Social workers are health professionals who use counselling to help people function in their environment, improve their relationships with others, and solve personal and family problems. They also help people locate and access appropriate resources for their particular needs.
A social worker may work in a hospital, community organization, or private counselling. Most social workers concentrate on a specific area of practice. For example, clinical social workers provide psychotherapy or counselling and a range of diagnostic services in public agencies, clinics, and private practice. Child or adult protective services social workers investigate reports of abuse and neglect and intervene if needed. And medical social workers provide counselling in hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities to people who are receiving therapy for physical problems or addictive behaviours.
Most social worker positions require a master's degree (MSW). But many social worker positions, such as a child protective services social worker, require a bachelor's degree (BSW) only. Licensing requirements vary from province to province.
Last Revised: October 11, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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