Clinical Social Worker Job Description and Career Outlook

Clinical social workers are mental health specialists who support individuals, families and groups in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, detention facilities and treatment centers. These professionals assist clients who may need help with both temporary and chronic problems such as homelessness, unemployment, domestic violence and substance abuse. Clinical social workers are generally interested in working with their clients to prevent and respond to mental illness, behavior problems, poverty and other life events.

Clinical Social Worker Requirements and Common Tasks

Clinical social worker jobs require a minimum of a master’s degree in social work along with a state license, which is usually obtained following a period of supervised clinical practice. Clinical social work requires an extensive understanding of mental health issues, current laws and regulations combined with strong interpersonal and assessment skills.

While many clinical social workers are employed in an office setting during regular business hours, some positions require evening, weekend and on-call work. These professionals may be employed by nonprofit social service organizations, health care providers, schools, law enforcement agencies, child protective services and the armed forces. Daily tasks can include performing client assessments, facilitating treatment groups, conducting family counseling and networking with other professionals to access services for clients.

Clinical Social Worker Salary and Career Outlook

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for all types of social workers is expected to grow 16 percent between 2008 and 2018, with the total number of social work jobs increasing from 642,000 to 745,400. In November 2011, the average national salary for a clinical social worker was estimated at $65,000. The overall aging of the population, combined with an increased need for mental health professionals, has led to the growing demand for clinical social workers throughout the United States.

How to Become a Clinical Social Worker

Clinical social workers require a master’s degree in social work combined with a number of hours spent working under supervision to qualify for state licensure. Many clinical social workers begin their career as general social workers with an undergraduate degree in social work before completing a graduate degree. In addition to a graduate degree, clinical social workers must have strong interpersonal skills and be able to pass extensive background checks related to client safety.

Top 10 Clinical Social Work Blogs

The following clinical social work blogs provide insights into the social work field and are great resources for aspiring social workers who want to learn about what it is like to work in a clinical setting.

clinical social work blogNotes from the Couch
Nate Prentice, working psychotherapist and clinical social worker, shares helpful advice, current events in therapy, and his personal insights in “Notes from the Couch.” The blog is a combination of useful and practical tips based on his own experiences and updates on the latest in therapy and social work with just a dash of humor.

Adventures of a (not so) Cheap Social Worker
The anonymous author of “Adventures of a (not so) Cheap Social Worker,” shares the daily trials, tribulations and random occurrences in her role as a hospital’s medical social worker. Readers get to experience the daily insanity of death threats, aggression, and other risks from a safe distance as this mystery blogger sheds light on the life of the clinical social worker.

Hold my Hand
“Hold my Hand” is a blog about the personal and professional stories of a nursing home social worker. Doris Plaster invites readers into the difficult but rewarding world of her job with touching stories about residents, their lives, deaths, and courageous moments, bringing life and humanity to this often overlooked segment of the population.

Social Work.Career
As a career-focused blogger, Dorlee Michaeli provides her readers with resources, tips, and suggestions on becoming a social worker or other mental health professional. “Social Work.Career” is Dorlee’s way of sharing her experiences in becoming a social worker and earning a graduate degree with those who have an interest in the profession.

Antisocial Social Worker
The anonymous writer of “Antisocial Social Worker” shares very personal thoughts and impressions of his job as a social worker and how it affects his life outside of work. He delves into his own, self-described antisocial tendencies and how they are seemingly in opposition to his chosen life’s path with wit and a touching introspection that invites readers into his mind and heart.

Sundown Social Work
With a focus on news and musings, Brandice Schanbel, author of the blog “Sundown Social Work” offers up thoughts, facts, and insights on everything from current political events to mental illness. As a clinical geropsychiatric social worker, Brandice works with the elderly who are sundowning and has a unique perspective on mental health, aging, and society’s reactions to the elderly and mentally ill.

This Is Me
Melody Baker Ramdon, the author of “This Is Me”, is a clinical social worker who shares her personal and professional experiences with her readers. Her posts are in depth, insightful, and thoughtful observations about her patients, her coworkers, and herself that attempt to get at the roots of everyone’s actions and issues in order to help her readers better understand themselves.

Hope Forward
Melissa Groman is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist who specializes in counseling, eating disorders, and healing emotional pain and who also writes about her experiences in an effort to help others. In her blog “Hope Forward,” Groman shares her professional advice and insights into coping with loss, grief, and pain and how to heal, deal with pain, and move forward in tough situations.

Everyone Needs Therapy
The world of therapy and mental health is humorously and insightfully navigated by anonymous blogger, clinical social worker, and social science researcher Therapydoc. In her blog “Everyone Need Therapy,” the anonymous blogger writes expertly and extensively on a range of topics relating to mental health and the world of therapy in the hope that she can shed light on these subjects for the lay person.

With the aim of bringing overlooked and neglected news and views to their readers, social worker Kiersten Marek and nurse Ninjanurse, blog with wit, wisdom, and a dash of humor and lightheartedness at “Kmareka”. Together, Kiersten and Ninjanurse bring together news and stories on health, the environment, the economy, and social issues as well as their thoughts and opinions based on years of professional experiences.

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