The Social Worker

Christopher Thomas A3

What Social Workers Do

Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers, clinical social workers, also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. They are faced everyday with very challenging cases involving little children.

A Brief Chart and summary


Social workers help people in every stage of life cope with challenges, such as being diagnosed with depression.

Quick Facts: Social Workers

2012 Median Pay $44,200 per year
$21.25 per hour

Entry-Level Education See How to Become One

Work Experience in a Related Occupation None

On-the-job Training None

Number of Jobs, 2012 607,300

Job Outlook, 2012-22 19% (Faster than average)

Employment Change, 2012-22 114,100

Work Environment

Social workers held about 607,300 jobs in 2012. They work in many different and complicated areas according to the severity of the case at hand.
Examples are :
  • Hospitals, primary care settings, and clinics, including veterans clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Community mental health clinics
  • Private practices
  • State and local governments
  • Schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Substance abuse clinics
  • Military bases and hospitals
  • Correctional facilities
  • Child welfare agencies

How to Become a Social Worker

"A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is the most common requirement for entry-level positions. However, some employers may hire workers who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology.

A bachelor’s degree in social work programs prepare students for direct-service positions such as caseworker or mental health assistant. These programs teach students about diverse populations, human behavior, and social welfare policy. All programs require students to complete supervised fieldwork or an internship."


The median annual wage for social workers was $44,200 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,450, and the top 10 percent earned more than $72,980.

The median annual wages for social workers in May 2012 were as follows:

  • $54,560 for all other social workers
  • $49,830 for healthcare social workers
  • $41,530 for child, family, and school social workers
  • $39,980 for mental health and substance abuse social workers

This also varies on your educational statues as well, also your success rate, and your years of experience in the field.


Social Workers

Median annual wages, May 2012

Social workers


Counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists


Total, all occupations


Similar Occupations

Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists help people manage and overcome mental and emotional disorders and problems with their family and relationships. They listen to clients and ask questions, to help the clients understand their problems and develop strategies to improve their lives.

Master’s degree $41,500

Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists

Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists work with and monitor offenders to prevent them from committing new crimes.

Bachelor’s degree $48,190


Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and human behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and their environments.

See How to Become One $69,280
What is Social Work?