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Health Social Workers

Health social workers, also known as medical and public health social workers, offer psychosocial support to families, individuals and vulnerable populations in order to help them deal with acute, chronic or terminal illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease. They also provide counseling to patients and give advice to family caregivers.

Some sample job titles are medical social worker, social worker, psychiatric social worker, social work case manager, clinical social worker, nephrology social worker, renal social worker and oncology social worker.

Health social workers assist in making plans to meet the needs of patient's after they leave the hospital. They often make arrangements for at-home services. Some medical and public health social workers are part of an interdisciplinary team that evaluates particular types of patients such as organ transplant patients.

Public health social workers sometimes help individuals and populations suffering from injuries and ailments associated with community disasters or sickness. They identify the connection between social factors and health.

Those with the job title of social worker help people deal with various issues in their everyday lives, resolve personal and family problems and deal with their relationships. Some social workers help families that are dealing with serious domestic conflicts which sometimes involve spousal or child abuse.

Some social workers assist people that have a disability or a serious disease or a social problem such as substance abuse or inadequate housing. Many social workers specialize in assisting a specific population or work in a particular setting.

Responsibilities

  • Identify environmental obstacles to patient or client progress via interviews and reviewing their records
  • Advocate for patients or clients in order to resolve crises
  • Conduct research
  • Participate in systems design and in planning and policy development
  • Work with other professionals to evaluate a patient's physical or medical condition and to determine a client's needs
  • Advocate for better services
  • Provide referrals to clients, patients or families to useful community resources
  • Plan the discharge from a care facility to the patient's home or other care facility
  • Plan and coordinate patient or client care and rehabilitation
  • Observe, evaluate and record a clients progress according to measurable objectives

Job Characteristics

Medical and public health social workers usually work 40 hours a week. They sometimes need to work in the evenings and on the weekends. Medical and public health social workers often leave their office to go to clients' homes, hospitals, meetings and nursing care facilities. They often meet with service providers. In some agencies, social workers are given large caseloads.

Social workers should be sensitive and dependable. They should enjoy helping people. They should have good communication and interpersonal skills and be good at organizing activities.

Employment Outlook

Between 2006 and 2016 the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 24 percent growth for employment for medical and public health social workers, which is much faster than average for all occupations. Due to patients being released from hospitals earlier than in the past, there is a growing demand for social workers in home healthcare services.

The growing senior population is another major factor for growth in the occupation. The demand for social workers with gerontology backgrounds should increase.

In 2008 the median annual earnings for medical and public health social workers was $45,650.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

The most common minimum requirement for the occupation is a bachelor's degree in social work. However, majors in sociology, psychology or a related subject may qualify a candidate for some entry-level positions, particularly in small community agencies. An advanced degree has become the standard for many social worker jobs.

Jobs in health settings and in clinical work usually require a master's degree. Typically, and advanced degree is necessary for administrative, staff training and supervisory positions.

Coursework for public health social workers usually includes social policy, social work methods, social research methods, human behavior in the social environment, epidemiology, racial and cultural diversity and bio statistics.

Every state has certification, licensing or registration requirements for social work practice and for using professional titles. Standards for licensing vary by state.

Credentials are provided by the National Association of Social Workers. Credentials are especially important for social workers in private practice due to some health insurance providers requiring social workers to have a credential in order to receive reimbursement for services.

Resources

Major Employers

The top employers are nursing and personal care facilities, county health departments, local governments, hospitals, and individual and family services agencies.

Schools for Medical And Public Health Social Workers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Medical and Public Health Social Workers

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Medical and Public Health Social Workers jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 540 $46,920
Birmingham 540 $46,920
Montgomery 230 $49,160
Tuscaloosa 190 $43,430
Huntsville 170 $44,100
Mobile 140 $45,670
Foley 90 $54,720
Fairhope 90 $54,720
Daphne 90 $54,720
Florence 80 $43,630
Muscle Shoals 80 $43,630
Decatur 70 $43,360
Gadsden 60 $35,930
Jacksonville 60 $46,980
Anniston 60 $46,980
Oxford 60 $46,980
Dothan 60 $59,100
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 210 $58,100
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 3210 $37,770
Mesa 3210 $37,770
Phoenix 3210 $37,770
Tucson 520 $42,700
Prescott 270 $57,630
Yuma 60 $64,990
Kingman 30 $50,860
Lake Havasu City 30 $50,860
Flagstaff 30 $60,340
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 480 $51,340
North Little Rock 480 $51,340
Little Rock 480 $51,340
Jonesboro 40 $44,900
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 5490 $67,060
Los Angeles 5490 $67,060
Anaheim 5490 $67,060
Hayward 1910 $73,860
San Francisco 1910 $73,860
Oakland 1910 $73,860
San Bernardino 1210 $61,870
Riverside 1210 $61,870
Ontario 1210 $61,870
San Diego 1000 $72,280
Carlsbad 1000 $72,280
San Jose 660 $75,550
Sunnyvale 660 $75,550
Santa Clara 660 $75,550
Fresno 550 $60,820
Oxnard 200 $58,230
Thousand Oaks 200 $58,230
Ventura 200 $58,230
Lodi 180 $71,910
Stockton 180 $71,910
Santa Rosa 160 $73,810
Bakersfield 130 $69,650
Modesto 120 $50,890
Vallejo 120 $80,960
Fairfield 120 $80,960
Salinas 100 $52,300
Merced 100 $54,420
Santa Cruz 100 $67,610
Watsonville 100 $67,610
Chico 90 $64,580
Porterville 60 $54,790
Visalia 60 $54,790
Santa Maria 60 $55,410
Santa Barbara 60 $55,410
Redding 60 $84,390
Paso Robles 50 $70,440
Arroyo Grande 50 $70,440
San Luis Obispo 50 $70,440
Roseville N/A $67,730
Arcade N/A $67,730
Sacramento N/A $67,730
Arden N/A $67,730
Hanford N/A $83,320
Corcoran N/A $83,320
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 1120 $54,810
Lakewood 1120 $54,810
Denver 1120 $54,810
Colorado Springs 260 $42,300
Fort Collins 170 $45,300
Greeley 110 $42,290
Pueblo 80 $59,500
Grand Junction 70 $56,930
Boulder 50 $62,370
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 550 $62,220
West Hartford 550 $62,220
Hartford 550 $62,220
New Haven 510 $59,150
Norwalk 500 $70,880
Stamford 500 $70,880
Bridgeport 500 $70,880
Danbury 90 $59,360
Waterbury 90 $60,300
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 70 $51,710
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 1810 $48,270
Fort Lauderdale 1810 $48,270
West Palm Beach 1810 $48,270
Tampa 920 $43,450
St. Petersburg 920 $43,450
Clearwater 920 $43,450
Kissimmee 520 $49,440
Orlando 520 $49,440
Sanford 520 $49,440
Jacksonville 470 $46,950
Fort Myers 210 $46,410
Cape Coral 210 $46,410
North Port 180 $51,960
Sarasota 180 $51,960
Bradenton 180 $51,960
Port St. Lucie 150 $47,790
Lakeland 150 $52,080
Winter Haven 150 $52,080
Ferry Pass 140 $46,660
Brent 140 $46,660
Pensacola 140 $46,660
Palm Bay 130 $45,420
Melbourne 130 $45,420
Titusville 130 $45,420
Tallahassee 120 $41,570
Gainesville 120 $54,230
Deltona 110 $48,770
Daytona Beach 110 $48,770
Ormond Beach 110 $48,770
Immokalee 110 $55,160
Naples 110 $55,160
Marco Island 110 $55,160
Crestview 60 $37,640
Destin 60 $37,640
Fort Walton Beach 60 $37,640
Ocala 50 $53,210
Panama City 40 $40,120
Sebring 40 $46,690
Sebastian 30 $51,550
Vero Beach 30 $51,550
Homosassa Springs N/A $46,710
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 2270 $46,840
Sandy Springs 2270 $46,840
Atlanta 2270 $46,840
Albany 170 $33,540
Savannah 170 $48,180
Gainesville 160 $44,870
Clarke County 130 $47,140
Athens 130 $47,140
Macon 110 $41,780
Valdosta 50 $45,830
Rome 50 $46,050
Brunswick 50 $56,190
Dalton 30 $47,040
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 760 $62,040
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 320 $50,110
Idaho Falls 80 $44,430
Coeur d'Alene 60 $51,740
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 100 $57,610
Peoria 80 $48,090
Rockford 60 $58,210
Marion 50 $43,560
Carbondale 50 $43,560
Champaign 50 $47,590
Urbana 50 $47,590
Bloomington 40 $47,570
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 1640 $47,370
Indianapolis 1640 $47,370
Carmel 1640 $47,370
Fort Wayne 710 $33,750
Michigan City 80 $45,660
La Porte 80 $45,660
West Lafayette 60 $48,890
Lafayette 60 $48,890
Elkhart 60 $51,400
Goshen 60 $51,400
Terre Haute 50 $55,050
Columbus 50 $64,780
Bloomington 40 $45,870
Muncie 30 $50,030
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Des Moines 260 $50,540
West Des Moines 260 $50,540
Cedar Rapids 180 $36,420
Iowa City 140 $52,860
Waterloo 110 $42,520
Cedar Falls 110 $42,520
Dubuque 40 $46,350
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 270 $48,760
Topeka 100 $46,230
Lawrence 30 $53,510
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lexington 340 $46,810
Fayette 340 $46,810
Owensboro 50 $37,200
Bowling Green 50 $42,150
Fort Knox N/A $29,920
Elizabethtown N/A $29,920
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 540 $45,910
Metairie 460 $47,360
New Orleans 460 $47,360
Lafayette 170 $47,050
Alexandria 130 $41,410
Bossier City 120 $44,070
Shreveport 120 $44,070
Monroe 110 $54,240
Lake Charles 70 $45,840
Thibodaux 70 $53,470
Houma 70 $53,470
Hammond 60 $57,440
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 200 $49,380
Portland 200 $49,380
Bangor 180 $48,810
Auburn 130 $50,170
Lewiston 130 $50,170
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 2070 $56,550
Columbia 2070 $56,550
Baltimore 2070 $56,550
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Bedford 1090 $35,560
Gardner 350 $52,220
Leominster 350 $52,220
Pittsfield 220 $56,600
Barnstable Town 190 $53,500
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 2470 $51,340
Detroit 2470 $51,340
Warren 2470 $51,340
Wyoming 900 $54,160
Grand Rapids 900 $54,160
Ann Arbor 470 $53,120
Saginaw 230 $56,100
Kalamazoo 220 $57,180
Portage 220 $57,180
Flint 210 $57,280
Lansing 180 $50,120
East Lansing 180 $50,120
Jackson 160 $51,330
Muskegon 100 $45,440
Battle Creek 100 $47,890
Bay City 90 $48,440
Benton Harbor 40 $53,630
Niles 40 $53,630
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 220 $63,200
St. Cloud 60 $53,630
North Mankato N/A $45,850
Mankato N/A $45,850
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 570 $44,090
Gulfport 180 $48,290
Pascagoula 180 $48,290
Biloxi 180 $48,290
Hattiesburg 70 $42,560
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 240 $37,520
Jefferson City 170 $37,590
Joplin 160 $29,700
Columbia 130 $50,040
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Missoula 90 $45,670
Billings 40 $49,640
Great Falls 30 $49,190
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 220 $45,840
Grand Island 40 $41,740
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 360 $60,040
Henderson 360 $60,040
Las Vegas 360 $60,040
Reno 80 $57,350
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 110 $56,590
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 140 $57,320
Bridgeton 70 $54,870
Vineland 70 $54,870
Atlantic City 70 $59,670
Hammonton 70 $59,670
Ocean City 30 $56,960
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 650 $51,730
Las Cruces 110 $53,560
Farmington 70 $35,040
Santa Fe N/A $44,760
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 870 $48,460
Cheektowaga 630 $42,140
Buffalo 630 $42,140
Niagara Falls 630 $42,140
Schenectady 540 $50,810
Troy 540 $50,810
Albany 540 $50,810
Syracuse 270 $47,630
Binghamton 170 $44,710
Rome 100 $47,600
Utica 100 $47,600
Ithaca 60 $54,080
Kingston 60 $59,800
Glens Falls 60 $65,330
Fort Drum 30 $57,290
Watertown 30 $57,290
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 410 $54,790
Winston 290 $46,370
Salem 290 $46,370
Durham 290 $58,900
Chapel Hill 290 $58,900
Asheville 250 $46,710
Morganton 210 $43,040
Lenoir 210 $43,040
Hickory 210 $43,040
Greensboro 180 $46,090
High Point 180 $46,090
Fayetteville 100 $38,730
Wilmington 100 $52,040
Greenville 70 $56,200
Rocky Mount 60 $48,930
Burlington 40 $53,670
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 100 $47,600
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 780 $50,540
Akron 660 $53,510
Dayton 510 $48,500
Toledo 440 $46,620
Canton 160 $47,050
Massillon 160 $47,050
Mansfield 70 $50,360
Springfield 50 $39,260
Lima 50 $48,790
Elyria N/A $56,780
Cleveland N/A $56,780
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 1040 $41,230
Tulsa 530 $39,100
Lawton 50 $38,280
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 250 $57,400
Eugene 120 $66,980
Medford 60 $63,050
Bend 50 $60,270
Redmond 50 $60,270
Corvallis 30 N/A
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 1460 $49,070
Carlisle 480 $44,140
Harrisburg 480 $44,140
Hazleton 350 $45,040
Barre 350 $45,040
Scranton 350 $45,040
Wilkes 350 $45,040
Reading 250 $53,040
Erie 220 $45,980
Hanover 190 $45,570
York 190 $45,570
Lancaster 170 $45,930
Johnstown 100 $42,540
Bloomsburg 60 $46,260
Berwick 60 $46,260
Williamsport 50 $44,540
Gettysburg 40 $47,610
Chambersburg 40 $57,130
Waynesboro 40 $57,130
State College 30 $49,940
Altoona N/A $43,070
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 420 $30,240
Carolina 420 $30,240
San Juan 420 $30,240
Ponce 40 $19,650
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 620 $39,400
Charleston 400 $60,530
North Charleston 400 $60,530
Mauldin 290 $49,040
Greenville 290 $49,040
Anderson 290 $49,040
Spartanburg 130 $50,880
Florence 120 $50,900
Bluffton 70 $37,530
Beaufort 70 $37,530
Hilton Head Island 70 $37,530
Sumter 70 $38,430
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 170 $45,070
Rapid City 50 $40,880
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 830 $57,590
Davidson 830 $57,590
Murfreesboro 830 $57,590
Nashville 830 $57,590
Knoxville 250 $44,800
Jackson 150 $49,030
Johnson City 90 $39,900
Morristown 30 $44,350
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 2870 $56,270
Arlington 2870 $56,270
Fort Worth 2870 $56,270
Sugar Land 2100 $57,440
The Woodlands 2100 $57,440
Houston 2100 $57,440
Austin 810 $54,240
Round Rock 810 $54,240
New Braunfels 670 $56,890
San Antonio 670 $56,890
El Paso 240 $52,590
Brownsville 230 $38,640
Harlingen 230 $38,640
Temple 200 $53,780
Killeen 200 $53,780
Lubbock 200 $61,590
Beaumont 180 $47,670
Port Arthur 180 $47,670
Mission 160 $49,210
McAllen 160 $49,210
Edinburg 160 $49,210
Corpus Christi 140 $49,850
Amarillo 90 $48,900
Abilene 80 $39,890
Laredo 80 $46,400
Bryan 70 $46,210
College Station 70 $46,210
Longview 70 $54,510
Denison 60 $63,150
Sherman 60 $63,150
Waco 50 $48,000
Victoria 40 $58,060
Odessa 40 $64,690
San Angelo 30 $53,970
Wichita Falls N/A $43,790
Tyler N/A $45,910
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 640 $57,060
Clearfield 150 $54,190
Ogden 150 $54,190
Provo 130 $49,470
Orem 130 $49,470
St. George 100 $43,660
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 160 $39,440
Burlington 160 $39,440
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 450 $50,820
Roanoke 220 $46,530
Lynchburg 120 $50,520
Charlottesville 110 $62,220
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tacoma 1870 $60,040
Seattle 1870 $60,040
Bellevue 1870 $60,040
Spokane 280 $55,070
Spokane Valley 280 $55,070
Bellingham 100 $61,020
Olympia 90 $59,340
Tumwater 90 $59,340
Yakima 80 $47,990
Richland 70 $52,020
Kennewick 70 $52,020
Wenatchee 50 $62,190
Walla Walla 40 $47,850
Silverdale N/A $56,860
Bremerton N/A $56,860
Anacortes N/A $64,140
Mount Vernon N/A $64,140
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Morgantown 120 $53,010
Charleston 90 $45,350
Beckley 60 $36,890
Parkersburg 50 $50,360
Vienna 50 $50,360
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 950 $48,150
Waukesha 950 $48,150
Milwaukee 950 $48,150
Madison 250 $50,660
Green Bay 170 $46,390
Fond du Lac 80 $51,530
Eau Claire 70 $55,140
Beloit 60 $40,150
Janesville 60 $40,150
Neenah 60 $58,490
Oshkosh 60 $58,490
Wausau 50 $47,620
Appleton 40 $48,470
Racine 40 $54,530
Sheboygan 30 $47,560

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Medical and Public Health Social Workers

To find out more about building a career as Health Social Workers, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Medical and Public Health Social Workers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Hospital 46,320 35% $51,800
Medical Office 25,070 19% $46,610
Nursing And Residential Care 18,820 14% $40,430
Social Service 18,190 13% $37,960
Government 15,100 11% $43,630
Non-profit 3,250 2% $39,640
Office Services And Staffing 1,400 1% $43,550
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Medical and Public Health Social Workers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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