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Become A Clinician

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Working As A Clinician

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $44,730

    Average Salary

What Does A Clinician Do

A Clinician is a doctor who has direct contact with and responsibility for patients. They perform complete physical assessments, order appropriate laboratory or other diagnostic work, and document their findings and plan of care.

How To Become A Clinician

Although most social workers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and 2 years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.


A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is the most common requirement for entry-level positions. However, some employers may hire workers who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology.

A BSW prepares students for direct-service positions such as caseworker or mental health assistant. These programs teach students about diverse populations, human behavior, social welfare policy, and ethics in social work. All programs require students to complete supervised fieldwork or an internship.

Some positions require a master’s degree in social work (MSW), which generally takes 2 years to complete. Master’s degree programs in social work 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.

A bachelor’s degree in social work is not required in order to enter a master’s degree program in social work. Although a degree in almost any major is acceptable, courses in psychology, sociology, economics, and political science are recommended. Some programs allow graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social work to earn their master’s degree in 1 year.

In 2015, there were more than 500 bachelor’s degree programs and more than 200 master’s degree programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Some universities offer doctoral programs in social work, where students can earn a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) or a Ph.D. Most doctoral programs in social work require students to have a master’s in social work and experience in the field. Many doctor’s students go on to work as postsecondary teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states have licensure or certification requirements for nonclinical social workers. Requirements vary by state.

All states require clinical social workers to be licensed. However, some states provide exemptions for clinical social workers who work in government agencies. Becoming a licensed clinical social worker requires a master’s degree in social work and a minimum of 2 years of supervised clinical experience after graduation. After completing their supervised experience, clinical social workers must pass a clinical exam to be licensed.

Because licensing requirements vary by state, those interested should contact their state board. For more information about regulatory licensure boards by state, contact the Association of Social Work Boards.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives. To effectively help, social workers must be able to listen to and understand their clients’ needs.

Empathy. Social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different groups of people is essential for social workers. They need strong people skills to foster healthy and productive relationships with their clients and colleagues.

Organizational skills. Social workers must help and manage multiple clients, often assisting with their paperwork or documenting their treatment.

Problem-solving skills. Social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems.

Time-management skills. Social workers often have many clients and administrative responsibilities. They must effectively manage their time to provide adequate service to all of their clients.

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61 Clinician jobs More

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Real Clinician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Clinician National Institutes of Health, HHS Bethesda, MD Dec 09, 2013 $205,000 -
Clinician Yale University Old Saybrook, CT Jul 01, 2015 $180,000
Clinician Yale University Old Saybrook, CT Jan 07, 2016 $180,000
Clinician Yale University New Haven, CT Oct 15, 2013 $170,000
Clinician Chinese Hospital Daly City, CA Sep 12, 2013 $165,000
Clinician Chinese Hospital Association Daly City, CA Mar 05, 2015 $165,000
Staff Clinician National Institutes of Health, HHS Bethesda, MD Oct 07, 2016 $160,300 -
Staff Clinician National Institutes of Health, HHS Bethesda, MD Aug 05, 2014 $157,100 -
Staff Clinician National Institutes of Health, HHS Bethesda, MD Sep 23, 2014 $157,100 -
Staff Clinician National Institutes of Health, HHS Bethesda, MD Aug 12, 2014 $157,100 -
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Top Skills for A Clinician


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Top Clinician Skills

  1. Individual Therapy
  2. Individual Treatment Plans
  3. Crisis Intervention Services
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conducted individual therapy with three diverse, adult clients using live observation technology.
  • Completed comprehensive assessment and development of individual treatment plans for each child.
  • Provide crisis intervention services to all clients in the program.
  • Conduct clinical assessments to determine need of mental health services and level of care.
  • Required to conduct intake assessments of potential adult clients seeking residential substance abuse treatment.

Top Clinician Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Clinician

  1. Lindamood-Bell
  2. Daymark Recovery Services
  3. Lindamood
  4. Florida School For The Deaf
  5. Catholic Charities Summit Adult Day Services
  6. EHS Support Services
  7. Psychotherapist
  8. Clinical & Support Options
  9. Meridian Health Services
  10. Community Medical Center
What type of job are your looking for?
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Clinician Videos

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a day in the life of an ER doctor