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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 (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 610 $48,040
Birmingham 610 $48,040
Montgomery 230 $51,790
Tuscaloosa 200 $44,510
Huntsville 150 $44,630
Mobile 130 $46,230
Decatur 80 $44,030
Florence 60 $46,120
Muscle Shoals 60 $46,120
Foley 60 $50,930
Daphne 60 $50,930
Fairhope 60 $50,930
Oxford 50 $45,650
Anniston 50 $45,650
Jacksonville 50 $45,650
Dothan 40 $55,880
Gadsden N/A $31,900
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 250 $62,430
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 3470 $38,550
Phoenix 3470 $38,550
Mesa 3470 $38,550
Tucson 500 $43,530
Prescott 220 $59,520
Lake Havasu City 60 $55,580
Kingman 60 $55,580
Yuma 60 $65,240
Flagstaff 50 $63,470
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 500 $46,540
North Little Rock 500 $46,540
Little Rock 500 $46,540
Jonesboro 80 $54,190
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 5850 $67,770
Long Beach 5850 $67,770
Los Angeles 5850 $67,770
San Francisco 2250 $74,310
Hayward 2250 $74,310
Oakland 2250 $74,310
Riverside 1260 $68,550
Ontario 1260 $68,550
San Bernardino 1260 $68,550
San Diego 1110 $70,390
Carlsbad 1110 $70,390
Roseville 820 $76,160
Arden 820 $76,160
Arcade 820 $76,160
Sacramento 820 $76,160
Sunnyvale 660 $79,380
San Jose 660 $79,380
Santa Clara 660 $79,380
Fresno 420 $67,290
Modesto 220 $77,740
Lodi 210 $65,290
Stockton 210 $65,290
Oxnard 200 $57,370
Thousand Oaks 200 $57,370
Ventura 200 $57,370
Bakersfield 150 $70,740
Salinas 130 $63,870
Santa Rosa 130 $70,670
Vallejo 120 $66,990
Fairfield 120 $66,990
Santa Maria 110 $62,900
Santa Barbara 110 $62,900
Chico 70 $56,660
Merced 70 $63,040
Santa Cruz 60 $84,240
Watsonville 60 $84,240
Porterville 50 $61,480
Visalia 50 $61,480
Redding 50 $66,870
Paso Robles 50 $72,260
San Luis Obispo 50 $72,260
Arroyo Grande 50 $72,260
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 1340 $52,640
Denver 1340 $52,640
Lakewood 1340 $52,640
Colorado Springs 330 $40,690
Greeley 120 $42,980
Pueblo 90 $55,620
Fort Collins 90 $59,850
Boulder 80 $56,600
Grand Junction 60 $55,170
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 580 $63,530
West Hartford 580 $63,530
Hartford 580 $63,530
New Haven 560 $67,440
Stamford 550 $71,480
Norwalk 550 $71,480
Bridgeport 550 $71,480
Waterbury 130 $53,660
Danbury 80 $71,460
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 80 $52,270
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 2190 $52,540
Fort Lauderdale 2190 $52,540
Miami 2190 $52,540
Tampa 950 $46,150
St. Petersburg 950 $46,150
Clearwater 950 $46,150
Orlando 610 $48,490
Sanford 610 $48,490
Kissimmee 610 $48,490
Jacksonville 570 $43,770
Ferry Pass 210 $45,490
Brent 210 $45,490
Pensacola 210 $45,490
Palm Bay 200 $43,630
Titusville 200 $43,630
Melbourne 200 $43,630
Lakeland 170 $56,300
Winter Haven 170 $56,300
Port St. Lucie 160 $43,470
Fort Myers 160 $45,680
Cape Coral 160 $45,680
Daytona Beach 160 $48,910
Ormond Beach 160 $48,910
Deltona 160 $48,910
Sarasota 150 $50,270
Bradenton 150 $50,270
North Port 150 $50,270
Tallahassee 130 $44,230
Gainesville 120 $38,520
Naples 100 $53,470
Marco Island 100 $53,470
Immokalee 100 $53,470
Homosassa Springs 80 $47,530
Ocala 80 $59,270
Panama City 60 $39,510
Destin 60 $54,070
Fort Walton Beach 60 $54,070
Crestview 60 $54,070
Vero Beach 40 $54,210
Sebastian 40 $54,210
Sebring 30 $48,830
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 2330 $50,740
Sandy Springs 2330 $50,740
Atlanta 2330 $50,740
Savannah 230 $51,260
Gainesville 140 $51,270
Albany 130 $34,500
Macon 120 $45,640
Athens 80 $49,310
Clarke County 80 $49,310
Valdosta 60 $38,210
Warner Robins 50 $45,820
Rome 40 $45,360
Brunswick 30 $41,300
Dalton 30 $44,980
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 790 $58,570
Lahaina 70 $56,190
Wailuku 70 $56,190
Kahului 70 $56,190
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 300 $53,090
Idaho Falls 60 $38,990
Coeur d'Alene 30 $58,580
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria 310 $30,880
Springfield 170 $47,140
Rockford 70 $55,190
Urbana 50 $45,750
Champaign 50 $45,750
Marion 40 $48,410
Carbondale 40 $48,410
Bloomington 30 $45,680
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 1800 $46,020
Anderson 1800 $46,020
Carmel 1800 $46,020
Fort Wayne 800 $33,860
West Lafayette 110 $56,990
Lafayette 110 $56,990
Bloomington 80 N/A
La Porte 70 $46,810
Michigan City 70 $46,810
Goshen 70 $53,910
Elkhart 70 $53,910
Terre Haute 60 $57,400
Kokomo 50 $55,080
Muncie 50 $63,280
Columbus 50 $67,390
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Des Moines 310 $50,380
West Des Moines 310 $50,380
Cedar Rapids 200 $35,360
Iowa City 150 $53,860
Waterloo 110 $41,080
Cedar Falls 110 $41,080
Dubuque 60 $34,610
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 280 $49,350
Topeka 120 $47,040
Lawrence 40 $55,570
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 320 $49,860
Lexington 320 $49,860
Fort Knox 70 N/A
Elizabethtown 70 N/A
Owensboro 60 $38,710
Bowling Green 50 $44,310
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baton Rouge 490 $42,430
New Orleans 450 $48,410
Metairie 450 $48,410
Lafayette 140 $47,400
Thibodaux 110 $39,940
Houma 110 $39,940
Shreveport 110 $43,870
Bossier City 110 $43,870
Monroe 100 $51,540
Alexandria 80 $43,510
Lake Charles 60 $43,930
Hammond 30 $54,290
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Portland 250 $50,180
South Portland 250 $50,180
Bangor 160 $49,980
Auburn 70 $47,740
Lewiston 70 $47,740
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 2580 $56,810
Towson 2580 $56,810
Columbia 2580 $56,810
Lexington Park 30 $43,370
California 30 $43,370
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Bedford 1180 $35,820
Gardner 300 $51,370
Leominster 300 $51,370
Pittsfield 250 $56,350
Barnstable Town 210 $58,020
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 2710 $53,120
Detroit 2710 $53,120
Warren 2710 $53,120
Wyoming 1050 $54,370
Grand Rapids 1050 $54,370
Ann Arbor 360 $55,800
Saginaw 210 $60,290
Kalamazoo 170 $54,070
Portage 170 $54,070
East Lansing 170 $57,250
Lansing 170 $57,250
Battle Creek 120 $51,240
Muskegon 100 $48,570
Flint 100 $56,860
Jackson 80 $62,970
Midland 60 $53,170
Bay City 50 $46,220
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 240 $64,160
St. Cloud 60 $53,340
Mankato N/A $47,210
North Mankato N/A $47,210
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 530 $45,880
Pascagoula 130 $50,790
Biloxi 130 $50,790
Gulfport 130 $50,790
Hattiesburg 70 $44,700
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 240 $36,070
Jefferson City 190 $37,660
Joplin 180 $46,400
Columbia 150 $47,330
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Missoula 110 $45,850
Billings 50 $49,970
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 230 $45,050
Grand Island 30 $40,550
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 470 $63,600
Henderson 470 $63,600
Las Vegas 470 $63,600
Reno 80 $59,210
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 100 $60,400
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 260 $72,920
Bridgeton 80 $56,350
Vineland 80 $56,350
Atlantic City 80 $57,850
Hammonton 80 $57,850
Ocean City 30 $59,040
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 570 $54,870
Las Cruces 120 $49,370
Santa Fe 60 $42,030
Farmington 40 $50,900
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 920 $51,270
Cheektowaga 620 $46,690
Niagara Falls 620 $46,690
Buffalo 620 $46,690
Albany 580 $53,660
Troy 580 $53,660
Schenectady 580 $53,660
Syracuse 270 $53,970
Binghamton 200 $46,430
Rome 110 $50,150
Utica 110 $50,150
Glens Falls 80 $58,480
Kingston 70 $61,010
Ithaca 40 $55,830
Fort Drum 30 N/A
Watertown 30 N/A
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 440 $55,070
Chapel Hill 320 $59,530
Durham 320 $59,530
High Point 310 $49,920
Greensboro 310 $49,920
Salem 300 $47,530
Winston 300 $47,530
Asheville 210 $48,980
Morganton 180 $44,140
Lenoir 180 $44,140
Hickory 180 $44,140
Wilmington 100 $52,630
Fayetteville 80 $42,250
Greenville 70 $55,200
Rocky Mount 60 $49,900
Goldsboro 40 $47,790
Burlington 40 $56,840
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 90 $50,630
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 1210 $45,900
Akron 670 $53,470
Dayton 440 $51,710
Toledo 400 $49,640
Mansfield 170 $46,580
Massillon 160 $52,100
Canton 160 $52,100
Lima 60 $53,100
Springfield 50 $48,690
Elyria N/A $57,910
Cleveland N/A $57,910
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 950 $42,650
Tulsa 560 $50,380
Lawton 50 $45,630
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 200 $56,090
Eugene 110 $70,110
Medford 80 $64,410
Redmond 50 $65,320
Bend 50 $65,320
Grants Pass 40 $58,240
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 1630 $48,550
Harrisburg 640 $45,020
Carlisle 640 $45,020
Wilkes 330 $49,790
Scranton 330 $49,790
Barre 330 $49,790
Hazleton 330 $49,790
Erie 190 $45,230
Hanover 160 $46,630
York 160 $46,630
Reading 160 $52,620
Lancaster 150 $46,800
Altoona 100 $41,920
Johnstown 100 $44,450
Bloomsburg 60 $46,520
Berwick 60 $46,520
Williamsport 50 $46,260
Gettysburg 40 $48,300
Chambersburg 40 $57,880
Waynesboro 40 $57,880
State College 30 $53,400
Lebanon N/A $30,260
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 480 $31,950
Carolina 480 $31,950
San Juan 480 $31,950
Ponce 40 $21,290
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 480 $48,270
North Charleston 380 $63,230
Charleston 380 $63,230
Mauldin 300 $53,530
Anderson 300 $53,530
Greenville 300 $53,530
Spartanburg 130 $54,830
Florence 120 $53,880
Sumter 70 $44,940
Bluffton 60 $52,530
Hilton Head Island 60 $52,530
Beaufort 60 $52,530
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 220 $45,030
Rapid City 60 $41,660
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 770 $59,220
Murfreesboro 770 $59,220
Davidson 770 $59,220
Nashville 770 $59,220
Knoxville 260 $47,900
Jackson 210 $46,070
Johnson City 80 $45,110
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
The Woodlands 2560 $60,780
Houston 2560 $60,780
Sugar Land 2560 $60,780
Dallas 2500 $56,170
Fort Worth 2500 $56,170
Arlington 2500 $56,170
Austin 790 $55,950
Round Rock 790 $55,950
New Braunfels 600 $55,330
San Antonio 600 $55,330
El Paso 260 $50,930
Lubbock 220 $62,400
Tyler 210 $47,480
Harlingen 190 $37,950
Brownsville 190 $37,950
Temple 190 $56,290
Killeen 190 $56,290
Port Arthur 170 $48,520
Beaumont 170 $48,520
Edinburg 160 $53,710
McAllen 160 $53,710
Mission 160 $53,710
Corpus Christi 140 $52,280
College Station 130 $49,450
Bryan 130 $49,450
Amarillo 100 $51,410
Wichita Falls 90 $43,170
Waco 80 $48,960
Longview 80 $56,660
Laredo 70 $47,110
Abilene 60 $51,910
Midland 40 $44,800
Odessa 40 $55,580
San Angelo 30 $52,440
Denison 30 $54,260
Sherman 30 $54,260
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 640 $58,320
Clearfield 170 $54,910
Ogden 170 $54,910
Orem 120 $55,190
Provo 120 $55,190
St. George 110 $46,800
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 150 $52,750
Burlington 150 $52,750
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 600 $52,090
Roanoke 280 $48,100
Lynchburg 120 $45,290
Charlottesville 100 $62,870
Radford 40 $46,000
Blacksburg 40 $46,000
Christiansburg 40 $46,000
Harrisonburg 40 $49,760
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tacoma 1780 $62,430
Seattle 1780 $62,430
Bellevue 1780 $62,430
Spokane 270 $56,650
Spokane Valley 270 $56,650
Bellingham 120 $58,810
Tumwater 90 $59,480
Olympia 90 $59,480
Richland 80 $57,180
Kennewick 80 $57,180
Yakima 60 $55,240
Wenatchee 50 $63,060
Mount Vernon 50 $65,910
Anacortes 50 $65,910
Longview 30 $55,520
Bremerton N/A $59,130
Silverdale N/A $59,130
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 140 $47,910
Morgantown 90 $53,330
Vienna 50 $56,080
Parkersburg 50 $56,080
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Waukesha 960 $50,070
West Allis 960 $50,070
Milwaukee 960 $50,070
Madison 310 $55,470
Green Bay 230 $53,310
Appleton 90 $48,930
Racine 90 $52,150
Neenah 70 $57,120
Oshkosh 70 $57,120
Beloit 60 $47,740
Janesville 60 $47,740
Eau Claire 60 $52,580
Fond du Lac 40 $47,290
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 40 N/A

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
Click the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
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  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.

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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