If you have ever wondered, “what does a social worker do in a school? The answer is, they do a lot and have a lot of responsibility. Often a child’s happiness and well-being can be enhanced by the presence of school social workers.
What Does a Social Worker Do in a School?
School social workers have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders as they are dealing with children that have issues. They may have problems with parents, other children or may have other problems that are keeping them from having a safe and happy childhood. They are responsible for helping children that are struggling with classes improve their performance.
Those that have wondered, what do social workers do in schools, here is a sample of the many responsibilities they have:
School social workers, or licensed school social workers, play a critical role in schools and educational settings. School social workers offer services to ensure their emotional mental and physical well-being.
Here is school social workers job description according to SocialWorkers.org:
Social workers work within the school system to provide services to students to enhance their emotional well-being, which is critical in improving their academic performance. They are typically employed by the school district or may work with an agency that contracts social workers to different schools.
They are responsible for helping students, families, teachers, coaches, and other staff members address problems a child may be having. This includes truancy, rebelliousness, aggressiveness, social/community withdrawal, and those suffering from physical, emotional, or economic issues at home. School social workers often work with students struggling from substance abuse, physical abuse, and sexuality issues, but this is typically in higher grades.
Requirements of School Social Workers:
To be qualified as a school social worker, usually means that the worker has at least a bachelor’s degree and may even have higher educational degrees based on their job. The qualifications are dictated by the school district or employing agency.
Here is a list of what do social workers do in schools and their responsibilities:
- Conducting psychosocial assessments, educational and social histories
- Assessing students for substance use/abuse, support systems, physical and emotional functioning, address barriers to academic performance, peer pressure problems, suicidal/homicidal thoughts, and other similar issues
- Developing and implementing treatment options developed to support student self-determination
- Providing therapeutic services like individual, family, or group therapy to help the student deal with difficult issues
- Providing crisis management services, addressing safety issues
- Advocating for student services
- Providing case management services like referrals to community-wide resources, collaboration with other professionals
- Providing trainings and workshops to teachers, school staff and parents
- Conducting home visits when necessary
- Identifying and resolving ethical/race issues
- Managing and supervising staff and aiding when needed
- Contributing to a multidisciplinary treatment team to help all students
School Social Worker Education and Training:
School based social worker job description can vary based on the education that the social worker has. School social workers can usually begin their career with a bachelor’s degree in social work or in a similar field of study. Some states require that before becoming a school social worker that the job seeker mush have a minimum of a master’s degree in social work from an accredited university or school.
Each state has different criterial, but students must meet the licensing and certification requirements as dictated by the state. Often, some school social workers explore getting a doctorate degree to make them more competitive and demand more money. They typically work in schools that cater to children with issues, or in impoverished areas, where there may be more children with issues and require more help.
School Social Worker Experience Requirements:
In most cases, school social workers need to complete an internship as part of their school education. Their fieldwork is important as it gives them on-site experience under the guidance of school administrators and their professors so that they are prepared for their job in school social work.
They most likely will need to be licensed before they start on their career path. Licenses can range from Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) to a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). In most cases clinical licenses are obtained after at least two or three years of supervised clinical social work.
Along with school based social worker job description, we need to talk about the financial advantages of being a school social worker. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average a social worker makes around $59,489 a year. Salaries can vary depending on the location/state of the school, experience level and educational background of the applicant.
Those considering a job in social work should review school social workers job description as it might lead to considering it as a career.