A clinical social worker provides a combination of therapy and assistance accessing resources and offers guidance through difficult situations, as opposed to a direct social worker who connects clients to resources and is not legally allowed to offer counselling services. Equivalently, a clinical worker is different from a therapist as they provide access to resources on top of offering counselling services.

A clinical social worker will provide clients with relevant therapy and psychotherapy, assess and diagnose clients with psychological conditions, administer interventions and evidence based treatment, and oversee case management. They apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice and advance human rights and social and economic justice.

Education requirements include a master's degree in social work in your preferred area of specialty for example substance abuse social work, child social work, family social work, or school social work. You are also required to complete several hours of supervised fieldwork in your preferred professional setting. They earn an average of $64,259 a year, that's $30.89 an hour.

What Does a Clinical Social Worker Do

There are certain skills that many clinical social workers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, emotional skills and interpersonal skills.

Learn more about what a Clinical Social Worker does

How To Become a Clinical Social Worker

If you're interested in becoming a clinical social worker, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 40.9% of clinical social workers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 54.1% of clinical social workers have master's degrees. Even though most clinical social workers have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

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Clinical Social Worker Job Description

Clinical social workers are primarily responsible for providing services to individuals, groups, or families who are experiencing distress and need to undergo treatment. They are in charge of diagnosing their clients, identifying treatment plans, and managing their illnesses to pave the way for prevention.

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Clinical Social Worker Career Paths

Average Salary for a Clinical Social Worker

Clinical Social Workers in America make an average salary of $63,056 per year or $30 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $92,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $42,000 per year.
Average Clinical Social Worker Salary
$63,056 Yearly
$30.32 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Clinical Social Worker

The role of a clinical social worker includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general clinical social worker responsibilities:

  • Provides psychosocial assessment of the individual
  • Develops and implements individualized treatment approach to meet the needs of each patient
  • Under the general supervision of the director of social services, this position will function as a member of a multidisciplinary treatment team on the treatment rehabilitation assessment care (trac 2) unit for adults living with mental illness. The social worker clinical will engage in psychotherapeutic activities

There are several types of clinical social worker, including:

Social Worker


I'm sure you've heard that social work is hard. That's all anyone has to say about it. But what exactly does that mean? As a social worker, your day will consist of provide counseling services, performing administrative duties, taking time to interview potential clients, and meeting with lawyers. This is where the hard part comes into play.

A big part of a social worker's role is to provide assistance to people who are facing challenges in their life. Social workers try to improve their wellbeing and make sure they are being treated fairly. It's the situations that you'll find yourself helping that are the tough parts. From family violence to homelessness, this job isn't protected against some sad stories.

In fact, many social workers say the hardest part of the job is seeing how cruel people can be toward each other, especially families. You never want to see a kid take the brunt of a fight between two adults, but it happens more than you know. That's the kind of sad reality you might find yourself in as a social worker. There needs to be more people like you in the world.

  • Average Salary: $50,102
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree



Clinicians are doctors that deal directly with patients as opposed to one that conducts laboratory work or theoretical studies. Examples of clinicians include physicians, clinical pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and speech-language pathologists. They can conduct physical examinations, order lab tests, prescribe medications, and develop treatment plans for patients.

Being a clinician offers vast opportunities in caring for different patient demographics. They can spend their time providing psychotherapy treatment for mental health individuals, working with military personnel to cope with their post-traumatic syndrome, or even be administering an addictions program.

A clinician will generally take, on average, 5-8 years to specialize. For example, Sigmund Freud spent around 10 years in medical education before receiving his/her professorship in neuropathology. For those who have a passion for helping people, being a clinician can be an extremely rewarding career and this role earns an average of $22 to $46 per hour, depending on their specialization.

  • Average Salary: $60,150
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Medical Social Worker


A medical social worker assists patients and their families in need of psychosocial help during their treatment. Your responsibilities include helping patients and their families to understand and handle emotions associated with their health conditions.

A medical social worker assists doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and other medical personnel to care for patients of all ages. As a medical social worker, you will help patients understand their illnesses and improve their state of mind by providing adequate information about their health conditions. You should be able to suggest solutions to emotional, physical, mental, and psychological issues. Plus, you will ensure that the patient's medical treatment and needs are met.

A Medical Social worker needs at least a bachelor's degree in social work. Some medical institutions might demand a master's degree as well. Strong oral and written communication skills alongside problem-solving skills are valuable skills for this position. You should be organized, patient, and be attentive to patients' needs. Medical social workers earn around $55,393 annually.

  • Average Salary: $57,093
  • Degree: Master's Degree

States With The Most Clinical Social Worker Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active clinical social worker jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where clinical social workers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Clinical Social Worker Jobs By State

Clinical Social Worker Education

Clinical Social Worker Majors

Clinical Social Worker Degrees


54.1 %


40.9 %


3.0 %

Top Colleges for Clinical Social Workers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, OH • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Clinical Social Worker

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 27.9% of clinical social workers listed social work on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and emotional skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Clinical Social Worker Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Clinical Social Worker templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Clinical Social Worker resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Clinical Social Worker diversity

Clinical Social Worker Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among clinical social workers, 78.3% of them are women, while 21.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among clinical social workers is White, which makes up 58.5% of all clinical social workers.

  • The most common foreign language among clinical social workers is Spanish at 66.5%.

Online Courses For Clinical Social Worker That You May Like

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1. Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change


In this course, you will learn how social workers in the United States engage in creating change and supporting the resilience of individuals, families and communities in this new era. Learners will have an opportunity to explore the social work profession, the different roles of social workers in a range of settings, the cross cutting themes that guide social work practice, the history of social work, and current challenges. Using a social justice lens, learners will reflect on current...

2. Confronting Gender Based Violence: Global Lessons for Healthcare Workers


This course introduces participants from the healthcare sector to gender based violence (GBV), including global epidemiology of GBV; health outcomes; seminal research; and clinical best practices for GBV prevention, support, and management. A core curriculum is supplemented by lectures that contextualize the content with specific examples and programs from around the world. The core curriculum introduces learners to a global perspective on gender based violence (GBV), and includes a review with...

3. Crisis Intervention Seminar


The emphasis is on the development of fundamental clinical skills in the area of crisis intervention...

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Best States For a Clinical Social Worker

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a clinical social worker. The best states for people in this position are California, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Alaska. Clinical social workers make the most in California with an average salary of $83,803. Whereas in New Hampshire and Oregon, they would average $81,306 and $80,983, respectively. While clinical social workers would only make an average of $79,276 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Oregon

Total Clinical Social Worker Jobs: 1,312
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Connecticut

Total Clinical Social Worker Jobs: 1,029
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. California

Total Clinical Social Worker Jobs: 8,856
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Clinical Social Workers

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Top Clinical Social Worker Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ clinical social workers and discovered their number of clinical social worker opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Thriveworks was the best, especially with an average salary of $61,827. Evolent Health follows up with an average salary of $68,769, and then comes PeaceHealth with an average of $64,008. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a clinical social worker. The employers include Kaiser Permanente, Centene, and University of Virginia

Most Common Employers For Clinical Social Worker

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Massachusetts General Hospital$71,268$34.2618
2University of California Press$68,901$33.1318
3Evolent Health$68,769$33.0651
4Cambridge Health Alliance$66,918$32.1720
5VITAS Healthcare$66,864$32.1525
6Legacy Health$66,664$32.0541
7State of Connecticut$64,709$31.1120
10Kaiser Permanente$60,842$29.2529

Clinical Social Worker Videos

Becoming a Clinical Social Worker FAQs

Clinical Social Worker Vs Therapist

A clinical social worker is a specific practice within social work that focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness, emotional, and other behavioral disturbances, while a therapist is a mental health professional focused on helping others using various practices and treatments.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Clinical Social Worker?

It can take up to six years to become a clinical social worker. Clinical social workers typically need to complete their master's, along with a couple of additional years of certification training.

Is An Lcsw Better Than A Psychologist?

No, an LCSW is not better than a psychologist. Clinical psychologists have a doctoral education that leads to a higher salary than LCSWs, while LCSWs have slightly better career prospects regarding job growth and ease of entry into the occupation.

What Are The Requirements For Lcsw?

It's usually required that LCSWs obtain a master's degree. Master's programs prepare students for work in their chosen specialty by developing clinical assessment and management skills. All programs require students to complete a supervised practicum or an internship.

What Is The Difference Between A Clinical Social Worker And A Psychologist?

The difference between a clinical social worker and a psychologist is that clinical social workers hold a master's degree, while psychologists must obtain a doctorate.

The human services field is full of overlapping professions that might seem pretty similar at first look. When it comes to psychologists vs. social workers, however, there are some pretty clear differences.

What Is The Difference Between A Clinical Social Worker And A Social Worker?

The main difference between a clinical social worker and a social worker is that clinical social workers have to obtain a master's, while social workers must have just a bachelor's.

Both clinical and direct services social workers perform duties that require one-on-one client interaction, but clinical social workers have more authority for diagnosing and treating.

What Is The Difference Between A Social Worker And A Medical Social Worker?

The difference between a social worker and a medical social worker is how they help families cope and improve the quality of their lives.

A medical social worker sometimes referred to as a health care social worker, helps patients and their families cope with illnesses.

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