What Can I Do with a Masters in Social Work?

A master’s in social work opens many career doors in the fields of education, health care, mental health and human services. All accredited graduate degrees in social work should be approved by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Hospital Intake Coordinator

An intake coordinator may work in a hospital’s psychiatric department to provide professional evaluations of incoming patients. These intake coordinators must determine the most appropriate level of psychiatric service required. They evaluate and coordinate psychiatric intakes through face-to-face interviews that are often conducted in the emergency department. They are responsible for crisis management, unplanned interventions, placement referrals and case coordination with community and state agency referral sources. These intake coordinators usually have a background in both social work and psychology and experience with crisis screening, diagnostic assessments and psychosocial assessments. Employers will want them to be familiar with case management practices, behavioral health education and pre-admission review procedures.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

A licensed clinical social worker may work in a variety of settings, such as a hospital, substance abuse treatment center or mental health service facility. They are a valuable resource to licensed counselors in facilitating patient intake, treatment and discharge planning. They train office staff in facilitating intakes, performing diagnostics, scheduling services and communicating with Child Welfare social workers. They provide individual, group and family counseling support. They coordinate quality improvement activities through sharing feedback and observation. They may even assure that appropriate insurance approvals are obtained prior to patient enrollment. Licensed clinical social workers facilitate the implementation, review and documenting of treatment and discharge plans.

Medical Social Worker

Medical social workers may be assigned to specific hospital departments, such as emergency and hospice care. They help patients, families and caregivers cope with social, medical, mental and emotional issues. They may deliver appropriate social work services through outreach programs in patients’ home and assisted living facilities. Medical social workers must perform their duties in accordance with company policies and state and federal regulations. They are members of integrated health care teams who coordinate and implement human services that meet the complex needs of patients. They may provide crisis, grief, health aging and psychodynamic interventions. They also provide bereavement counseling, problem solving, stress reduction and coping strategy training sessions.

Child Protective Services (CPS) Worker

CPS workers are employed by State Child Welfare agencies to ensure the mental, physical and medical safety of children. They are responsible for removing children from unsafe environments and placing them in temporary state custody through foster care systems. They develop and implement individual case plans that are approved by judges and shared with lawyers, teachers and foster parents. They help their child-clients cope and deal with social, emotional, academic, financial and personal problems. They work with other supportive professionals to identify needs, access resources and execute individual treatment plans. CPS workers must maintain excellent records and documentation that are used in adjusting and terminating parent’s legal custody rights.

Social workers need to have excellent in-person, telephone and written communication skills. They should be computer-literate with experience in clinical information systems and databases. They must efficiently and effectively handle demanding workloads involving multiple tasks and short deadlines. Social workers must have the ability to function independently of supervision and as collaborative team members.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs