What Do Social Workers Do?
Social workers can find jobs in a wide variety of fields. Depending upon their specific area of study and background experience, the work completed by social workers can vary a great deal from one job to another. However, in almost any position, these professionals will help people establish a comfortable lifestyle, introduce coping mechanisms to handle ongoing problems, and identify needs in order to connect people to the resources they require. Related trends seem to indicate a strong increase in the number of social work positions to be filled. The national average shows that almost 70,000 positions will be filled or available as growth in this field continues. This means that there may be close to 2,000 new positions each year in the United States.
Social Workers Skills and Abilities
Social workers play a number of important roles and those roles are often held by individual professionals. You should be prepared with the following skills and abilities:
- Empathy: This is the ability to understand the feelings and needs of another individual. Many social workers choose this profession because they are naturally empathetic.
- Communication Skills: You’ll need to be able to put people at ease as a social worker. Excellent listening skills are as important as being able to express yourself. You’ll also need to be perceptive, recognizing the verbal cues of clients and gaining information through this silent form of communication.
- Problem-Solving: These professionals are often required to determine unique solutions for individuals with specific and varied problems.
- Writing: Social workers are responsible to document their work. Excellent written communication is necessary for success in this field.
- Organizational Skills: These are a must for any social worker. You will probably have a busy schedule with a heavy caseload and a great deal of paperwork. How well you able to prioritize will predict your satisfaction and success in this field.
Social Workers Duties
As a social worker, you’ll find that the duties are dependent upon the job. You may be responsible primarily for the safety of children, or you could be responsible for representing the interests of an elderly individual. Some of the most common duties held by social workers include:
- The creation and implementation of programs.
- Presenting scenarios and trainings to provide patients with the skills or mechanisms they require.
- Acting as a liaison between an individual and different institutions or agencies.
- Becoming familiar with resources in the community and linking clients to those resources.
- Social workers don’t provide legal representation, but they may address legal issues with their clients.
- Maintaining case histories and accurate documentation.
- Keeping up with continuing education, research, and policy changes.
Social Workers Tools and Technology
You will spend a lot of time entering information onto a computer, so you should be familiar with basic word processing programs. You might also need to work with spreadsheets and electronic databases. Most social workers have personal libraries with books and studies appropriate to their segment of the industry. More specific tools, such as sand tables, office space, or testing supplies.
Education and Training for Social Workers
It isn’t uncommon to find one office staffed with social workers with degrees ranging from bachelor degrees to doctorates. In addition to these degrees, they are also expected to earn licensing and continuing education credits. Each field or area of specialty might require new licensing and educational requirements.
Social Workers Salary
The average salary of a social worker in the United States is $59,100 a year, with new social workers earning about $33,000 annually and the top 10% earning $84,600 a year. The average pay translates to about $28.42 hourly wage. It is important to remember that salaries can be affected by the specific field, the location of the job, and the difficulty of the job.
Social Workers Jobs by Geography
The states with the highest numbers of social workers are California and New York. There is a big step down to states such as Illinois, Michigan, Florida, and Texas. Keep in mind that wages may be affected by state. The District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Nevada, and Illinois have the highest median wage.