What exactly is a clinical social worker?


A clinical social worker is a mental health professional with a master’s degree in social work. They are trained to diagnose and treat mental, behavioral and emotional disorders. Clinical social workers also help people deal with the stress of everyday life and can provide individual, family and group therapy. They also carry out case management and referrals.

Clinical social workers help people of all ages, from young children to older adults. They treat mental and behavioral problems, including depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, abuse, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Environments where clinical social workers are employed

Clinical social workers are employed across a wide range of working environments. Some of those are listed below.

Family care

When a family is in need of assistance, they may seek out the help of a clinical social worker. Clinical social workers are trained to provide a variety of services to families and children. They can help with everything from finding housing and food to providing therapy and counseling.

Clinical social workers often work with families who are dealing with difficult life situations. They may be going through a divorce, or coping with the death of a loved one. They may be struggling with addiction, or dealing with mental health issues. No matter what the situation is, clinical social workers are there to help.

Court and forensic venues

A clinical social worker is a mental health professional who offers direct services to clients in a variety of settings, including private practices, hospitals, schools and government agencies. Clinical social workers also work in forensic venues such as prisons and courts. In these settings, they may provide psychological assessments, offer therapy to offenders and victims of crime, and serve as expert witnesses in court proceedings.

Elder care facilities

In these facilities, they provide support to residents and their families by helping them navigate the complex maze of long-term care options.

They also work to ensure that residents receive the best possible care by advocating for their rights and working with facility staff to ensure that their needs are being met.

Home healthcare

Home healthcare is a type of healthcare that is provided to people in their homes. Clinical social workers provide home healthcare to people who are unable to take care of themselves. Clinical social workers are specially trained to provide this type of care. They work with the person’s family and other caregivers to ensure that the person receives the best possible care.

Home healthcare can be an important part of a person’s recovery from an illness or injury. It can also help people manage chronic conditions. Clinical social workers can help people understand their illnesses and how to best manage them. They can also provide support and guidance to caregivers.

Schools and universities

School social workers are responsible for the academic, social and emotional wellbeing of students. They work with students, families, teachers and school administrators to identify and address issues that may be hindering a student’s success.

School social workers may provide individual counseling, group counseling, crisis intervention, and referral services to students and their families. They also work to promote positive social interactions within the school setting and to develop programs that address bullying, drug abuse, violence prevention, and other risks faced by today’s youth.

In addition to their direct work with students, school social workers also serve as a resource for teachers and administrators on topics related to child development, behavior management, special needs accommodations, and more. They can help schools create a supportive environment that meets the unique needs of each child.


Military social workers play a vital role in supporting members of the military and their families during times of war and conflict. They provide counseling and crisis intervention services, as well as advocacy and support. Military social workers also work to prevent suicide among military members and help them readjust to life after combat.


When children are involved in crime, social workers play an important role in the police department. They provide support to families and help investigate any child abuse or neglect that may have occurred. In some cases, social workers may also be involved in providing counseling to young offenders.

Social workers in the police force work closely with other professionals, such as detectives and lawyers, to ensure that all aspects of a case are considered. They also liaise with schools and other agencies to ensure that the child’s needs are met and that they are supported through the criminal justice system.

Social workers in police departments play a vital role in safeguarding children and supporting families. Their work helps to ensure that children who have been involved in crime receive the care and support they need, and that their rights are protected throughout the criminal justice process.

What are the challenges of being a clinical social worker?

As a clinical social worker, you will be tasked with helping people through some of the most difficult times in their lives. You will need to be able to handle emotionally charged situations and provide support to those who are dealing with trauma, mental illness and other challenges.

You will also need to be able to work with a variety of different people, from those who are struggling with addiction to those who have been the victims of abuse. It can be difficult to know how to best help each individual, but it is important to remember that everyone is dealing with their own unique set of challenges.

It is also important to be aware of your own limitations and to seek out supervision or consultation when needed. This job can be very rewarding, but it can also be very challenging.

How much does a clinical social worker earn?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual wage for clinical social workers was $50,390 in May 2021. 

The bottom 10% of the profession earned less than $33,720, and the highest 10% earned more than $89,900.

Employment of clinical social workers is projected to grow 12% from 2017 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. As the population ages, the demand for mental health services and social workers who can provide counseling and assistance to older adults will continue to grow.

How do you become a clinical social worker?

A clinical social worker is a type of mental health professional who offers counseling and support to people dealing with difficult life circumstances. Becoming a clinical social worker typically requires completing a master’s degree in social work, as well as passing a licensure exam.

In order to become a licensed clinical social worker, you must first complete a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from an accredited university. An example of this is the social work master’s program that is available through the highly reputable Florida State University.

Most MSW programs take two years to complete, though some schools offer part-time or accelerated programs that can be finished in as little as 18 months.

After completing an MSW program, aspiring clinical social workers must pass the Clinical Social Work Association’s national licensure examination. The test is divided into two sections: the multiple-choice Assessing and Diagnosing section, and the essay-based Direct Service Skills section. The multiple-choice section of the test consists of 200 questions that must be completed within 90 minutes. The Direct Service Skills section requires a 2,000-word essay that must be completed within 90 minutes. It is graded on a pass/fail basis. Both sections are graded on a curve.

The ASVAB is routinely reviewed to eliminate any potential biases from questions and scoring. The exam underwent a major revision in 2002. Two additional sections were added and updated. Additionally, the time limits for each section were reduced from 100 minutes to 90 minutes.

Conclusion: the important role of clinical social workers

Clinical social workers play a vital role in the healthcare system. They are trained to work with patients and families to assess their needs and develop a plan of care. They also provide counseling and support to patients and families. Clinical social workers help to make the healthcare system more efficient by working closely with other members of a team, such as doctors, nurses and therapists.