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Family and School Social Workers

Family and school social workers provide social services and a variety of assistance with the objective of enhancing the functioning of families. They evaluate peoples' needs and provide help in order to improve their lives. Family and school social workers frequently coordinate the appropriate services for children or their families. Some family and school social workers have a specialty such as homelessness, domestic violence, foster care or child protective services.

In school settings family and school social workers serve as a connection between students' families and schools. They deal with parents, guardians, teachers and other school representatives with the goal of ensuring students reach their personal and academic potential. They also help students that are dealing with emotional problems or stress.

Some school social workers help children that have disabilities and they also help their families. School social workers also deal with teenage pregnancy and drug and alcohol problems.

Some sample job titles are family service worker, school social worker, foster care social worker, family services social worker, child protective services social worker, child welfare social worker, family protection specialist, social worker, youth services specialist and child protective services social worker.


  • Help single parents find daycare for their children
  • Create and review service plans with clients and evaluate the quality and quantity of provided services
  • Find foster homes for abused or abandoned children
  • Deal with misbehavior and truancy of students
  • Provide advice to teachers about how to handle difficult students
  • Arrange for adoptions
  • Provide counseling to families and individuals on various issues
  • Interview clients and evaluate their situation, problems and capabilities to determine the appropriate services
  • Prepare reports and maintain case history records
  • Refer clients to community resources

Job Characteristics

Social workers spend some of their time in an office or a residential facility. They also visit clients in their homes and meet with service providers. Often, social workers have large caseloads. Social workers usually work 40 hours a week but sometimes they work during the evenings and on weekends to accommodate their clients' schedules or to deal with emergencies or to attend community meetings.

Social work can be satisfying but also challenging at times. Social workers should be objective, emotionally mature and sensitive to people and their problems. They also need to be able to handle responsibility.

Employment Outlook

In 2008 there were approximately 292,600 child, family and school social worker jobs. From 2008 to 2018 employment for child, family and school social workers is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow by 12 percent which is as fast as the average for all occupations.

Child, family and school social workers had a median annual wage of $39,530 in 2008. Regarding the industries employing the largest number of child, family and school social workers, the highest paying sectors are elementary and secondary schools and local governments.

A master's degree is often required for advancing into positions such as assistant director, program manager or executive director of a social service department or agency.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

For many child, family and school social worker jobs a bachelor's degree in social work is the minimum requirement. Degrees in sociology, psychology and related fields may be sufficient for some entry-level social worker jobs, particularly in small community agencies. Some jobs require an advanced degree.

Jobs in school settings usually require a master's degree in social work. For some jobs employers may prefer those that hold a master's degree in social work with a concentration in administration or social service policy. Advanced degrees are typically necessary for administrative, supervisory and staff training positions.

Bachelor degree programs prepare students for direct service jobs, including group home worker, caseworker and residential counselor. A minimum of 400 hours of supervised field experience is required by accredited programs.

Master's degree programs prepare graduates for employment in selected field of concentration. The master's degree programs usually last for two years and include a minimum of 900 hours of field experience or internship. The program may take part-time students four years to complete.

Every state has licensing, certification or registration requirements regarding social work practice and using professional titles.


Major Employers

The top employers are individual and family services agencies, state governments, local governments and schools.

Schools for Family And School Social Workers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Family and School Social Workers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Family and School Social Workers jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 14,310 $59,660
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 5,390 $47,290
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale 3,940 $36,560
Pittsburgh 3,540 $40,000
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 3,440 $50,790
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward 3,410 $54,340
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 3,350 $45,960
Oklahoma City 3,260 $39,980
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 3,160 $50,000
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 3,150 $42,470

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to family and school social workers

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Family and School Social Workers

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Government 115,440 42% $42,580
Social Service 76,340 27% $33,970
Education 39,960 14% $52,760
Nursing And Residential Care 15,520 5% $34,840
Non-profit 9,950 3% $34,760
Medical Office 9,610 3% $36,460
Hospital 3,470 1% $44,670
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Family and School 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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