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Clinical Social Worker

A clinical social worker can be otherwise called as an ‘advocate for patients’. As a clinical social worker, you would concentrate on medical as well as public health problems. You would largely deal with the social aspects of health. You may also diagnose/treat mental and/or emotional health problems.

As a clinical social worker, you could find a job in various work settings like:

  • Mental health clinics

  • Schools

  • Child welfare agencies

  • Human service agencies

  • Hospitals

  • Private practices

Job Description:

As a clinical social worker, you may have to perform the following tasks:

  • Explaining health care resources and/or policies to the patients

  • Assisting in finding out additional treatment options

  • Offering guidance on how to cope up with any psychosocial issue that could arise

  • Providing the following as and when needed:

    • Clinical counseling

    • Crisis intervention

    • Disaster relief

    • Critical event debriefing

    • Teaching and training

    • Supervision

    • Research

    • Administration

    • Consultation

    • Policy development

  • Enhancing unit readiness as well as the emotional well-being of the patients

  • Conducting and supervising direct patient care

  • Planning and executing disease prevention and/or health promotion programs

  • Performing special staff functions in health support for patients

  • Conducting research, supervising and participating in graduate medical education and/or training of medical personnel

How to Become a Clinical Social Worker?

Educational Requirements:

Most of the positions would require you to hold a master’s degree in social work. In addition, you would require two years of experienced in a clinical setting. Generally, the master’s degree would take two years to complete. All such programs in social work would require you to complete an internship/a supervised practicum.

You would not require a bachelor’s degree in social work for entering into the master’s program. However, I would recommend you to take courses in the following subjects:

  • Psychology

  • Sociology

  • Economics

  • Political sciences

Licensure and Certification:

In the United States, all the states would require you to be licensed. However, exemptions are being provided by few states if you are a clinical social worker working in a government agency. In order to get licensed, you would require a master’s degree plus at least two years/3000 hours of supervised experience. After having completed the experience, the concerned clinical social worker should pass an exam to get licensed.

For more details on the regulatory licensure board, please visit:

Job Outlook and Opportunities:

The job opportunity for clinical social workers has been projected to increase by 19% from the year 2012 to 2022. This growth rate is faster than the median for all the occupations.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for a clinical social worker was found to be $44,200 per year in May 2012. This equals the hourly pay of $21.25.


Average Pay                                        :           $44,200

Education                                            :           Master’s degree plus supervised clinical experience

Number of Jobs, 2012                         :           607,300

Employment Growth from 2012 to 2022         :           19%

On-the-job training                              :           None

Work Experience                                 :           None