Salary surveys in 2010 revealed that the median yearly wages for a school, hospital, or social services social worker were approximately $39,000. Furthermore, more than half of all social workers earn yearly wages between $30,000 to $52,000 per year. The following factors most influenced the salary: education, experience, and industry. Social workers in the highest paying positions earned $66,000 or greater per year, and those social workers in the lowest paid categories earned $25,000 or less.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Social Worker Job Description and Outlook
The main purpose of a social worker’s job is to assist people in bettering the quality of their lives. The social work professional provides support for individuals and families, and this professional helps people cope with the struggles of everyday life. Personal problems, family, and relationships can be the source of stress for many people. Social workers are great resources for assistance. Sometimes people just need a little help to solve certain problems. People have major problems to deal with in life. Disability, illness, divorce, and domestic violence are just a few of the many serious situations that people must handle. Oftentimes, a social worker will become an advocate for disadvantaged groups of people. They act as the voice for these groups of people. Specialization is a common career option in social work. For instance, a medical social worker primarily focuses on providing psychosocial help to individuals and families dealing with terminal, chronic, or acute illnesses. The social work professional acts as a support system for these people. They provide this support for both the caregiver and patient.
Additionally, there are social workers that focus on assisting the elderly. They can help families find supportive resources for senior citizens. Some of these services focus on both the caregiver and the senior citizen. Social workers lead support groups for adult children of elderly parents. The support group provides strength that enables the caregiver to continue caring for the parent.
Another specialty is mental health social work. Social workers in this field assist people with mental and emotional problems or disorders. Social workers can facilitate the following treatment mechanisms: outreach services, group and individual therapy, crisis intervention, and social rehabilitation. Psychiatric social workers are experienced in managing the case file of mentally ill people. When there is family or supportive people available, the social worker will work closely with them to help the mentally ill person adjust to daily life successfully. Therapy sessions that span a great deal of time can sometimes help the mentally ill patient avoid inpatient stays in mental institutions. Social workers have access to resources that can assist people with many expenses. Rent, mortgages, utilities, food, and transportation are the major expenses that some non profit organizations assist with.
Social workers that assist with school and children focus on other areas of assistance. The social work professional is concerned with helping the student achieve personal and academic goals. Some of the following problems exist in the school system: truancy, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and domestic violence. These issues only represent a few issues that school age children and young adults deal with everyday.
Social workers provide assistance to almost every group of people. People going through various problems in life can receive some help from these professionals. Those that usually excel in this field are patient and compassionate. It is important to be a good listener. The successful social worker must also be able to motivate and persuade a client to take action. In some cases, the social worker may have to be stern. The client is looking for someone that can tell them the truth about their situation. Thus, the social work professional must remain professional at all times; however, compassion and empathy are also essential to being a good social worker. In the future, more social workers will be needed in many different areas. For instance, gerontology is a popular field within social work. The larger elderly population will require more social workers to deal with the increasing demands.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Social Worker Training and Education Requirements
The minimum qualification for social work is a bachelor’s degree. This degree can be in sociology, psychology, criminal justice or some other behavioral science discipline. A licensed social worker is required to practice in many social work job. Clinical social work jobs require a master’s degree in social work and the proper licensure. Those that desire a professor or research position must attain a doctoral degree in social work.
Social Worker Certifications
Most states require that a social worker be licensed. The District of Columbia has this requirement also. Social work graduates must also get two years of supervised clinical experience. This requirement must be fulfilled before the social worker will be licensed by the state.
Social Worker Professional Associations
Currently, the National Association of Social Workers has the largest social work professional membership. This organization has been instrumental in furthering the growth of the discipline of social work. Professional standards are created and upheld by NASW. In addition, this organization advocates for certain social policies.
Most popular careers in Health:
- Medical Assistant
- Medical Billing and Coding
- Medical Transcriptionist
- Pharmacy Technician
- Health Administration
- Medical Sonographer
- Dental Assistant
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