Social Worker, Psychiatric

Psychiatric social workers, also referred to as clinical social workers or mental social workers, help individuals with mental or emotional disorders deal with social problems such as substance abuse or child neglect.

Work Activities/Work Locations

Psychiatric social workers perform most of their work in hospitals, clinics and other health care centers. They help mentally or emotionally disturbed individuals adapt to outside environments and help them develop their social skills. They act as a resource to patients to help them settle into their lifestyle after being discharged from a treatment program or facility. Psychiatric social workers consult with psychiatrists and psychologists and other health care workers. Most social workers work 40-hours a week, but occasionally may work evenings and weekends. While social work can be difficult because of emotional strain, it is also challenging and rewarding.

Getting Started

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High School Courses

The recommended minimum requirement for most positions is a bachelors degree in social work, psychology, sociology or a related field. A master’s degree in social work (MSW) is usually required for social workers seeking positions in the health and mental health fields. Social workers must also adhere to certification, licensing and registration laws in the state of Wisconsin. 

Education and Training

Professional Organizations

American Council for School Social Work
acssw.org/

American School Counselor Association
1101 King Street, Suite 310
Alexandria, VA, 22314
703/683-ASCA
www.schoolcounselor.org/

Council on Social Work Education
1701 Duke St., Suite 200
Alexandria, VA, 22314-3457
703/683-8080
www.cswe.org

Midwest Council School Social Workers
midwestssw.org/?page_id=8

National Association of Social Workers
750 First St. NE, Suite 800
Washington, DC, 20002-4241
202/408-8600 or 800/742-4089
www.naswdc.org

National Association of Social Workers – Wisconsin Chapter
131 W. Wilson, Suite 903
Madison, WI, 53703
608/257-6334 or 866/462-7994
www.naswwi.org

Network for Social Work Management
905 E. 8th St.
Los Angeles, CA, 90021
213/553-1870
www.socialworkmanager.org

School Social Work Association of America
PO Box 3068
London, KY, 40743
800/588-4149
www.sswaa.org/

Wisconsin Nursing Home Social Workers Association
3300 W. Brewster Street
Appleton, WI, 54914
920/225-1985
wnhswa.org/

Wisconsin School Social Workers Association
www.wsswa.org/

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2012 (Wisconsin): 1,440
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 66,400
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 68,900
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 4%
Expected Annual Openings: 1,850
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $47,583

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.