Human Services Guide

Education for a Medical Social Worker

The medical Social Worker is a mental health professional who assists families and individuals in a health care setting. They could work in a community clinic, nursing home, hospital or hospice setting aiding clients in dealing with the emotional strains of the health care process. The task of the medical Social Worker is to help people deal with the emotional turmoil that can occur from the complex process of modern health care. Whether this is helping the client gain access to community and government resources, facilitating support groups for families of the dying or direct individual counseling, the medical Social Worker plays a variety of roles in the health care process.

* Earn a Master of Social Work degree online from the top-ranked USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. This CSWE-accredited program features live, online classes and hands-on field experiences near your community. GRE scores are not required to apply, and you can complete your degree in two years or less. Bachelor's degree required. Learn more and request information!

* SocialWork@Simmons is an innovative, online Master of Social Work program offered through the Simmons School of Social Work, the nation’s oldest school of social work. Complete your MSW in as little as 15 months with this CSWE-accredited program. No GRE required. Request information.

* Capella University offers several programs that may fit your education needs for a career in Social Work. An MSW and DSW are offered with CSWE Candidacy. If you do not yet possess a Bachelors Degree a variety of programs including BS in Psychology are available. Request Information Here.

The job of the medical Social Worker is a complex one and many potential duties could be required. Some of the tasks a medical Social Worker might be expected to perform include:

  • Counseling groups or individuals in dealing with chronic illness, loss of a loved one or substance abuse
  • Being a mandatory reporter and investigator of potential child abuse
  • Assess the needs of each individual client and keep detail records of clients progress in the healing process
  • Advocate on behalf of the client or family members by consulting with other members of the healthcare team
  • Helping to connect clients with community and government resources around financial or insurance issues
  • Help clients fill out Medicare or Medicaid applications information and oversee their information and status of ongoing benefits.

How this Job Services Human Beings

The medical Social Worker is a key member of the healthcare team and has a tremendous impact on the wellbeing of people navigating the healthcare system. Whether acting in the capacity of a counselor, advocate, liaison with government services or investigating child abuse, the medical Social Worker fulfills key services for members of their community. Indeed, the medical Social Worker can have a huge and lasting impact on many levels from society down to the individual.

Impact on Society

The medical Social Worker has a significant impact on society due to the critical function they perform within the healthcare establishment. By helping people deal with emotional aspects of moving through the healthcare system, the medical Social Worker has a measurable impact on the mental health of their community.

Some of the many ways a medical Social Worker can impact their community can include:

  • Early intervention and prevention of child abuse
  • Increase in medically insured community members
  • Increase in mental wellbeing of community members
  • Decrease in recovery times of patients
  • Better healthcare experience for community members

Impact on the Family

For the family the impact of the medical Social Worker can be huge. From helping to educate the family on medical procedures, to counseling on chronic illness and death, the medical Social Worker is an emotional bulwark for the family. The family can rely on the medical Social Worker to act as an advocate on their behalf as well as that of the patient. The family can also see their stress levels and confusion greatly diminish or even dissolve completely due to the diligent counseling of the medical Social Worker.

Impact on the individual

The medical social work can have a nothing short of life changing impact on the individual. From counseling them through the trauma of treatment of a chronic or acute illness to identifying child abuse, the medical Social Worker can have a dramatic and lasting impact on the life of the individual. For many individuals the process of medical treatment is one that can be frightening and traumatic. With the help of the medical Social Worker they can overcome their fears and even speed up their healing due to stress reduction. For the individual the medical Social Worker can have a tremendous impact on their life.

Education Required to Join the Workforce

In some rare cases, employers will hire medical Social Workers who have a Bachelors degree in Counseling, Social Work or Psychology. However, most employers are looking for candidates who have a Masters of Social Work degree. To further make one’s resume stand out, it is advisable to gain fluency in a foreign language as bilingual and multilingual candidates are highly sought after. In addition to having a Master of Social Work degree, a medical Social Worker will need to obtain a license. Please consult our article on Social Work licensure here.

Range of Salaries for this Job

The annual mean wage - depending on employer designation - for a medical Social Worker on a nationwide basis, is from: $42,050 to $56,0601

What’s Next to Pursue this Career?

To get started on your career path as a medical Social Worker you will first need to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, Counseling, Sociology, Social Work or a closely related field. Next, you will need to earn a Master of Social Work as most employers now require this as a minimum qualification. In addition to having a Master of Social Work degree, a medical Social Worker will need to obtain a license. Please consult our article on Social Work licensure here. You can find a database of qualified schools in your area by clicking here. Now is a great time to get started on your journey towards becoming a medical Social Worker!

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211022.htm

MSW@USC
University of Southern California