Social Workers can find the best jobs after they complete an LCSW program in healthcare settings or government agencies. Completing the LCSW is an intensive process taking three-plus years that can pay off with excellent job prospects for altruistic advocates of mental health. Earning the Licensed Social Worker title after one’s name involves graduating from an accredited MSW program either on-site or online. According to the CSWE directory, there are currently 128 colleges in the United States and Puerto Rico that offer clinical master’s concentrations.
Although the Association of Social Work Boards warns that LCSW requirements vary by state, most will require at least 3,200 hours or 24 months of full-time work experience under supervision. Then comes the 150-question LCSW exam where the pass rate for the 16,045 takers in 2017 was only 78.4 percent. Successfully becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is a noble achievement that can line up some of the human services field’s best jobs.
Types of Jobs Available for LCSWs
Clinical social work is a multi-faceted profession where licensed practitioners can invoke positive life changes in several specialties outlined by the National Association of Social Workers. Much LCSWs focus on mental illness to address chronic problems that could be life-threatening, such as opioid addiction and bipolar disorder. Trauma LCSWs specifically treat patients with histories of domestic, communal, and systemic violence.
Aging baby boomers rely on LCSWs in gerontology to enhance their late adulthood well-being. Child and family LCSWs have expertise in pediatric therapy for interventions at school or home. Licensed Clinical Social Workers can also find jobs in corrections, refugee resettlement, biomedical research, fertility counseling, hospice care, and more globally. Some LCSWs even become academics to teach college courses at the bachelor’s level.
- community resources
- treatment plans
- family members
- behavioral health
- private practice
- medical director
- clinical team
- psychosocial assessments
- provide therapy
- health care
- discharge planning
- treatment plan
- home visits
- medical center
Organizations Hiring LCSW Graduates
Passing the $260 ASWB Clinical exam opens doors to practice in any healthcare setting across all 50 states. Licensed Clinical Social Workers are often drawn to hospitals, including Honor Roll members like the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, New York-Presbyterian, Massachusetts General, and Cedars-Sinai. LCSWs treat mentally ill patients in psychiatric centers, outpatient clinics, residential rehabs, halfway houses, and even equine therapy stables.
LCSWs could work for agencies, such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Military bases from California’s Fort Irwin to Georgia’s Fort Benning hire clinical staff. School districts, child welfare departments, prisons, and nursing homes are other employment options, places to help family members with health care as well.
Best Places to Search for LCSW Openings
Licensed Clinical Social Workers looking to join their 682,100 colleagues nationwide may need some relocation flexibility to find the best jobs. ValuePenguin analyzed 300+ cities to assert that Carson City, Waterbury, Cumberland, Taunton, and New Haven were the best for LCSWs. The highest numbers of LCSWs are found in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Ohio at over 5,000 apiece according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The top-paying metropolitans for clinical social work are Macon at $93,730, San Luis Obispo at $79,780, Jefferson City at $72,630, and Trenton at $70,380. However, there’s a shortage of LCSWs in rural communities where access to mental health specialists is direly low. Licensed Social Workers have the authority to open private practices anywhere to serve anyone in need.
Job Locating Tips for Newly Licensed LCSWs
The Department of Labor brags that the economy will stimulate much faster-than-average job growth of 20 percent for 35,400 new LCSW positions by 2026, but the job search can still be difficult for new graduates. Finding the best jobs for LCSWs will necessitate plenty of networking by joining NASW Chapters, making LinkedIn profiles, and attending gatherings like the Annual Linda Gammage Social Workers Conference.
Build connections and experience by volunteering at local clinics or nonprofits. Adding internships with global organizations, such as Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee, could stand out. Pursue extra training opportunities, including the SAMSHA Minority Fellowship Program with $6,500 stipends. LCSWs might also get their feet wet with per diem work via staffing agencies like Social Work p.r.n.
Job Outlook for LCSWs
According to the U.S. News & World Report, LCSWs have America’s 63rd best job with average upward mobility and low unemployment of 2.1 percent. The Licensed Clinical Social Worker credential proves to wide-ranging healthcare employers that candidates have the diagnostic expertise needed for treating psychosocial dysfunctions.
LCSWs can fill diverse, strength-based direct practice roles helping patients cope with clinical conditions and cultivate brighter futures. From aiding the elderly to protecting child welfare and counseling transgender teens, there’s virtually no limit to the great job opportunities rewarded when you complete the LCSW license.
Where do LCSW make the most money?
When it comes to salaries for social workers, they can vary greatly from state to state and even city to city. For licensed clinical social workers, salaries can be higher since this is a more specialized area of the social work field.
There are many different types of social workers, including child family in school social workers, health care social workers, and even social workers that help people with mental health or substance abuse issues. Licensed clinical social workers usually work within the different clinical settings for these types of populations.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for a licensed clinical social worker is between $60,000 per year and $70,000 per year.
A social worker makes the most money per year when they work as healthcare social workers. This area of social work will garner graduates a salary of around $80,000 per year. Another area of licensed clinical social work that pays well is mental health and substance abuse.
Social workers also make more money if they live and work in the states of California, New York, or New Jersey, depending on which area of licensed clinical social work they focus on.
How do I become a social worker in the US?
For students who strive to become l social workers in the United States, entering into a bachelor’s degree in social work program is the first step. By studying social work at the undergraduate level, students are provided with the foundational knowledge they will need to build upon. Some of this coursework includes social welfare policy and human behavior. A bachelor’s degree in social work is the minimum requirement for most social work positions.
Students also have the option of earning their bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as human development, psychology, or sociology. Graduates will then need to move on to the master’s degree in social work level to become social workers. Graduates will need a master’s degree to be eligible to become licensed as social workers.
While master’s degrees in social work programs used to take students at least two or more years to complete, they can now complete this type of program in 18 months or less. This is due to the fact that many of the classes are offered online so students can work at their own pace.
Students need to ensure that the social work program they enter into is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This means the program meets the standards and the required criteria when it comes to social work and social work practices. Students earning their degree in social work can specialize in the area that they want to work in after they graduate.
A degree in social work program will also prepare students for state licensure testing. Each state has its own licensing board that will determine the requirements that are needed. Students should look at the requirements of the state in which they want to work to ensure they are receiving all of the education they need to be able to pass the licensing test.
What does LCSW mean?
An LCSW is a social worker who is trained in specific areas, such as mental health to then work in clinical settings. A licensed clinical social worker can secure positions in a variety of different settings. Graduates will be able to provide emotional support, therapy in case management services, and mental health evaluations to people who are experiencing social, emotional, family, or psychological problems.
Licensed clinical social workers must have an accredited master of social work degree in a minimum of two years or 3,000 hours of experience after they have received their degree in a supervised clinical setting. They also must have their clinical license in the state in which they want to practice.
An LCSW works to help individuals, families, and communities that have been affected by mental disorders, behavioral disturbances, and other life changes or challenges. They can work in private practices, hospitals, primary care facilities, and even community mental health centers. They will often collaborate with other medical and mental health professionals.
Is being a social worker worth it?
Yes, becoming a lcsw social worker is definitely worth it for those who have a passion for helping others. The license that a graduate will receive as a social worker will establish him or her as an expert in their area of expertise. Some have a active unrestricted professional license. Many jobs that are available in the social work field require the candidate to be a social worker. This area of social work also pays very well.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the clinical social work field ranks in the top 25 on the Best Social Services jobs list. Clinical social workers can earn a median salary of around $60,000 per year and many social workers in this field make more than $76,000 per year. Create job alert reminders, and keep your eyes on various job alert sites for top paying jobs.
While many students can take online courses such as therapy services, behavioral health, for their master’s degree in social work program, it will still take approximately two years to complete all of the requirements of the program. This is because social workers need a certain amount of supervised experience working in the field, depending on the state they live in. For example, in California, social workers must have at least 3,200 hours of supervised experience working in the field before they can become fully licensed and branch out on their own. Most of the time, social workers are paid while working to gain their supervised experience hours.
Even though it takes time and money to become a social worker, those already working in the field tout it as a great field. For people who have a passion for helping others improve their lives, social work is a great helping profession to become a part of.