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Social Worker Work Conditions

Social workers held 650,500 jobs in 2010. They work in the following settings:

Although most social workers work in an office, they may spend a lot of time away from the office visiting clients. School social workers may be assigned to multiple schools and travel around the school district to see students. Understaffing and large case loads may make the work stressful.

In 2010, the industries employing the most child, family and school social workers were as follows:

Individual and family services 21%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 21%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 19%
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 12%
Health care 9%

In 2010, the industries employing the most healthcare social workers were as follows: 

Hospitals; state, local, and private 31%
Nursing and residential care facilities 13%
Individual and family services 11%
Home health care services 10%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 6%

In 2010, the industries employing the most mental health substance abuse social workers were as follows: 

Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers 17%
Individual and family services 16%
Hospitals; state, local, and private 14%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 10%
Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals; state, local, and private 8%

Social workers generally work full time. They may sometimes work evenings and weekends to see clients or attend meetings.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

Social Worker Duties
Social Worker Work Conditions
Social Worker Employment
Social Worker Training
Social Worker Job Outlook
Social Worker Earnings


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