California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Healthcare Social Workers in California

May also be called: Clinical Social Workers; Health Care Social Workers; Hospital Discharge Social Workers; Licensed Clinical Social Workers; Medical Social Workers; Oncology Social Workers; Public Health Social Workers; Service Coordinators; and Social Service Case Managers

What Would I Do?

Medical and Public Health Social Workers, or Health Care Social Workers, are a specialty in the social work field. They provide social and emotional support to individuals and families to help them cope with life-threatening diseases or disabilities. For instance, they may make sure a patient will be cared for after leaving the hospital. To do this, their tasks may range from finding a nursing home to arranging for meals to be delivered to a client's home. These Social Workers also help clients avoid institutional care by locating needed services.

Health Care Social Workers can be found in health care settings, social service agencies, and government. Examples of where they work are hospitals, dialysis clinics, community health centers, and long-term care facilities. They may also work for hospices and home-care providers. The typical workweek is 40 hours. However, some occasionally work evenings and weekends to meet with clients and attend community meetings or support groups.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Health care social work may appeal to those who enjoy helping or providing service to others. Health Care Social Workers should be compassionate, sensitive, and emotionally mature.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2016 for Healthcare Social Workers in California is $68,651 annually, or $33.00 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2016Low
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Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Benefits may vary depending on full- or part-time status. Typical benefits include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance. Other regular benefits are vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Frequently, employers offer tuition reimbursement. Some offer employee assistance programs.

What is the Job Outlook?

One of the major contributing factors in the demand of Health Care Social Workers is the rise in the elderly population. Health Care Social Workers will be needed to help find the best care and assistance for the aging and support their families.

How Do I Qualify?

Most employers seek to hire someone with a master's degree in social work issued by a school accredited by the Council of Social Work Education. However, some will accept a bachelor's degree. Some employers require a valid license as a Clinical Social Worker issued by the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Behavioral Sciences. A master's degree is required in order to obtain a license.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains an effective way to seek work. Job listings may be found through Internet listings, classified ads in newspapers, and job fairs. Students can find job opportunities through internships and placement offices at colleges. Professional associations provide networking opportunities. They provide job boards on their websites as well. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Healthcare Social Workers