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Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
SOC Code: 21-1023.00

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

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.
  • Plan or conduct programs to prevent substance abuse, combat social problems, or improve health or counseling services in community.
  • Supervise or direct other workers who provide services to clients or patients.

Technology Skills

  • Calendar and scheduling software - Scheduling software
  • Data base user interface and query software - Database software
  • Desktop publishing software - Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker; Microsoft Publisher
  • Document management software - Adobe Acrobat
  • Electronic mail software - Email software; Microsoft Outlook
  • Internet browser software - Microsoft Internet Explorer; Netscape Navigator; Web browser software
  • Medical software - Medical condition coding software ; Medical procedure coding software ; Patient electronic medical record EMR software; Social Work Software ClientTouch (see all 7 examples)
  • Office suite software - Corel WordPerfect; Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Information presentation software; Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Project management software - Microsoft SharePoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Desktop computers
  • Notebook computers
  • Personal computers

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.

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.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • 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.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

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).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speed of Closure - The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

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.

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail - 91% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 88% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 89% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 77% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 65% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure - 53% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 45% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 55% responded “Very important results.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations - 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 46% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 52% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 52% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 38% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 36% responded “Important.”
  • Letters and Memos - 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 33% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 52% responded “40 hours.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 24% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Deal With Physically Aggressive People - 46% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 28% responded “Fairly important.”
  • Physical Proximity - 43% responded “I work with others but not closely (e.g., private office).”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
57%Master's degree
15%Bachelor's degree
15%Post-master's certificate

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.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $20.79 hourly, $43,250 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 124,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 15,900

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