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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 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 5850 $67,770
Anaheim 5850 $67,770
Los Angeles 5850 $67,770
Scottsdale 3470 $38,550
Mesa 3470 $38,550
Phoenix 3470 $38,550
Warren 2710 $53,120
Dearborn 2710 $53,120
Detroit 2710 $53,120
Baltimore 2580 $56,810
Total Employment for Health Social Workers - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
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Salaries for Health Social Workers - Top 5 Cities Nationwide
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Total Employment and Salary for Professions Similar to Health Social Workers

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.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

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
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Programs
  • Online Master of Social Work
  • Ranked one of the Top Public Schools in 2017 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1766 as a public institution; it has a main campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey and offers many programs online.
  • Has an average freshman retention rate of 91.8%.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 14:1, and 38% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has famous alumni including chef and restauranteur Mario Batali, author Junot Diaz, actor James Gandolfini, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky.
Programs
  • Master of Social Work
  • Ranked 33rd among the Best Grad Schools for Social Work in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Founded in 1904 as the nation’s first institute of higher learning to offer training for clinical social workers.
  • Provides a rigorous education, including a nationally accredited Master of Social Work (MSW) Program and PhD in Social Work.  
  • Offers inventive programs with hands-on experience.  
  • Incorporates social justice values and multicultural perspectives into curriculum. 
Programs
  • Master of Social Work
  • Earn a Master of Social Work online from top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
  • The CSWE-accredited program features live, online classes and hands-on field experiences near your community.
  • Bachelor's degree is required to apply
Programs
  • BA/Social Science - No Concentration
  • BA/Applied Behavioral Science
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Provides an exclusive Ashford Mobile app to keep students connected to the online classroom on the go.
  • Offers a business program in partnership and collaboration with Forbes magazine.
  • Offers several credit transfer and previous experience options for students who qualify.
  • Dedicated to fostering intellectual and personal growth since 1918.
  • Offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs in business, health, education, and more.
Programs
  • M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders
  • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Life Coaching
  • M.S. in Christian Counseling
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
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  • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
Programs
  • Certificate in Trauma
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology program helps students prepare for careers in counseling, marketing/sales, human services, ministry, and more.
  • The School of Psychology & Counseling received a 95% match rate for 4th year Psy.D. student internships in 2015.
  • Programmatic accreditation for psychology programs is provided by the American Psychological Association (APA).
  • Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Programs
  • Human Services (MS)
  • Counseling Psychology (EdD)
  • Counseling Psychology (MA)
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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Programs
  • M.S. in Human Services - Non-Profit Management
  • M.S. in Human Services/Forensic Mental Health Counseling
  • B.S. in Human Services / Human Services Management
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses help make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 24 months and a master’s degree in 12-18 months.
Programs
  • Sports Counseling (Certificate) - Online
  • Law and Public Policy Certificate
  • For the 12th consecutive year, Cal U was named one for the best schools in the Northeast by The Princeton Review 
  • Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017
  • Quality Online courses at Cal U have the same objectives, content and learning outcomes as campus-based programs and are taught by the same expert professors.
  • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost. Student-to-teacher ratio of 20:1
  • CAL U online programs complete an annual assessment of student learning to ensure outcomes are focused on your success in career entry, advancement or enhancement!
Programs
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services
  • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a Military Friendly School every year since 2012 by Victory Media.
  • Offers credit for prior learning and experience through assessment tests.
  • Provides a short term Leadership Certification program in partnership with EQUIP®.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).

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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