Mental Health & 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.

Job Outlook through 2024

Employment Current: 10,660
Employment Projected: 12,380
Percentage Change: 16.1%

Education/Training

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).

Sample Job Titles

  • Case Manager
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Clinical Therapist
  • Clinician
  • Counselor
  • Mental Health Therapist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Social Worker
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Therapist

Duties

  • 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.

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.

Average Wages in PA

Entry Level: $25,820
Average: $37,600
Experienced: $43,490