Social Worker

Career Profile:

Social Worker

Social workers are concerned with human needs, both of individuals and groups.
As a social worker, you assist others by helping them cope with issues in their everyday lives, such as dealing with relationships, and solving personal and family problems. Child, family, and school social workers provide social services and assistance to improve the social and emotional state of children and their families. In this role, you’d counsel single parents, arrange adoptions or find foster homes for neglected, abandoned, or abused children. You may specialize in working with people with injuries or serious illness and diseases or in providing services for senior citizens. Mental health and substance abuse social workers assess and treat individuals with mental illness or substance abuse problems such as alcohol abuse, tobacco, or other drugs. Medical and public health social workers provide psychosocial support to people, families, or populations so they can cope with illnesses and diseases such as breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, or AIDS.

Where You Work

You can work in schools, hospitals, family service agencies, clinics, and even in a person’s home.

How You Help

Typically you will help people address issues such as living conditions, unemployment, and substance abuse. You also advise families with domestic violence conflicts. You may conduct research or advocate for improved services. You will talk to patients and families about emotional problems as well as help them manage their financial problems. You create programs to educate people and facilitate classes such as continuing education, illness prevention lessons and support groups for patients and their families.

Helpful High School Courses

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Health Science
  • Family and Consumer Science

Skills to Build

  • Ability to empathize
  • Communication skills
  • Time management
  • Ability to keep a boundary between oneself and the patient


  • Make a difference in people’s lives
  • Patient contact on a daily basis
  • Can work in a variety of locations
  • Flexible work environment


  • Can become emotionally draining
  • Not as highly paid as other health care professions

Education You Need

Bachelor’s degree in social work or a bachelor’s degree in a related field (psychology) and a master’s degree in social work. A licensure in social work is also required in most states.

A Day in the Life

  • 9:30
    Review schedule of patients being seen in clinic or treatment area
  • 9:45
    Check on previous patients and discuss their treatment or progress
  • 11:30
    Meet new patient in clinic
  • 1:00
    Collaborate with other social workers to develop a session for your program for spouses of cancer patients
  • 2:30
    Complete drug-assistance forms and submit to drug companies to get medications for uninsured or low income patients
  • 4:30
    Type up notes and medical records
  • 6:00
    Run a support group for women with advanced breast cancer

Average Annual Salary Range


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* Actual salary dependent on education, experience, location, and other variables