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Career Profile: Healthcare Social Workers

Provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family caregivers. Provide patients with information and counseling, and make referrals for other services. May also provide case and care management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 184,900 people employed as healthcare social workers in the United States. The median annual salary is $57,600. Entry level employees earn approximately $36,110 per year and senior employees earn approximately $87,150 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Oversee Medicaid- and Medicare-related paperwork and recordkeeping in hospitals.
  • Investigate child abuse or neglect cases and take authorized protective action when necessary.
  • Utilize consultation data and social work experience to plan and coordinate client or patient care and rehabilitation, following through to ensure service efficacy.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and record client progress according to measurable goals described in treatment and care plan.
  • Advocate for clients or patients to resolve crises.
  • Educate clients about end-of-life symptoms and options to assist them in making informed decisions.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to evaluate patients' medical or physical condition and to assess client needs.
  • Refer patient, client, or family to community resources to assist in recovery from mental or physical illness and to provide access to services such as financial assistance, legal aid, housing, job placement or education.
  • Identify environmental impediments to client or patient progress through interviews and review of patient records.
  • Counsel clients and patients in individual and group sessions to help them overcome dependencies, recover from illness, and adjust to life.
  • Plan discharge from care facility to home or other care facility.
  • Organize support groups or counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting the client or patient.
  • Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in clients' status.
  • Supervise and direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.
  • Plan and conduct programs to combat social problems, prevent substance abuse, or improve community health and counseling services.
  • Develop or advise on social policy and assist in community development.
  • Conduct social research to advance knowledge in the social work field.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
184,900
Annual Openings:
20,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
13%
Annual Salary Range:
$36,110 - $87,150
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher