Medical Social Worker Career Info

A career as a medical social worker is a good choice for someone who wants to help people who are ill or grieving, but not necessarily from the medical end. Medical social workers assist patients psychologically and socially, providing them with compassionate counseling and access to resources that alleviate some of their pain or inconvenience in everyday life. Medical social workers may also have administrative responsibilities in addition to their general practice, but the skills that are most valued in this profession are communication, maturity and emotional sensitivity. Experience is also valuable in a medical social worker career.

Medical Social Worker Jobs

Medical social workers may find employment in a variety of settings. Examples of places medical social workers find jobs include hospitals, non-profit organizations and counseling centers. Medical social workers may also find employment in nursing homes and government positions.


Medical social workers help people who are dealing with illness or grief to cope with their medical problems using social work techniques. Medical social workers may provide psychological counseling to medical patients and help them access resources that will assist in their overall quality of life. A medical social worker may counsel someone with chronic pain, for instance, on how to cope with the situation and provide access to programs that will assist them financially if work has become impossible. Medical social workers may also counsel families of people with illnesses.

Education and Licensing

Medical social workers usually hold at least a bachelor's degree. In some cases, a master's degree may be required. Medical social workers can choose to concentrate their educational coursework on medical or public health social work during their time in school. Social workers need to obtain appropriate licensing and/or certification requirements according to the policies in their individual States. Some States require a certain amount of experience, usually two years, before licensing in some areas. Medical social workers may taken courses in areas other than social work like biology, chemistry, psychology and sociology. This can lead to alternate career paths later in life.

Social Worker Salary

Medical social worker salary averages are normally around $40,000-50,000 per year. Medical social workers earn about the same range of salaries as other kinds of social workers.


Advancement can be obtained in medical social work by pursuing graduate study leading to the master's degree or Ph.D. Medical social workers who pursue doctoral study may teach social work in a university setting. Otherwise, the best way to find advancement opportunities is to gain experience and pursue licensing. Since medical social workers may choose from a variety of courses during their undergraduate courses o study, different academic fields are open to them than social work, in some cases. Social workers also have experience working with disadvantaged populations experiencing problems with social roots. Thus, a social worker looking for a career change may find a fulfilling career in public administration, public policy, health administration and related fields. Medical social workers may also enjoy successful political careers due to their experience with social issues and administration.