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Become A Service Worker

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Working As A Service Worker

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $58,560

    Average Salary

What Does A Service Worker Do

Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers—clinical social workers—also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.   

Duties

Social workers typically do the following:

  • Identify people and communities in need of help
  • Assess clients’ needs, situations, strengths, and support networks to determine their goals
  • Help clients adjust to changes and challenges in their lives, such as illness, divorce, or unemployment
  • Research, refer, and advocate for community resources, such as food stamps, childcare, and healthcare to assist and improve a client’s well-being
  • Respond to crisis situations such as child abuse and mental health emergencies
  • Follow up with clients to ensure that their situations have improved
  • Evaluate services provided to ensure that they are effective
  • Develop and evaluate programs and services to ensure that basic client needs are met
  • Provide psychotherapy services

Social workers help people cope with challenges in their lives. They help with a wide range of situations, such as adopting a child or being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Social workers may work with children, people with disabilities, and people with serious illnesses and addictions. Their work varies based on the type of client they are working with.

Some social workers work with groups, community organizations, and policymakers to develop or improve programs, services, policies, and social conditions. This focus of work is referred to as macro social work.

Advocacy is an important aspect of social work. Social workers advocate or raise awareness with and on behalf of their clients and the social work profession on local, state, and national levels.

The following are examples of types of social workers:

Child and family social workers protect vulnerable children and help families in need of assistance. They help families find housing or services, such as childcare, or apply for benefits, such as food stamps. They intervene when children are in danger of neglect or abuse. Some help arrange adoptions, locate foster families, or work to reunite families.

Clinical social workers—also called licensed clinical social workers—diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders, including anxiety and depression. They provide individual, group, family, and couples therapy; they work with clients to develop strategies to change behavior or cope with difficult situations; and they refer clients to other resources or services, such as support groups or other mental health professionals. Clinical social workers can develop treatment plans with the client, doctors, and other healthcare professionals and may adjust the treatment plan if necessary based on their client’s progress. They may also provide mental healthcare to help children and families cope with changes in their lives, such as divorce or other family problems.

Many clinical social workers work in private practice. In these settings, clinical social workers also perform administrative and recordkeeping tasks, such as working with insurance companies in order to receive payment for their services. Some work in a group practice with other social workers or mental health professionals.

School social workers work with teachers, parents, and school administrators to develop plans and strategies to improve students’ academic performance and social development. Students and their families are often referred to social workers to deal with problems such as aggressive behavior, bullying, or frequent absences from school.

Healthcare social workers help patients understand their diagnosis and make the necessary adjustments to their lifestyle, housing, or healthcare. For example, they may help people make the transition from the hospital back to their homes and communities. In addition, they may provide information on services, such as home healthcare or support groups, to help patients manage their illness or disease. Social workers help doctors and other healthcare professionals understand the effects that diseases and illnesses have on patients’ mental and emotional health.

Some healthcare social workers specialize in geriatric social work, hospice and palliative care, or medical social work:

  • Geriatric social workers help senior citizens and their families. They help clients find services, such as programs that provide older adults with meals or with home healthcare. They may provide information about assisted living facilities or nursing homes, or work with older adults in those settings. They help clients and their families make plans for possible health complications or for where clients will live if they can no longer care for themselves.
  • Hospice and palliative care social workers help patients adjust to serious, chronic, or terminal illnesses. Palliative care focuses on relieving or preventing pain and other symptoms associated with serious illness. Hospice is a type of palliative care for people who are dying. Social workers in this setting provide and find services, such as support groups or grief counselors, to help patients and their families cope with the illness or disease.
  • Medical social workers in hospitals help patients and their families by linking patients with resources in the hospital and in their own community. They may work with medical staff to create discharge plans, make referrals to community agencies, facilitate support groups, or conduct followup visits with patients once they have been discharged.

Mental health and substance abuse social workers help clients with mental illnesses or addictions. They provide information on services, such as support groups and 12-step programs, to help clients cope with their illness. Many clinical social workers function in these roles as well.

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How To Become A Service Worker

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.

Education

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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Service Worker jobs

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Service Worker Career Paths

Service Worker
Therapist Program Director Chairperson
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Technician Specialist
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Family Support Specialist Therapist Clinical Social Worker
Clinical Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Therapist Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Specialist Adjunct Professor Associate Dean
Dean
5 Yearsyrs
Service Supervisor Operations Manager Program Director
Director Of Residential Services
7 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Social Worker
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Program Coordinator Social Worker
Director Of Social Work
7 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Family Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Production Worker Home Health Aid Career Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Program Manager Senior Project Manager
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Service Supervisor Sales Consultant Leasing Consultant
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Driver Delivery Driver Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Driver Instructor Case Manager
Senior Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Program Director
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Social Worker Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Family Support Specialist Program Coordinator Social Worker
Social Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Direct Support Professional Case Manager Social Worker
Social Work Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Social Worker 3.5 years
Service Counselor 2.6 years
Family Worker 2.6 years
Foster Care Worker 2.5 years
Case Worker 2.4 years
Community Worker 2.4 years
Service Aide 2.4 years
Group Home Worker 2.4 years
Support Worker 2.2 years
Intake Worker 2.1 years
Family Caseworker 2.0 years
Service Worker 2.0 years
Youth Worker 1.7 years
Relief Worker 1.7 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 15.5%
Internship 9.3%
Volunteer 3.3%
Manager 3.1%
Server 2.9%
Supervisor 2.6%
Top Employers After
Cashier 9.9%
Internship 7.3%
Supervisor 3.4%
Volunteer 3.4%
Teacher 2.8%
Server 2.8%

Service Worker Demographics

Gender

Female

62.5%

Male

34.9%

Unknown

2.6%
Ethnicity

White

81.3%

Hispanic or Latino

10.2%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

1.3%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.7%

French

7.3%

Japanese

3.5%

Italian

3.2%

German

3.2%

Mandarin

2.9%

Chinese

2.9%

Portuguese

1.7%

Cantonese

1.5%

Armenian

1.2%

Russian

1.2%

Hindi

0.9%

Croatian

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Urdu

0.9%

Arabic

0.9%

Swedish

0.6%

Korean

0.6%

Bosnian

0.6%

Tagalog

0.6%
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Service Worker Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.8%

West Virginia University

9.2%

University of Louisville

6.4%

University of Kentucky

5.6%

Liberty University

5.6%

Eastern Kentucky University

5.4%

Morehead State University

4.5%

Unitech Training Academy - Lafayette

4.5%

Delgado Community College

4.2%

Marshall University

4.2%

Grambling State University

4.0%

Remington College

3.9%

Ashford University

3.8%

Western Kentucky University

3.8%

Washington State University

3.5%

Grand Canyon University

3.4%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

3.4%

San Diego State University

3.3%

Walden University

3.2%

Kaplan University

3.2%
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Majors

Social Work

16.4%

Business

14.0%

Psychology

12.0%

Criminal Justice

10.1%

Medical Assisting Services

5.0%

Nursing

4.6%

Sociology

4.6%

Health Care Administration

4.1%

General Studies

4.0%

Human Services

3.8%

Accounting

3.0%

Education

2.4%

Counseling Psychology

2.3%

School Counseling

2.2%

Mental Health Counseling

2.2%

Management

2.1%

Communication

1.9%

Nursing Assistants

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.8%

Biology

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.8%

Other

26.8%

Masters

18.4%

Associate

10.2%

Certificate

4.8%

Diploma

2.3%

Doctorate

1.2%

License

0.5%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Service Worker Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Supervisors/Managers of Personal Service Workers Hairbar Inc. DBA James Joseph Salon and Studios Boston, MA Mar 23, 2011 $54,500
Social Services Worker-UTR Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center of Chicago Chicago, IL Aug 10, 2014 $50,294
Supervisor of Personal Service Workers Pure Medspa Ontario, CA Aug 29, 2008 $50,000
Manager of Personal Service Worker Massage Express McLean, VA Sep 30, 2008 $45,079
Supervisor, Carwash Service Workers Cinesha Corporation T/A Seven Car Wash Sterling, VA Apr 24, 2009 $44,928
First Lien Supervisor/Managers of Personal Service Workers Krysia's Beauty Salon Garfield, NJ May 23, 2008 $44,829
Manager of Personal Service Workers Lanphier Day Spa Darien, CT Jan 17, 2008 $42,325
Protectice Service Worker Southwest Senior Services, Inc. Plainville, MA Aug 26, 2015 $41,151
Protective Service Worker Southwest Boston Senior Services, Inc. Plainville, MA Aug 26, 2015 $41,151
Social Service Worker Interfaith Residence Saint Louis, MO Feb 05, 2015 $40,170
Supervisor of Personal Service Worker BVR, Inc. Union City, CA Jan 25, 2008 $39,236
Social Services Worker Interfaith Residence Saint Louis, MO Mar 02, 2013 $38,992
First-Line Supv/Mgr of Personal Service Workers Pen Homes, Inc. La Mirada, CA Aug 05, 2010 $37,566
Managers of Personal Service Workers Avanti Nails and Skin Care, Inc. New York, NY Jul 12, 2010 $37,500
Social Services Worker Interfaith Residence Saint Louis, MO Oct 16, 2010 $36,932
Gerontological Social Services Worker W. S. Group Corporation Alhambra, CA Sep 01, 2010 $34,404
Manager of Personal Service Worker Sun Princess Corporation Los Angeles, CA Dec 01, 2009 $33,768
Supervisor Personal Service Worker Thompson's Guest Homes Hillsborough, CA Feb 07, 2008 $31,117
1St. Line Sups/Mgrs-of Personal Service Workers Cachuela ICF/DDN Home, Inc. Orange, CA Nov 19, 2010 $30,971
Service Worker Anchor Aquatics, Inc. MD Apr 01, 2014 $24,063
Service Worker Anchor Aquatics, Inc. Apr 01, 2014 $24,063
Service Worker Juan V. Camacho Somerset, NJ May 05, 2009 $24,021
Service Worker Baytree Landscape Contractors Ladson, SC Apr 01, 2016 $24,021
Live-In Household Domestic Service Worker Josephine Wang PA Apr 13, 2015 $23,708
Service Worker Elias Choukair Middlesex, NJ Jul 12, 2010 $21,726
Portective Service Worker Alexander Investigations Sacramento, CA Apr 09, 2010 $20,870 -
$31,305
Operational Service Worker (OSW) Affirmative Risk Management Little Rock, AR Jun 30, 2015 $19,989
Service Worker Carmel Cheryll Forsatz Wayne, NJ Nov 19, 2007 $19,785
Live In Domestic Service Worker Shamika Bolta-Rios Valley Stream, NY Apr 17, 2015 $19,346

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Top Skills for A Service Worker

EnsureSafetyChildAbuseCustomerServiceSocialServicesCrisisInterventionEmergencyAssistanceMentalHealthCommunityResourcesPersonalCareTreatmentPlansCourtReportsServicePlansMedicationRemindersProtectiveServicesLawEnforcementDailyLivingActivitiesPersonalHygieneAssistanceSubstanceAbuseSuperviseDataEntry

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Top Service Worker Skills

  1. Ensure Safety
  2. Child Abuse
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked collaboratively with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the District Attorney's office to ensure safety of client caseload.
  • Investigate child abuse and neglect allegations by conducting time sensitive investigations through interviewing and counseling.
  • Prepared food and implemented customer service.
  • Perform advanced and complex social services casework involving abuse/neglect/exploitation of children in potentially dangerous dynamics.
  • Provided crisis intervention and support.

Top Service Worker Employers

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Service Worker Videos

Learn English - English Conversation for Service Workers [English Subtitle]

HTML5DevConf may 2014: Alex Russell, Google: Service Workers: Offline Now(ish)!

Pros And Cons Of Being A Social Worker

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