What does a Clinical Social Worker do?

Learn all about Clinical Social Worker duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Clinical Social Worker.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A clinical social worker is a type of social worker who helps people with mental, emotional, or physical health problems. Clinical social workers also work with families and groups to help them cope with difficulties.

Clinical Social Worker job duties include:

  • Establishing and maintaining professional relationships with clients
  • Engaging in regular reflection and supervision to maintain best practices
  • Providing direct clinical social work services including assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and intervention
  • Conducting psychosocial assessments to identify areas of need
  • Linking clients to necessary resources and making referrals when appropriate
  • Providing crisis intervention and support
  • Promoting client self-determination, autonomy, and empowerment
  • Helping clients develop insight, coping skills, and resiliency
  • Encouraging positive social and behavioral change
  • Advocating on behalf of clients

Clinical Social Worker Job Requirements

A clinical social worker must have a master’s degree in social work from an accredited school of social work and two years of post-master’s supervised clinical experience in a health care setting. They must also be licensed by the state in which they practice.

Clinical Social Worker Skills

  • Assessing client needs and strengths
  • Creating treatment goals
  • Linking clients to helpful resources
  • Providing individual and family therapy
  • Conducting group therapy sessions
  • Administering and interpreting psychological assessments
  • Engaging in community outreach
  • Collaborating with other professionals
  • Maintaining clinical documentation
  • Supervising social work interns
  • Participating in professional development activities

Related: Top Clinical Social Worker Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Clinical Social Worker

A clinical social worker is a type of social worker who provides direct services to clients in order to help them cope with mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. Clinical social workers typically have a master’s degree in social work (MSW), and they must be licensed in order to practice.

If you’re interested in becoming a clinical social worker, the first step is to earn your MSW from an accredited social work program. Once you have your MSW, you’ll need to obtain a license from your state’s licensing board. In order to be licensed, you’ll need to pass the Clinical Social Work Exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards.

Once you’re licensed, you can begin working with clients. Clinical social workers typically work in private practices, hospitals, or clinics. They may also work in schools, government agencies, or other settings.

If you want to become a clinical social worker, you need to be prepared to help people through some of the most difficult times in their lives. It’s a demanding job, but it can be extremely rewarding.

Related: Clinical Social Worker Resume Example

Related: Clinical Social Worker Interview Questions (With Example Answers)