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Healthcare Social Workers

Are you interested in change and improvement in our healthcare?

Healthcare Social Workers provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychological support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family care givers, providing patient education and counseling, and making referrals for other services. May also provide care and case management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare. Patient Advocacy is the main role of a Healthcare Social Worker as they want to advocate for their rights to culturally appropriate healthcare.

Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 26 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by increased demand for healthcare and social services but will vary by specialization.           

The number of Healthcare Social Workers jobs are expected to increase by 26 percent from 2018 to 2028 with estimates showing an annual job opening of over 314 new Healthcare Social Workers each year!

26% Growth

Growth 60 Transfers 177 Retire 77

Social Workers are found in a wide range of healthcare-related industries and even educational institutions!
Top 5 Industries for Healthcare Social Workers


Earning Your Degree: Where Social Workers Begin

Steps to Become a Social Worker

Let's take a look at the steps to become a medical social worker.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Aspiring medical social workers typically earn a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). However, students who major in psychology or sociology may also be qualified to work in social services at an entry-level position. Undergraduate and graduate programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Accredited BSW curricula can require up to 400 hours of field experience in addition to the classroom coursework.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Graduates can choose to work as a general social worker after receiving their BSW before going on to specialize in medical social work. Prospective medical social workers may consider seeking entry-level employment at state social services agencies to gain experience in handling multiple caseloads and helping clients with finding financial or job-related assistance. They may also work at mental health or substance abuse treatment facilities to become familiar with working in clinical settings, dealing with clients who may have emotional problems, and communicating with family members on coping mechanics.

Step 3: Earn a Graduate Degree

While an undergraduate major in social work is not required for admittance into a Master of Science in Social Work (MS) program, most MSW programs grant advanced status for students with a BSW from an accredited institution. Graduate students can concentrate in a field, such as medical social work, advancing and applying concepts learned from undergraduate study. A MSW program is typically two years long and consist of more than 900 hours of field work or an internship in a clinical setting, where students practice as medical social workers while under supervision.

Step 4: Become Licensed

State social worker boards develop and enforce qualifications for licensure, which can vary from state to state. After earning a graduate degree, social workers need to accrue a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience or have at least two years of work experience to be eligible for the licensure exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB). Successful completion of this exam results in the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) designation.

Step 5: Maintain Licensure

Continuing education requirements to maintain your licensure varies by state. Professionals may consult the ASWB to get information on the requirements for their state. Typically, states require social workers to earn continuing education credits every two years, according to the ASWB. This may be achieved through acquiring a certain number of clinical hours or completing some type of formal training or coursework in an area, such as substance abuse or domestic violence. In summary, medical social workers must have a bachelor of social work (BSW), gain experience, become licensed, and maintain licensure.  


Is being a Healthcare Social Worker right for you?*

These skills, interests, and knowledge areas are recommended for a career as an LVN. The following data describes the relative importance of each knowledge/skill area from the opinion of those in the industry.

Top Relevant Knowledge Areas Relevant Importance Levels
Therapy and Counseling
Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
English Language
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Sociology and Anthropology
Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and       influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  *Source: Texas Career Check.

Entry $48,101 Median $64,120 Experienced $74,136

Helpful Tech to Get Ahead

  • Medical Software: Medical procedure coding software, MEDITECH software, or Telephone triage software
  • Scheduling Software
  • Microsoft Office Suite: Microsfot Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel

Gulf Coast Region Healthcare Social Worker Programs

Community Colleges


 In the Gulf Coast Region

If you have questions about our Industry/Occupation Profiles or are an organization in the Gulf Coast Region, please contact

*Includes the following counties: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, and Wharton.

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