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Mental Health Social Workers

Mental Health Social Worker Training and Jobs


Schools and Degrees

Courses in psychology or sociology to learn about human development and emotions are helpful. A bachelor’s degree in social work is the most common way to qualify as a social worker, but advanced degrees have become standard for many positions. A master’s degree in social work is necessary for positions in health settings and for clinical work. College and university teaching positions and most research appointments normally require a doctorate in social work. The Council on Social Work Education accredited 458 bachelor’s programs and 181 master’s programs as of 2006. The Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education listed 74 doctoral programs in social work in the United States.

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Training and Education

Education or job training for employees typically involves a master's degree. At least 77% of mental health social workers had a degree of four or more years. About 16% of workers had some college below a bachelor's degree. An estimated 7% of employees had just a high-school diploma.


Job Overview

Mental health social worker assess and treat people with mental illness with the help of individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation and teaching skills. They also offer supportive services to clients so they can return to their community easily. They work in hospitals, mental health treatment centers, individual and family services agencies or local governments.


Job Requirements

A mental health social worker should have experience counseling people with various backgrounds and problems, while they are required to refer people to services and programs, keep records and complete large amounts of paperwork and work with other professionals. They need to have healthy lifestyles so they can handle the stress of caring for many other people who face very difficult problems. Licensing, certification is required by every U.S. State. This entails 2 years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.


Nature of Work

They often work in offices talking with clients, making phone calls and doing paperwork. They also visit clients at other locations and attend meetings. Though the work is very satisfying, it can be challenging as well, as understaffing and large workloads add to the pressure. Full-time mental health social workers generally work an average 40-hour week, but some occasionally work evenings and weekends to meet with clients, attend community meetings and handle emergencies. Some of them work part time, particularly in voluntary nonprofit agencies.


Area Job Conditions

The cities with the most mental health social workers per capita are San Angelo (Texas), Taunton (Massachusetts), and New Bedford (Massachusetts), while the worst cities are Lakeland (Florida), Palm Bay (Florida), and Ogden (Utah).

The highest salaries for workers are in and around Rochester (Minnesota), Edison (New Jersey), and Vallejo (California). The lowest-paying areas are Danville (Illinois), Columbia (Missouri), and Austin (Texas).


Part-Time and Self Employment

An estimated 9% of mental health social workers work part-time. An estimated 3% of workers were self-employed.


Career Videos


Mental Health Social Workers by Metropolitan Area (city and its surroundings)

In the table below, a Job Density near 0% means the area has an average number of people in this occupation, for its population. A higher or lower Job Density (e.g., +22% or -45%) tells you there are that many more or fewer workers of that type there than in the average US metro area. So, the higher the number, the more common the occupation.

Alabama

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Birmingham $35,000 220 -48%
Decatur $28,000 90 +122%
Dothan $38,000 40 -10%
Huntsville $30,000 120 -31%
Mobile $29,000 110 -24%
Montgomery $34,000 130 -3%
Tuscaloosa $38,000 60 -16%

Alaska

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Anchorage $45,000 410 +197%

Arizona

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Kingman $39,000 40 +13%
Phoenix $42,000 1,860 +22%
Tucson $34,000 750 +158%

Arkansas

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Fayetteville $37,000 130 -23%
Fort Smith $41,000 60 -40%
Little Rock $48,000 210 -29%

California

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Bakersfield $54,000 90 -59%
Fresno $45,000 250 -8%
Los Angeles $47,000 4,060 +16%
Merced $31,000 60 +39%
Modesto $55,000 240 +88%
Oakland $55,000 790 -8%
Oxnard $55,000 300 +19%
Redding 90 +96%
Riverside $45,000 710 -32%
Sacramento $43,000 580 -22%
Salinas $44,000 80 -39%
San Diego $43,000 700 -38%
San Francisco $48,000 640 -25%
San Jose $47,000 260 -66%
Santa Ana $44,000 540 -57%
Santa Barbara $53,000 60 -57%
Santa Cruz 220 +220%
Santa Rosa $46,000 70 -51%
Stockton $51,000 80 -54%

Colorado

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Boulder $39,000 80 -36%
Colorado Springs $47,000 110 -48%
Denver $35,000 1,410 +31%
Fort Collins $35,000 130 +27%
Grand Junction $32,000 40 -8%
Pueblo $40,000 230 +431%

Connecticut

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Bridgeport $55,000 460 +26%
Danbury $62,000 50 -5%
Hartford $53,000 1,200 +143%
New Haven $45,000 600 +161%
Norwich $57,000 170 +71%
Waterbury $54,000 120 +129%

Delaware

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Wilmington $40,000 410 +49%

District of Columbia

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Washington $57,000 1,580 -25%

Florida

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Deltona $33,000 220 +74%
Fort Lauderdale $40,000 550 -8%
Gainesville $35,000 110 +12%
Jacksonville $35,000 350 -32%
Lakeland $39,000 110 -30%
Miami $36,000 580 -31%
Naples $42,000 40 -56%
Ocala $39,000 60 -14%
Orlando $36,000 590 -33%
Palm Bay $33,000 150 -9%
Pensacola $30,000 100 -18%
Port St Lucie $41,000 80 -17%
Sarasota $37,000 50 -76%
Tallahassee $35,000 280 +111%
Tampa $33,000 470 -52%
West Palm Beach $34,000 630 +42%

Georgia

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Albany $27,000 40 -16%
Atlanta $47,000 600 -70%
Macon 50 -30%
Savannah $28,000 40 -67%

Hawaii

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Honolulu $47,000 410 +9%

Idaho

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Boise $39,000 570 +159%
Idaho Falls $37,000 70 +100%
Lewiston $39,000 40 +149%
Pocatello $32,000 190 +783%

Illinois

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Champaign $29,000 250 +205%
Chicago $42,000 2,870 -12%
Danville $27,000 100 +419%
Kankakee $38,000 60 +98%
Peoria $30,000 100 -29%
Rockford $36,000 60 -48%
Springfield $31,000 70 -19%

Indiana

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Bloomington $34,000 40 -26%
Elkhart $37,000 50 -42%
Evansville $32,000 230 +62%
Fort Wayne $34,000 120 -29%
Gary $37,000 240 +6%
Indianapolis $41,000 390 -49%
Michigan City $36,000 60 +98%
Muncie $38,000 80 +136%
South Bend $36,000 90 -14%

Iowa

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Cedar Rapids $40,000 40 -65%
Davenport $31,000 120 -23%
Des Moines $36,000 490 +75%
Dubuque $38,000 60 +48%
Iowa City $37,000 30 -45%
Sioux City $31,000 220 +288%
Waterloo $39,000 140 +107%

Kansas

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Wichita $42,000 190 -22%

Kentucky

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Lexington $33,000 270 +34%
Louisville $41,000 460 -12%

Louisiana

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Baton Rouge $44,000 200 -37%
Houma $33,000 120 +59%
Lafayette $43,000 110 -6%
Lake Charles $39,000 60 -14%
New Orleans $39,000 350 -23%
Shreveport $45,000 180 +21%

Maine

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Bangor $43,000 350 +644%
Lewiston $39,000 230 +505%
Portland $45,000 380 +127%

Maryland

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Baltimore $51,000 1,080 -5%
Bethesda $45,000 440 -11%
Hagerstown $46,000 140 +81%

Massachusetts

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Barnstable Town $55,000 90 +13%
Boston $51,000 1,700 +13%
Brockton $36,000 200 +180%
Framingham $46,000 50 -63%
Haverhill $37,000 40 -38%
Lawrence $43,000 130 +184%
Leominster $35,000 80 +115%
Lowell $37,000 240 +146%
New Bedford $33,000 480 +860%
Peabody $40,000 320 +292%
Pittsfield $35,000 60 +158%
Springfield $43,000 460 +82%
Worcester $37,000 430 +103%

Michigan

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Ann Arbor $44,000 340 +146%
Detroit $39,000 1,190 +107%
Flint $41,000 140 +32%
Grand Rapids $42,000 550 +71%
Kalamazoo $38,000 210 +89%
Lansing $47,000 100 -40%
Saginaw 120 +86%
Warren $42,000 1,020 +10%

Minnesota

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Duluth $53,000 120 +13%
Minneapolis $46,000 1,410 -8%
St Cloud $49,000 50 -35%

Mississippi

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Gulfport $38,000 50 -42%
Jackson $33,000 310 +45%

Missouri

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Columbia $24,000 120 +90%
Jefferson City $39,000 130 +125%
Joplin $34,000 70 +13%
Kansas City $32,000 1,180 +35%
Springfield $29,000 270 +70%
St Joseph $36,000 100 +160%
St Louis $36,000 1,060 -8%

Montana

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Great Falls $42,000 50 +87%
Missoula $32,000 80 +102%

Nebraska

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Lincoln $40,000 260 +97%
Omaha $39,000 220 -45%

Nevada

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Las Vegas $45,000 290 -60%
Reno $53,000 80 -50%

New Hampshire

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Manchester $44,000 50 -40%

New Jersey

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Camden $57,000 250 -44%
Edison $50,000 310 -65%
Newark $58,000 240 -72%
Trenton $60,000 190 0%
Vineland $55,000 50 +9%

New Mexico

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Albuquerque $41,000 900 +174%
Farmington $33,000 30 -20%
Santa Fe $46,000 50 +5%

New York

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Albany $52,000 570 +48%
Binghamton $43,000 100 +10%
Buffalo $40,000 480 +1%
Elmira $46,000 150 +437%
Glens Falls $39,000 40 +1%
Ithaca $50,000 40 +32%
Kingston $49,000 50 +8%
Nassau $50,000 1,030 -6%
New York $51,000 7,000 +55%
Poughkeepsie $47,000 170 -18%
Rochester $38,000 500 +15%
Syracuse $48,000 280 +5%
Utica $58,000 220 +117%

North Carolina

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Asheville $38,000 90 -39%
Burlington $44,000 40 -8%
Charlotte $42,000 870 +18%
Durham $43,000 320 +37%
Fayetteville $44,000 210 +104%
Goldsboro $53,000 130 +336%
Greensboro $43,000 300 -1%
Greenville $39,000 130 +148%
Hickory $41,000 210 +74%
Jacksonville $43,000 100 +217%
Raleigh $43,000 360 -19%
Wilmington $37,000 210 +88%
Winston Salem $46,000 230 +30%

North Dakota

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Bismarck $37,000 60 +19%
Fargo $38,000 110 +11%
Grand Forks $42,000 70 +93%

Ohio

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Akron $37,000 400 +47%
Canton $38,000 130 -6%
Cincinnati $36,000 1,170 +34%
Cleveland $39,000 830 -6%
Columbus $47,000 1,100 +39%
Dayton $37,000 430 +32%
Sandusky $37,000 60 +138%
Springfield $45,000 70 +95%
Toledo $38,000 480 +93%
Youngstown $35,000 400 +110%

Oklahoma

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Oklahoma City $36,000 440 -11%
Tulsa $34,000 250 -32%

Oregon

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Bend $44,000 100 +106%
Corvallis $39,000 30 +58%
Eugene $30,000 240 +108%
Medford $37,000 100 +64%
Portland $39,000 1,010 +14%
Salem $44,000 260 +112%

Pennsylvania

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Allentown $41,000 460 +56%
Altoona $35,000 100 +114%
Erie $38,000 230 +120%
Johnstown $42,000 70 +63%
Lancaster $40,000 450 +128%
Lebanon $65,000 50 +47%
Philadelphia $42,000 3,340 +102%
Pittsburgh $43,000 2,040 +106%
Reading $42,000 290 +110%
Scranton $30,000 430 +95%
State College $43,000 70 +45%
Williamsport $37,000 50 +28%
York $31,000 50 -66%

Rhode Island

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Providence $51,000 1,340 +180%

South Carolina

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Charleston $34,000 140 -42%
Columbia $32,000 200 -33%
Greenville $34,000 100 -61%
Spartanburg $34,000 80 -14%

South Dakota

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Rapid City $30,000 50 +2%
Sioux Falls $35,000 110 -4%

Tennessee

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Chattanooga $31,000 140 -27%
Clarksville $38,000 90 +46%
Jackson $34,000 100 +122%
Johnson City $29,000 70 +25%
Kingsport $34,000 110 +12%
Knoxville $35,000 270 -5%
Memphis $36,000 300 -43%
Nashville $38,000 860 +35%

Texas

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Amarillo $37,000 170 +98%
Austin $34,000 400 -41%
Beaumont $33,000 110 -17%
Corpus Christi $34,000 120 -19%
Dallas $34,000 370 -80%
El Paso $36,000 80 -65%
Fort Worth $38,000 280 -62%
Houston $37,000 750 -67%
Longview $34,000 30 -61%
Lubbock $34,000 30 -71%
Mcallen $32,000 50 -74%
San Antonio $37,000 220 -71%

Utah

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Ogden $41,000 50 -70%
Provo $50,000 80 -43%
Salt Lake City $38,000 680 +30%

Vermont

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Burlington $41,000 290 +221%

Virginia

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Charlottesville $34,000 70 +2%
Danville $40,000 60 +140%
Lynchburg $38,000 340 +329%
Richmond $46,000 920 +74%
Roanoke $42,000 300 +134%
Virginia Beach $44,000 160 -76%

Washington

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Bellingham $40,000 80 +39%
Longview $38,000 30 +26%
Olympia $55,000 90 +14%
Seattle $46,000 650 -46%
Spokane $44,000 100 -42%
Tacoma $49,000 260 +16%
Yakima $41,000 80 +21%

West Virginia

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Charleston $43,000 350 +193%
Huntington $30,000 210 +128%
Morgantown $24,000 140 +247%
Parkersburg $32,000 100 +89%
Wheeling $27,000 140 +179%

Wisconsin

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Appleton $43,000 50 -46%
Eau Claire $40,000 80 +38%
Green Bay $44,000 80 -43%
Janesville $46,000 50 +3%
Madison $45,000 420 +46%
Milwaukee $46,000 820 +14%
Oshkosh $47,000 150 +115%
Racine $48,000 70 +20%
Sheboygan $46,000 30 -30%

Wyoming

City and Area Median Salary Employees Job Density
Casper $42,000 90 +240%
*FOOTNOTES: Job Facts salary and numbers data is based on US Department of Labor Statistics data for 2011. Other data on page may be from earlier years. Typical salary is given as median salary, where 50% in the job make more and 50% less. Salary range is Job Hunt's estimates of typical starting salary as being at the 10th percentile of reported pay and typical top end salary, for the most senior workers, as being at the 90th. Job openings is an estimate of new jobs every year due to growth plus those leaving the field. Where NA is given data is not available. Suggested studies is based on Job Hunt research, suggesting a minimum degree level that is judged to offer the best opportunities for entry-level employment. This Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers schools and career page was originally researched by CityTownInfo.com.