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Social worker

Social workerSocial workers help clients function the best way they can in their environments. They help them deal with their relationships and solve personal and family problems. Social workers may assist those with life-threatening diseases, or social problems.

Social workers held about 562,000 jobs in 2004. Most work in health care and social assistance industries, as well as in state and local government agencies. The majority of social worker jobs are in cities and suburbs.

The minimum educational requirement for social workers is a bachelors degree, usually in social work (BSW). Other majors, such as psychology, sociology, and related areas, may allow one to get an entry level job in social work. An advanced degree, e.g., a masters degree in social work (MSW) is required for many positions. Those who want to teach in a university setting or do research must have a doctorate degree in social work (DSW).

  • Child, Family, And School Social Workers provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families. Some work with senior citizens. Others work in employee assistant programs helping workers cope with job-related problems or personal problems that can affect their jobs.


  • Medical and Public Health Social Workers provide pyschosocial support to those affected by chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. They work with patients, families, and caregivers.


  • Mental Health And Substance Abuse Social Workers work with people with mental illness or substance abuse problems, such as abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. Services they provide include individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation, and training in skills of everyday living.


  • Social Work Planners and Policymakers develop programs to address such issues as child abuse, homelessness, substance abuse, poverty, and violence.


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