Social Worker Job Description and Career Outlook
When people have social living impairments, they are turned over to a social worker. Social workers are evaluators and advocates for legal services. They help abused children, the disabled, alcoholics, critically ill people and the homeless. By conducting interviews and following up on conditions and living arrangements, social workers recommend state fund allocations to their clients in the hope that the funds will ease the client back into society. Services may include reduced rent, welfare, food stamps and health care. However, this only comprises the governmental and state assistance portions. Social workers also work in schools as student advocates. Disabilities that are considered manageable can still impair grade and retention performance; therefore, children are less likely to drop out if they have an advocate to give them the tools to graduate.
Ideally, a social worker will be empathetic and tactful. While the job requires helping people, the job also requires encouraging some people to help themselves if they are able. State help is only meant to bridge gaps in terms of daily social living.
Social Worker Requirements and Common Tasks
A social worker counsels, screens and teaches clients. Among their most important tasks is helping people overcome their adversity. Domestic violence, adoption procedures, senior impairments and living arrangements are common problems for a social worker to assess. Other tasks include using procedure and guidelines to streamline the client referral process. This is to assure that those who need help get it as quickly as possible under the state system. Most of the work is conducted through the office.
A social worker is often expected to have a bachelor’s degree in social work, however, specialty degrees are recommended. Master’s degree programs allow students to focus on a specialty. Some specialized social work jobs include school social worker, clinical social worker and medical social worker.
Social Worker Salary and Job Outlook
As the population has increased, so have social service needs. The Department of Labor is expecting a 16% increase through 2018. There are over 640,000 case workers in the US. Entry level social workers earn $25,000 to $52,000. Family and residential care services rank the lowest at $34,000 to $38,000. Government, elementary and medical social workers typically earn the most, with salaries of $40,000 to $53,000.
How to Become a Social Worker
A social worker is expected to have a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is recommended, as it allows for specialization in certain types of social work. States have varying requirements for licensure, which may include qualified work experience before registration. To become a social worker each candidate must follow state and background check procedures before applying for work.