Summary Report for:
21-1021.00 - Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers.
Sample of reported job titles: Case Manager, Case Worker, Caseworker, Child Protective Services Social Worker (CPS Social Worker), Family Protection Specialist, Family Service Worker, Foster Care Social Worker, School Social Worker, Social Worker, Youth Services Specialist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Counsel individuals, groups, families, or communities regarding issues including mental health, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, physical abuse, rehabilitation, social adjustment, child care, or medical care.
- Interview clients individually, in families, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems, to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
- Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics, courts, protective services, doctors, and other contacts, to help children who face problems such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
- Maintain case history records and prepare reports.
- Counsel parents with child rearing problems, interviewing the child and family to determine whether further action is required.
- Refer clients to community resources for services such as job placement, debt counseling, legal aid, housing, medical treatment, or financial assistance, and provide concrete information, such as where to go and how to apply.
- Consult with parents, teachers, and other school personnel to determine causes of problems such as truancy and misbehavior, and to implement solutions.
- Counsel students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, diagnosing students' problems and arranging for needed services.
- Address legal issues, such as child abuse and discipline, assisting with hearings and providing testimony to inform custody arrangements.
- Develop and review service plans in consultation with clients, and perform follow-ups assessing the quantity and quality of services provided.
- Provide, find, or arrange for support services, such as child care, homemaker service, prenatal care, substance abuse treatment, job training, counseling, or parenting classes, to prevent more serious problems from developing.
- Arrange for medical, psychiatric, and other tests that may disclose causes of difficulties and indicate remedial measures.
- Collect supplementary information needed to assist client, such as employment records, medical records, or school reports.
- Administer welfare programs.
- Recommend temporary foster care and advise foster or adoptive parents.
- Supervise other social workers.
- Lead group counseling sessions that provide support in such areas as grief, stress, or chemical dependency.
- Place children in foster or adoptive homes, institutions, or medical treatment centers.
- Evaluate personal characteristics and home conditions of foster home or adoption applicants.
- Determine clients' eligibility for financial assistance.
- Serve on policymaking committees, assist in community development, and assist client groups by lobbying for solutions to problems.
- Work in child and adolescent residential institutions.
- Conduct social research.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Desktop computers
- Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines
- Laser printers — Computer laser printers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Photocopiers — Photocopying equipment
- Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
Technology used in this occupation:
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access; Student information systems SIS
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Medical software — Patient electronic medical record EMR software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Detailed Work Activities
- Maintain client records.
- Write reports or evaluations.
- Counsel clients or patients with substance abuse issues.
- Counsel clients or patients regarding personal issues.
- Interview clients to gather information about their backgrounds, needs, or progress.
- Collect information about clients.
- Collaborate with other professionals to assess client needs or plan treatments.
- Refer clients to community or social service programs.
- Refer individuals to educational or work programs.
- Counsel clients regarding interpersonal issues.
- Counsel clients regarding educational or vocational issues.
- Advise clients or community groups on health issues.
- Evaluate characteristics of individuals to determine needs or eligibility.
- Advocate for individual or community needs.
- Confer with family members to discuss client treatment plans or progress.
- Confer with clients to discuss treatment plans or progress.
- Recommend legal actions.
- Evaluate potential problems in home or work environments of clients.
- Help clients get needed services or resources.
- Supervise workers providing client or patient services.
- Arrange physical or mental health services for clients.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of counseling or educational programs.
- Research social issues.
- Collaborate with other professionals to develop education or assistance programs.
- Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 95% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 87% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With External Customers — 66% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 62% responded “Very important results.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 47% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 39% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 37% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 50% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 36% responded “More than half the time.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Extremely important.”
- Physical Proximity — 42% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 35% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 27% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 26% responded “Very high responsibility.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|Not available||Bachelor's degree|
|Not available||Master's degree|
|Not available||Post-baccalaureate certificate|
Interest code: SE
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$20.25 hourly, $42,120 annual|
|Employment (2012)||286,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Faster than average (15% to 21%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||103,600|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Social Workers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.