The profession of a social worker is significant to society in many ways. A medical dictionary definition of a licensed clinical social worker describes one who is trained in psychotherapy and helps individuals deal with a variety of mental health and daily living problems to improve overall functioning. It goes on to say that a social worker with a master’s degree has studied sociology, growth and development, mental health theory and practice, human behavior in the social environment, and psychology and research methods.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Overview
All states and the District of Columbia require licensing, certification or registration of licensed clinical social workers and bachelor’s degree level social workers. An LCSW certification requires a master’s degree, which normally takes two years beyond a bachelor’s degree. Most states require two years or 3000 hours of supervised clinical experience for clinical social workers. A DSW of Ph.D is required for teaching at the college/university level, most research appointments and consulting.
• Bachelor’s degrees allow for direct service jobs such as caseworker, mental health assistant, group home worker or residential counselor.
• Master’s degrees prepare social workers for managing large caseloads, performing clinical assessments, clinical social work, supervising and exploring new ways of drawing upon social services.
• LCSW license requirements for social workers usually include passing a written test and having a specific number of years of experience.
Along with the necessary educational and licensing requirements, a social worker on any level needs to be responsible and independent, emotionally mature, objective and sensitive to people’s needs. Every professional is expected to work well with clients and coworkers, and social workers should be well aware of this given the field itself. Networking with other professionals is often essential to solving problems on many levels.
One way to test out the likelihood that social work is a good career choice is to volunteer or work as a paid aide in a setting that might be of interest to someone who is considering this path. Most social workers have jobs in cities but there are positions in rural areas as well. The field of geriatrics is promising with the aging of the baby boomer generation and jobs at hospitals, nursing homes, hospice and assisted living facilities may be more accessible. Home visitation of the elderly for assessment of need and checking on personal progress would likely be included in this area of social work.
Private practice is an option for those with a social work license as a psychotherapist. Health insurance or a client paying out-of-pocket for service is the source of income available. Referrals from other professionals is essential to maintaining a satisfactory level of income. Doctors, nurses, psychologists, other social workers and former clients are good referral sources.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Salary Data
Salary levels may range from $25,000-$56,000 for the most part, but some are higher with consultation and/or private practice as a second income. An LCSW salary is larger, of course. Social work is not for those who have a priority of obtaining wealth. Concern for others is usually the motivating force behind the decision to pursue a career in social work.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics describes the field of social work as one that covers disease, disability, relationships, housing, unemployment, substance abuse and domestic conflict. These issues are very comprehensive and touch every level of society in every area of the country. It seems fair to say that there will always be a great need for a social worker licensed in your area. Funding is the key to hiring as many social workers as are needed, and social workers are rising to the challenge of finding funds wherever and whenever possible.
Want To Be A Licensed Clinical Social Worker? Here’s How
First, review how to get an LCSW degree from our site. Education is the first step in your journey, and you’ll want to know how to do this in detail. Next, visit the LCSW Salary page so you have a clear expectation of what your earnings might be after landing your ideal dream job. It also helps to compare against what an average counselor salary yields per year in case you’re not sure what type of social work you want to get into.