Is Social Work Right for You?

Is Social Work Right for You?

You want to get into the booming healthcare market, you want to help people, but needles and sutures make you queasy? There are options other than direct medical care. You could become a social worker in the healthcare field. Its a growing field, so read on to find out more about the types of social workers, social work opportunities in the healthcare field and whether a job as a social worker will work for you.

What is a Clinical Social Worker vs Non Clinical Social Worker?

Per, a Direct Service Social Worker (non clinical) connects people and services. A good example of a Direct Service Social Worker is a discharge planner in a hospital. They help determine program eligibility and refer individuals and families for services they need after a patient leaves the hospital. Other examples are social workers who provide mediation and case management for children and families. Direct Care Social Worker may be allowed to do some counseling, but will not be allowed to do psychotherapy.

A Clinical Social Worker addresses individual and family problems such as serious illness, substance abuse, and domestic conflict. Clinical Social Workers also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. Hospitals hire clinical social workers to counsel patients who are referred by the nursing and medical staff. Clinical Social Workers are allowed to provide psychotherapy. Other settings for clinical social workers include large physician practices such as oncologist, mental health clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, home healthcare and private practice. There are many specialties including: Adolescent psychology, child welfare, and families.

Personality Type

People who go into Social Work usually enjoy helping others. They need good communication and interpersonal skills. Some jobs require workers to have qualities such as critical thinking, problem-solving and strong decision making abilities.

Job Security and Pay

Here’s the good news, as per the US Department of Labor and Statistics, healthcare and community social service jobs are projected to have about 533,000 job openings between 2010 and 2020. At 12% growth this is one of the top growing fields. The aging population and increases in mental health illness maybe driving the growth of the Social Work field. Although the field is growing, this is not a job you will get rich in. The average salary for a social worker is $55,000 per year. Although the positions typically come with great benefits, stability, health insurance and good vacation time and the satisfaction of knowing you are making the difference in the lives of others.

What are the educational requirements?

The minimum requirements to become a Direct Services Social Worker is a Bachelor’s degree. Often people do choose to continue on with their education and get a Master’s degree.

The minimum requirement for a Clinical Social Worker is a Master’s degree. This allows them to provide psychotherapy.

Social workers at the highest level(s) are always licensed – this includes anyone who uses the title clinical social worker. Direct service social workers are often licensed, but it depends on the individual state.

Hopefully we were able to answer some of your questions about the field of medical social work. If you are still in school, or thinking about changing careers and want some job security and the ability to work almost anywhere, this might a strong option to consider. Go to our jobs page to check out Social Work job opportunities.


Career Advice from top Medical Recruiters

Lisa Manley has been a recruiter for leading biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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