Human Services Guide

Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology


The Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology is a sub-sector of social work that specializes in working with elderly populations. As the Baby Boom generation ages, Gerontologists in general and especially those with the training and title of Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology will be in high demand. Due to their exceptional knowledge base the Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology will be more likely to find a management position within the field of Gerontology. A Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology is expected to have a diverse knowledge of their field including such areas as:

  • Knowledge of legislation and policy effecting the elderly
  • Knowledge to make accurate assessments of elder needs, abilities and mental and physical health
  • Knowledge of elder abuse issues
  • Knowledge of long term care and case management
  • Knowledge of clinical practice in gerontology
  • Knowledge of gerontology administration

With a far higher degree of training than a Geriatric Social worker, The Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology brings a greatly increased level of expertise to their job. The Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology helps the elderly minimize the negative impacts of aging and works to increase the quality of life for their clients. By helping the elderly cope with the changes of aging the Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology helps their clients to live richer fuller lives.

The Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology begins their relationship with the client by establishing rapport and making an assessment of the needs and health of the client. The social worker then connects the client with appropriate services such as transportation, home health aides, or meal services. These measures can help the elderly person to live at home for much longer than might otherwise be possible and avoid being placed in a nursing home.

How this Job Services Human Beings

The Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology works with their client to make the burdens of aging greatly reduced.

Their job duties primarily take the form of advocacy and mental health counseling for their elderly clients. It can include some of the following tasks:

  • Providing mental health counseling for their client on issues they may have around aging
  • Advocating on behalf of their client when dealing with public agencies
  • Helping the client to live a self-sufficient life within their capabilities
  • Establishing strong rapport and personal relationship with their client
  • Accurately assessing the emotional and physical needs of their client

Impact on Society

The impact of the Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology on society is to make aging a far less daunting and difficult process for our elderly population. By empowering the elderly they help people to live long active and full lives. This helps society by keeping our elders connected to society where they can impart their wisdom and unique outlook on life. While subtle, the impact on society is very important and helps to maintain the fabric of community across the generations.

Impact on the Family

The process of aging can be very difficult for both the elderly and their family. Many senior citizens greatly fear becoming a burden for their families and also losing self-sufficiency. Most families are also concerned with the well-being of their elders and while busy themselves want the best for their senior family members. The Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology helps the family by taking on the role of advocate for the elder. With accurate assessments of health and capabilities the Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology can help the family by keeping their elders self-sufficient and living a full life. By working to keep the elder out of nursing home care, the social worker benefits the family tremendously. This can help the family immensely on both the financial and emotional levels.

Impact on the Individual

The prospect of aging and losing one’s self-sufficiency is a frightening prospect for many elders. Many seniors also are terribly afraid of becoming a burden on their families. Mental health crises are not uncommon among the elderly and this is where a Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology really shines. With the help of the Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology, the senior becomes empowered to live a full and self-sufficient life. From increased mental health, to help applying for government benefits, to being connected with a home health aide, the senior reaps tremendous benefits from the work of the Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology. For many seniors, with the help of their social worker, they may feel a second lease on life.

Education to Join the Workforce

To attain the title of Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology, one must first earn their Bachelors of Gerontology, go on to obtain their Master of Gerontology degree and then get an additional certification from the National Association of Social Workers.

Range of Salaries for a Social Worker in Gerontology

On a nationwide basis the annual mean wage for a Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology is: $40,7401

What’s Next to Pursue this Career?

Your first step on your career as a Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology is to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Gerontology. To receive the title of Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology, one must earn their Master’s in Gerontology and then get an additional certification from the National Association of Social Workers.
This certification requires the following:

A Master of Social Work from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

At least thirty hours of post-degree continuing professional education on or the dynamics of working with the aging, and their families and caregivers, interventions or bio-psychosocial issues.

Verifiable documentation of 3,000 hours of paid supervised work in a post-MSW clinical social work agency or organization that provides mental health assessment and treatment to the elderly.

An up to date clinical social work license from your state.

Pledging to uphold the NASW Code of Ethics along with the NASW Standards for Continuing Professional Education.2

You can find schools in your area that have degree programs in this area by clicking here. Now is the time to take the first step on your journey towards becoming a Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology!

  • hhttp://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211029.htm
  • http://www.socialworkers.org/credentials/specialty/csw-g.asp