The job of a Social Worker involves counseling and offering guidance to people in crisis, such as unemployment, children needing foster homes and elderly without families to care for them, among others. Social workers are usually employed by hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, schools, public welfare agencies, juvenile courts or private social service agencies.
Education/Experience Requirements A successful candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree in sociology, psychology, or a similar social science field. Some positions that require teaching and research look for candidates with a master’s or doctor’s degree. Psychiatric social workers must obtain a master’s degree in psychiatric social work. Important courses in this field include social welfare policies, social work methods and human growth/development. Licensing and certification requirements vary from state to state.
Skills Effective written and verbal communication skills, interpersonal skills, and knowledge of social service programs, community organizations and social work practices, principles, techniques and standards.
Specific work elements Writing assessments; conducting interviews to clients and their families to determine nature of problem; offering counseling support; recommending the best solution for a particular case; coordinating and making referrals to various agencies; participating in meetings such as mental health or child protection seminars; maintaining records needed in preparation of legal action; guiding evidence to be used in court; helping clients through individual or group conferences; developing and implementing written materials for educational purposes; conducting workshops; and providing psychiatric social work, among others.