Skip navigation

Summary Report for:
21-1023.00 - Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education.

Sample of reported job titles: Case Manager, Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Therapist, Clinician, Counselor, Mental Health Therapist, Psychotherapist, Social Worker, Substance Abuse Counselor, Therapist

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Counsel clients in individual or group sessions to assist them in dealing with substance abuse, mental or physical illness, poverty, unemployment, or physical abuse.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and record client progress with respect to treatment goals.
  • Interview clients, review records, conduct assessments, or confer with other professionals to evaluate the mental or physical condition of clients or patients.
  • Collaborate with counselors, physicians, or nurses to plan or coordinate treatment, drawing on social work experience and patient needs.
  • Counsel or aid family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, or supporting the client or patient.
  • Refer patient, client, or family to community resources for housing or treatment to assist in recovery from mental or physical illness, following through to ensure service efficacy.
  • Modify treatment plans according to changes in client status.
  • Educate clients or community members about mental or physical illness, abuse, medication, or available community resources.
  • Assist clients in adhering to treatment plans, such as setting up appointments, arranging for transportation to appointments, or providing support.
  • Increase social work knowledge by reviewing current literature, conducting social research, or attending seminars, training workshops, or classes.

back to top

Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Desktop computers
Notebook computers
Personal computers

Technology used in this occupation:

Data base user interface and query software — Command Systems ComServe; Database software
Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker; Microsoft Publisher
Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer *; Netscape Navigator; Web browser software
Medical software — Client records software; James Frazier Associates DataStart; Patient electronic medical record EMR software; Social Work Software ClientTouch
Presentation software — Information presentation software; Microsoft PowerPoint
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Word processing software — Corel WordPerfect software; Microsoft Word

* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.

back to top

Knowledge

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.
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.
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.
Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

back to top

Skills

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.
Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
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.

back to top

Abilities

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.
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).
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
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).

back to top

Work Activities

Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
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.
Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

back to top

Work Context

Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — How do the decisions an employee makes impact the results of co-workers, clients or the company?
Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?

back to top

Job Zone

Title Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
Related Experience Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
Job Training Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.
SVP Range (8.0 and above)

back to top

Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
57   Master's degree
15   Bachelor's degree
15   Post-master's certificate Help

back to top

Interests

Interest code: SIA

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

back to top

Work Styles

Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
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.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

back to top

Work Values

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.

back to top

Related Occupations

19-3031.03 Counseling Psychologists
21-1011.00 Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Bright Outlook
21-1012.00 Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
21-1013.00 Marriage and Family Therapists Bright Outlook
21-1014.00 Mental Health Counselors Bright Outlook
21-1015.00 Rehabilitation Counselors
21-1021.00 Child, Family, and School Social Workers Bright Outlook
21-1022.00 Healthcare Social Workers   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook  
21-1092.00 Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
25-1066.00 Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary

back to top

Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages (2012) $19.22 hourly, $39,980 annual
Employment (2012) 114,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Much faster than average (22% or higher) Much faster than average (22% or higher)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 50,200
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "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.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

back to top

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 external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

back to top