Social workers are professionals who specialize in making other people’s lives better. Many of these workers specialize in serving different kinds of individuals, like those with disabilities and those who come from lower-income homes. Senior social workers often oversee junior social workers and provide advice and training to these workers.
Senior social workers travel from location to location assessing social work programs that their agency represents. These workers are primarily focused on helping those in need find resources that will help them. For instance, senior social workers can help children with adoption and homelessness. For the elderly, senior social workers may arrange services such as Meals on Wheels and home care. Some senior social workers conduct research and help politicians make policy.
A lot of the senior social worker’s time is spent in an office setting meeting with clients. However, these social workers sometimes have to travel locally. Like all social workers, senior social workers often work with clients who have gone through traumatic experiences, which can place an emotional toll on the senior social worker. Senior social workers are often called in whenever there is a case involving a difficult client with behavioral problems. Social service agencies are often understaffed, which can put a lot of strain on these professionals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The senior social worker usually needs a master’s degree in social work, as well as several years of relevant social work experience. Most states have licensing requirements for social workers, especially in the case of clinical social workers. Those working as social workers should be mature and have great interpersonal skills in order to be able to work well with both clients and junior social workers.
Between 2008 and 2018, the need for senior social workers is expected to grow by 16 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is driven mostly by the need for health and social services as a result of a growing elderly population. The need for social workers specialized in substance abuse rehabilitation programs is also expected to grow since drug possession sentences are placing more drug abusers into rehab instead of prison.
In 2009, the median annual earnings for senior social workers were $49,420. The highest 10 percent earned more than $75,240, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,770.
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