Social Worker Job Description

This sample social worker job description lists the main job duties, responsibilities and skill requirements for social workers in different areas of specialization.

Social worker concept with keywords relating to social work

Gain a clear understanding of the role of the:

  • clinical or psychiatric social worker
  • child and family social worker
  • healthcare or medical social worker


General Purpose

Social workers work with people affected by emotional, mental, behavioral and medical issues to help them cope with the challenges in their lives.

The duties and responsibilities vary depending on the type of client and the type of social work. There are three main categories of social worker:

Psychiatric or Clinical Social Worker Job Description

Main Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • provide timely and appropriate assessment, interpretation and diagnosis of mental, social and emotional disorders in collaboration with other professionals
  • develop and plan individualized treatment programs for the presenting problems
  • implement treatment interventions including individual, group, child and family therapy, counseling, behavior modification techniques, coping strategies
  • effectively provide psycho-education support and resource information to clients and family members
  • research and refer clients and family members to other services where necessary
  • ensure the treatment program is being adhered to
  • provide practical assistance to clients in following treatment plans such as organizing and facilitating attendance of appointments
  • monitor and evaluate progress towards treatment goals and adjust treatment plans as necessary
  • provide crisis intervention as necessary
  • maintain current and accurate clinical records
  • prepare reports and documentation
  • comply with organizational, state and federal regulations and guidelines

Education and Experience

  • Masters degree in social work
  • valid and current state license
  • sound working knowledge of different treatment modalities
  • familiar with all aspects of psychopathology
  • proficient in treating different developmental stages

Child and Family Social Worker Job Description

Main Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • work with children, groups and families to help them deal with issues including abuse, neglect, poverty, unemployment, trauma, social adjustment and child care
  • provide social services to improve the social and emotional well-being of children and their families.
  • conduct assessments of the psycho-social problems of the child/family unit
  • collect relevant supplementary documentation and information to assist in determining treatment plans and interventions

  • arrange for supplementary tests including medical and psychiatric tests to assist in determining diagnosis and remedial plans
  • develop and plan social service interventions for alleviating these problems
  • provide counseling and casework required to address the problem
  • provide information and refer clients to resources for social, emotional and financial assistance as appropriate
  • act as an advocate for the child/family in dealing with community resources, government agencies and during the decision-making process
  • serve as a liaison between children, adults, students, households, schools, family services, healthcare providers, legal entities, protective services and other services
  • follow up to monitor improvements in client's well being and efficacy of service providers
  • intervene and report suspected cases of child and/or adult abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation
  • provide crisis intervention as necessary
  • maintain accurate case records and prepare reports
  • a school social worker works with teachers, parents and administrators to evaluate students and develop interventions to improve academic performance and remedy social and behavioral issues such as truancy and poor performance

Education and Experience

  • Bachelors or Masters degree in social work
  • valid and current state license
  • certification in case management preferred
  • through knowledge of child development
  • knowledge of relevant federal and state laws, policies and procedures
  • working knowledge of applicable software applications to produce records, reports and documentation

Healthcare or Medical Social Worker Job Description

Main Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • provide psycho-social support to patients in different healthcare contexts including hospice and palliative care, geriatric and hospital settings
  • assist patients in understanding and coping with their medical diagnosis and situation

  • counsel patients about their illness and advise family care givers
  • interview patients, assess needs and assist in developing a treatment plan and coping strategy
  • provide information to other health care professionals about the psycho-social issues that may impact the patient's treatment
  • assist with making the necessary adjustments to the patient's lifestyle and ensuring the necessary support system is in place
  • provide information and refer patients to appropriate services including support groups, home healthcare providers, assisted living facilities, grief counselors and legal aid
  • act as a liaison between clients, family members and the health care system
  • assist patients with health care insurance paperwork, financial assistance programs, claiming benefits
  • monitor adherence to treatment plan and recommendations
  • maintain accurate records in compliance with policies, regulations and legislation

Education and Experience

  • Bachelors or Masters degree in Social Work
  • valid and current relevant state license
  • working knowledge of assessing and addressing the specific needs of the targeted population

Key Skills and Competencies

  • data collection and management
  • resource management
  • organizing and planning
  • communication skills
  • problem analysis and problem resolution
  • judgment and decision making
  • attention to detail
  • stress tolerance
  • resilience
  • adaptability
  • flexibility

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