Clinical Social Workers help individuals who are usually facing physical, mental or emotional crisis in their lives, for instance, they may be struggling with issues, such as medical problems, mental disorders, problems with disabilities, addiction, behavior or emotional issues. They offer various services to the clients and other agencies, for instance, assessment of health problems, required diagnosis, treatment planning, evaluation of outcomes, counseling for healthy lifestyle and case management during the recovery period.
These professionals work with all-age groups of people such as children, adults, or the elderly, as well as individuals from all social, financial, and ethnic classes. They also act as advocates for marginalized people and help them to obtain their rights for good health and dignity.
Clinical Social Workers are employed in a variety of environments, such as rehabilitation centers, day care facilities, mental health clinics, child welfare centers, human service agencies, educational institutions, hospitals, private practices, non-profit organizations etc. They usually work full time and may need to work in evenings, weekends, and holidays.
To become a Clinical Social Worker, the aspiring candidates must earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from an accredited institution and two years of experience in a supervised clinical setting. The MSW program consists of several classroom courses, along with multiple community projects and field experience, which usually takes two years to complete.
Clinical Social Workers must be licensed in the particular state in which they practice. To earn a license, the candidates must hold a master’s degree and have two years or 3,000 hours of clinical experience and have to pass the examination, administered by the Association of Social Work Boards.
Clinical Social Workers possess a great deal of knowledge in different areas such biological, psychological, and social development; diversity and cultural competency; family and group dynamics; impacts of substance use disorder, illness, trauma, or injury; and the effects of the physical, social, and cultural environment etc. Besides, these professional possess various skills such as empathy towards people, dedication and commitment to serve human being, pleasant communication and interpersonal skills, ability to motivate others, crisis management abilities, competent in computers skills etc
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Clinical Social Worker remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 19% during 2012-2022. The average annual salary of a Clinical Social Worker was $44,200 in 2012.