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Career and Education Opportunities for Mental Health Social Workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mental health social workers can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. There are currently 10,000 jobs for mental health social workers in Pennsylvania and this is projected to grow by 25% to 12,550 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for mental health social workers, which sees this job pool growing by about 19.5% over the next eight years. In general, mental health social workers assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs.

Mental health social workers earn approximately $17 per hour or $35,650 annually on average in Pennsylvania. Nationally they average about $17 hourly or $37,210 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Social Work and Community Services, people working as mental health social workers in Pennsylvania earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Social Work and Community Services nationally. Jobs in this field include: drug abuse worker, addictions counselor, and mental health specialist.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can study to be a mental health social worker, among eighty-three schools of higher education total in the Pittsburgh area. The most common level of education for mental health social workers is a Master's degree. It will take about six years to learn to be a mental health social worker if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Mental Health Social Worker

Mental Health Social Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, mental health social workers assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. They also activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and education.

Mental health social workers talk with other professionals to review the mental or physical state of clients or patients. They also assist clients in adhering to treatment plans, such as setting up appointments, arranging for transportation to appointments, and providing support. Equally important, mental health social workers have to educate clients and community members about mental and physical illness, abuse and available community resources. They are often called upon to collaborate with counselors and nurses to develop and direct treatment, drawing on social work experience and patient needs. They are expected to monitor and record client progress with respect to treatment goals. Finally, mental health social workers refer patients or family to community resources for housing or treatment to help in recovery from mental or physical illness.

Every day, mental health social workers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for mental health social workers to formulate and conduct programs to stop substance abuse, to fight social problems, or to further optimize health and counseling services in community. They are often called upon to supervise and direct other staff who furnish services to clients or patients. They also increase social work knowledge by reviewing current literature, conducting social research, and attending seminars, training workshops, or classes. Somewhat less frequently, mental health social workers are also expected to design or advise on social policy and help in community development.

They also have to be able to design or advise on social policy and help in community development And finally, they sometimes have to counsel clients in individual and group sessions to help them in dealing with substance abuse, mental and physical illness, poverty or physical abuse.

Like many other jobs, mental health social workers must have a strong concern for others and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Pittsburgh include:

  • Child and Family Services Worker. Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist single parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers on how to deal with problem children.
  • Medical Social Worker. Provide persons, families, or vulnerable populations with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses, such as Alzheimer's, cancer, or AIDS. Services include advising family care givers, providing patient education and counseling, and making necessary referrals for other social services.
  • Probation Officer. Provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.
  • Social Services Assistant. Assist professionals from a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, to provide client services, as well as support for families. May assist clients in identifying available benefits and social and community services and help clients obtain them. May assist social workers with developing, organizing, and conducting programs to prevent and resolve problems relevant to substance abuse, human relationships, or adult daycare.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Mental Health Social Worker Training

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - Pittsburgh, PA

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,562 students and an admission rate of 56%. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Clinical/Medical Social Work which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Case Manager Certification: The CCM is the first nationally accredited case manager credential.

For more information, see the Commission for Case Manager Certification website.

Clinical Social Worker in Gerontology: Social workers who hold the CSW-G have: NASW membership in good standing; An MSW degree from an institution accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); Documented no less than two (2) years (equivalent of 3,000 hours) of experience working with older adults under social work supervision; Completed twenty (20) contact hours of continuing education relevant to work with older adults; Provided approved documentation of social work supervision; Provided a reference from a social work colleague; .

For more information, see the National Association of Social Workers website.

Certified Social Worker in Health Care: Health care is a dynamic field, influenced by changes in.

For more information, see the National Association of Social Workers website.

LICENSES

Licensed Social Worker

Licensing agency: Department of State
Address: Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Social Work Examiners Board, 116 Pine Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: (717) 783-1389
Website: Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs Social Work Examiners Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.