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
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:
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Resources for Health & Social Services Jobs (Partial
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
American Association of State Social Work Boards - 400 South Ridge Parkway,
Suite B, Culpeper, Virgina 22701; 800/225-6880. (http://www.aswb.org,
firstname.lastname@example.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
Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) - 400 South Ridge Parkway, Suite B,
Culpeper, Virginia 22701; 800/225-6880. (http://www.aswb.org,
email@example.com) 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
, firstname.lastname@example.org) 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)
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 750 First Street NE, Suite. 700,
Washington DC, 20002; 202/408-8600. (http://www.naswdc.org
, email@example.com) 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
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).