The social worker job description varies according to the specific area in which you plan to work and according to your specialities. At the most basic level you are providing emotional support to clients who are struggling to cope with some or other crisis situation. This may include abused children living in a shelter or children without homes. It may include disaster survivors and it may include battered wives. At a less severe level it may simply include children struggling to cope with a change of schools, or teenagers and businessmen who feel that they are under more pressure than they can cope with.
You will then be required to formulate a treatment plan for dealing with the problems you have identified. Whatever the line of social work you decide to enter into, you will find that above all, the work is rewarding. You will feel that you are genuinely making a difference in the world and you will be able to fulfill your long-time desire to help others.
What Does A Social Worker Do?
The overall duties of a social worker will be to:
- Administer social services programs that will benefit wider groups and communities at large.
- Work with clients in order to develop a plan of treatment and to allow the patient to take an active hand in deciding their own fate in relation to the social problem or situation that they are facing.
- Communicate with the various other parties who will be dealing with your patient at various times in order to ensure that everyone is providing the highest possible of standard of care to your patient at any given time of the caring process.
- Observe any emotional and psychological problems in a patient and then provide the appropriate treatment plans in order to help them overcome those issues which you have successfully identified.
- Keep families of your client informed as this will aid the healing process – if they are fully aware of what is going on then they will be able to actively work with your patient in order to speed up the recovery process.
- Meet with clients in order to assess and identify the problems that they have – this is essential as you will need to have successfully diagnosed your patient’s problem before you can successfully solve it.
- Keep detailed records regarding the patient’s concerns, the treatment you administered, and their progress – this may not seem that interesting, but it is absolutely essential, especially in situations where other health care professionals will be dealing with your patient at different times.
- Refer your client to any other resources, institutes or professionals who you feel will be able to help them with the difficulties with which they are currently dealing.
Types Of Social Workers
There are several different types of social work that you could choose to participate in as a social worker. The role of a social worker for each one differs slightly, so it is a good idea to study the options carefully to find the one that suits you the best.
Child, Family And School Social Workers
The social worker job description for child, family and school social workers is:
- To provide services and structures that will better the social and psychological well-being of both children, who will be your primary clients, and their families.
- To assess the needs of the client and to ascertain what the best course of action for that client is.
- To coordinate all of the services that are available in the area in order to assist the child and his or her family to the best degree possible.
- To assist single parent families to find the services needed and to cope with the stressful life style associated with being a single parent.
- To arrange adoptions for children without families.
- To find homes for children who have been abandoned and/or abused (you may also be in a situation where you are specialized in a specific area, such as child abuse).
- To serve as a link between parents and the school in order to deal with any school related issues that a child may have.
- To assist school students with any emotional problems that they may be experiencing and to help them to deal with any stress that they encounter.
- To teach classes within the school structure to entire groups of people on life orientation topics.
Medical And Public Health Social Workers
The job description for public health and medical social workers is:
- To provide support to anyone who is coping with serious and terminal illnesses, including individuals, families,, communities, and even entire populations.
- To advise family members and caregivers on how to take care of the patient once they have been discharged from the care of the hospital.
- To arrange for home services and care for patients who require such advanced assistance.
- To evaluate patients.
- To deal with the needs of geriatric patients, and to provide them with the services they need in order to live comfortably.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
The social worker job description for mental health and substance abuse social workers is:
- To assess patients that have mental disorders or substance abuse problems.
- To treat patients that have mental disorders or substance abuse problems.
- To ease the patients’ return to the community if they have been living in an institute of some kind, and to ensure that this transition happens as smoothly as possible.
- To help family members of those suffering with mental disorders and substance abuse problems to cope with the situation.
- To work in businesses where the stresses of daily working life are enough to interfere with the quality of the work that they provide.
The work environment that is inherent in the social worker job description is as follows:
- You will be inside most of the time in an office setting, although there may be cases where you will be required to travel in order to meet with a client.
- It is generally considered to be a rewarding job. However, the work is difficult and the pay is not that great. This combined with problems of understaffing makes it a very difficult working environment indeed.
- 40 Hour weeks are the norm, but there are usually part-time and weekend options available.
Because the social worker job description covers a wide variety of situations and institutions, social workers are often required to become involved in duties and tasks not directly related to their primary job as a social worker. These other social worker requirements may include:
- Giving evidence in court in the case of legal difficulties.
- Giving assessments of patients with the help of a more professional health worker; these assessments must be in line with the given standards.
- Deciding on the best course of action for the various patients and clients who are within your care.
- Taking part in any training and meetings that are required at the particular company or institution that you work for.
- Conducting interviews with the clients as well as their families, as this will allow you to better assess the situation and to make the necessary recommendations for the problem in question to be relieved as speedily as possible.
- Maintaining the necessary records.
- Preparing any documents that may be needed for any legal proceedings that may arise from the situation.
- Providing information and service support to your clients and their families.
- Coordinating the various services that are available in order to ensure that your client gets the best possible quality from the resources that are provided in the area, and to enable your clients to have the best possible lives under the circumstances.
- Communicating with other relevant agencies, sometimes sending your clients to those agencies or accepting any clients that they send to you.
- Participating in teams that are responsible for a number of different social issues under one umbrella.
Where You Will Work
As a social worker you will be able to work in the following areas:
- Government welfare agencies
- Social services agencies
- Rehabilitation centers
- The juvenile court system (in this instance you will be required to deal with the young people who are convicted of juvenile crimes).
- The foster care system
- Schools (many children and teenagers have a variety of problems varying in severity that may affect their school performance and that may both be related to their home life as well as their school life – your job will be to get them through this difficult time as best as you can).
- Adult guidance (adults also face a wide range of problems, ranging from financial difficulties to being bullied in the work place – your job will be to counsel them through these issues).
Social Worker Salary
As a social worker you can expect to earn a salary of between $32,000 (as a basic social worker with the most essential qualifications) and $92,000 (as a Supervising Social Worker, should you progress to such a high level).
It is incredibly important to note however that if you are in it for the money, then your heart is not in the right place. As you can see from the social worker’s job description that has been outlined, most people do this for the sake of the work itself, not because they want to make some quick and easy money, or because they want a high paying career. Examine your motives very carefully when deciding to become a social worker.
It is important to note that social workers do get paid very little comparatively speaking. This is a universally acknowledged fact and something that you need to prepare yourself for. It is practically part of the social worker job description that you will need to do hard work under difficult conditions and for little remuneration. It is important to not let this compromise on the quality of the service you provide. Many studies have claimed that poorly paid social workers provide poor service by and large, but you needn’t fulfill this stereotype in your work.
Why Do People Choose To Become Social Workers?
There are some very convincing reasons given by social workers for why they have chosen this particular profession, or, as some would say, calling or vocation. If you are still on the fence about your suitability for this job, then have a look at these reasons and see if they match up with you:
- You will have ample opportunity to interact with other people at all times of the day, and these people who you meet will be diverse and many allowing you to inject a bit of diversity and color into your life.
- You will literally be in a position where you will have the opportunity to saves the lives of others. Very few people can say that they save lives on a day-to-day basis.
- You will be able to provide a support structure for people who have been neglected and who feel that no one cares about them or wants to make an effort to make their lives better.
- You will be able to help not only your local community, but you will also be presented with opportunities to help the international community at a bigger level.
- Social work is needed in international organizations which means that you will not only have the opportunity to help others, but you may also get to travel a little in the process.
- It is an incredibly rewarding vocation on a personal level.
- You will have the opportunity to deal with and solve a wide range of problems that will better the lives of many people just because you took the time out to solve them.
- There will always be a need for social workers, so you will never be out of a job and someone somewhere will always appreciate you.
- You will have the choice of working either in an office or outside in the field, depending on your personal preferences in this regard.
- You will gain the trust of many people who will look at you with respect and put their faith in you.
These are all very good aspects of the social work industry you can have a look at in determining whether or not this is the future you want for yourself.