Job Outlook


Competition for social worker jobs is expected in cities, where demand for services often is highest and training programs for social workers are prevalent. However, opportunities should be good in rural areas, which often find it difficult to attract and retain qualified staff. By specialty, job prospects may be best for those social workers with a back-ground in gerontology and substance abuse treatment.


Employment of social workers is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. The rapidly growing elderly population and the aging baby boom generation will create greater demand for health and social services, resulting in particularly rapid job growth among gerontology social workers. Many job openings also will stem from the need to replace social workers who leave the occupation.


As hospitals continue to limit the length of patient stays, the demand for social workers in hospitals will grow more slowly than in other areas. Because hospitals are releasing patients earlier than in the past, social worker employment in home health care services is growing. However, the expanding senior population is an even larger factor. Employment opportunities for social workers with backgrounds in gerontology should be good in the growing numbers of assisted-living and senior-living communities. The expanding senior population also will spur demand for social workers in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospices.


Strong demand is expected for substance abuse social workers over the 2004–14 projection period. Substance abusers are increasingly being placed into treatment programs instead of being sentenced to prison. Because of the increasing numbers of individuals sentenced to prison or probation who are substance abusers, correctional systems are increasingly requiring substance abuse treatment as a condition added to their sentencing or probation. As this trend grows, demand will increase for treatment programs and social workers to assist abusers on the road to recovery.

 

Employment of social workers in private social service agencies also will increase. However, agencies increasingly will restructure services and hire more lower paid social and human service assistants instead of social workers. Employment in state and local government agencies may grow somewhat in response to increasing needs for public welfare, family services, and child protection services; however, many of these services will be contracted out to private agencies. Employment levels in public and private social services agencies may fluctuate, depending on need and government funding levels.


Employment of school social workers also is expected to grow as expanded efforts to respond to rising student enrollments and continued emphasis on integrating disabled children into the general school population lead to more jobs. There could be competition for school social work jobs in some areas because of the limited number of openings. The availability of federal, state and local funding will be a major factor in determining the actual job growth in schools.


Opportunities for social workers in private practice will expand, but growth may be somewhat hindered by restrictions that managed care organizations put on mental health services. The growing popularity of employee assistance programs is expected to spur demand for private practitioners, some of whom provide social work services to corporations on a contractual basis. However, the popularity of employee assistance programs will fluctuate with the business cycle, because businesses are not likely to offer these services during recessions.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp


Earnings

 

Median annual earnings of child, family, and school social workers were $34,820 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $27,840 and $45,140. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,130, and the top 10 percent earned more than $57,860. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of child, family, and school social workers in May 2004 were: Elementary and secondary schools, $44,300; Local government, $40,620; State government, $35,070; Individual and family services, $30,680; Other residential care facilities, $30,550.

 

Median annual earnings of medical and public health social workers were $40,080 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $31,620 and $50,080. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,390, and the top 10 percent earned more than $58,740. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of medical and public health social workers in May 2004 were: General medical and surgical hospitals, $44,920; Home health care services, $42,710; Local government, $39,390; Nursing care facilities, $35,680; Individual and family services, $32,100.

 

Median annual earnings of mental health and substance abuse social workers were $33,920 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $26,730 and $43,430. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,590, and the top 10 percent earned more than $54,180. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of mental health and substance abuse social workers in May 2004 were: Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, $36,170; Local government, $35,720; Outpatient care centers, $33,220; Individual and family services, $32,810; Residential mental retardation, mental health and substance abuse facilities, $29,110.

 

Median annual earnings of social workers, all other were $39,440 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,350 and $51,530. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,080, and the top 10 percent earned more than $62,720. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of social workers, all other in May 2004 were: Local government, $42,570; State government, $40,940; Individual and family services, $32,280.

 

About 1 out of 5 social workers is a member of a union. Many be-long to the union associated with their place of employment.

Source : Health Care Job Explosion!, Fourth Edition By Dennis V. Damp

 



Resources for Health & Social Services Jobs (Partial Listing)

 

Over 105 total resources are presented in the paperback version of Health Care Job Explosion!, 4th edition by Dennis V. Damp for this occupational group. Resources include Job Ads, Job Hotlines, Job Fairs, Placement services, Associations, Books, Directories and Internet (Web) Sites. Your local library may have this book in their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 plus $5.75 shipping with all major credit cards from our toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only). Also available at bookstores.


American Association of State Social Work Boards - 400 South Ridge Parkway, Suite B, Culpeper, Virgina 22701; 800/225-6880. (http://www.aswb.org, info@aswb.org) Grants licenses in four categories; Bachelors, Masters, Advanced Generalist, and Clinical. Has listing of which licenses are appropriate for each state. Maintains an official registry of licensed social workers, with their educational and licensing data, available to prospective employers at the social worker’s request.

 
American Counseling Association (ACA) - 5999 Stevenson Ave., Alexandria, VA 22304; 800/347-6647. (http://www.counseling.org) Web site has career center with listings of jobs available, most of which are in educational institutions, information on scholarships, and information about state licensing requirements.


American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) - 810 First Street, Northeast, Washington, DC 20002; 202/682-0100. (http://www.aphsa.org) The APWA publishes an annual Public Human Services Directory, $95 for members, $115 to nonmembers, with free updates on the web to members, which includes human service agency contacts in all 50 states plus territories. Online job ads do not require membership.


Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) - 400 South Ridge Parkway, Suite B, Culpeper, Virginia 22701; 800/225-6880. (http://www.aswb.org, info@aswb.org) The association of state social work boards that regulate social work. ASWB develops and maintains the social work licensing examination used across the country. Has licensing requirements and exam information, and data on social work regulation throughout the U.S. and Canada available online.


Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) - 440 First Street Northwest, Third Floor, Washington, DC 20001; 202/638-2952. (http://www.cwla.org) Association of over 900 public and private non-profit agencies that serve and advocate for abused, neglected, and otherwise vulnerable children. Listing of member agencies by region or state, as well as listing of national agencies. The League offers a placement service on the web under the membership tab, searchable by region. They also have an internship program.


Clinical Social Work Federation (CSWF) -800/270-9739. (http://www.cswf.org , nfscswlo@aol.com) As of early 2006, transitioning to an Association. Online job search tends toward college teaching positions. You can upload an anonymous résumé, and be notified when jobs with your criteria come up.


Employee Assistance Professional Association (EAPA) - 4350 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 410, Arlington, Virginia 22203; 783/387-1000. (http://www.eap-association.com) Members are individuals world wide working in the employee assistance field, in such specialties as work-place and family wellness, employee benefits, and organizational development. The EAPA credentials individuals who work in employee assistance/counseling services. The web site has a job bank and information on credentialing.


Good Works: A Guide to Social Change Careers - Essential Information, P.O. Box 19405, Washington, DC 20036. Good Works is a national directory of social change organizations, listing over 1000 organizations, with information on contacts, staff openings, internships, etc. ($24.00) (http://goodworksfirst.org)

 

Latino Social Workers Organization (LSWO) - Student Summit gives student a chance to network. Job bank on internet. (http://www.lswo.org, LSWO@aol.com)


National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 750 First Street NE, Suite. 700, Washington DC, 20002; 202/408-8600. (http://www.naswdc.org , membership@naswdc.org) Links to state organizations, information on certification, and job link, available to all, but with résumé upload and email job alerts only for members.


Resume Writing Service -  Professionally package your health care resume for entry level, standard, and executive positions.

 

Social Work and Social Services Jobs Online - George Warren Brown School of Social Work, (http://gwbweb.wustl.edu/jobs). A re-source listing jobs in diverse areas of social work. Search by state or keyword.

 

Other Occupations

 

The following health technologist occupations are featured in the all new 4th edition of Health Care Job Explosion!. Each of the following occupations are featured exactly like the Social Worker occupational description on this page and includes resources for each listing. Your local library may have this book in their reference section or you can purchase a copy for $19.95 plus $5.75 shipping with all major credit cards from our toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only).