What is a Typical Day for a Social Worker?

A person considering a degree in social work may want to know, “What is a typical day for a social worker?” Knowing about the usual daily activities and routine job duties of a social worker could help a person decide if this is the right career path for them. This knowledge could also help a person choose an industry of employment or a specialty within the field of social work.

Assess Client Needs

One of the primary duties of a social worker is to make individual assessments for clients or family groups. By identifying who is in need of help and what type of help the individual or family group needs, the social worker is able to help someone improve their living situation. The assessments may include the client’s material needs, such as utility services, shelter, clothing, school supplies, medical care and food. It may also include setting up a social or support network for the client.

Make Referrals to Community, Governmental and Private Resources

Social workers have a vast network of contacts for referring their clients. The social worker might refer a client to a place that offers guidance on how to apply for a job, get through a job interview, write a resume and choose references. As a part of that, they might refer the individual to a clothing closet where the person can get appropriate attire for the interview process. Social workers also make referrals for victims of domestic violence who need shelter and legal assistance. The social worker may link families who are food-insecure with local food pantries until their supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits are in place. The social worker also maintains case files of what they did for the client.

Respond to Crisis Situations

Many social workers respond to some type of a crisis every day. They might have to respond to the scene of a crime and help a child whose parent was the victim. They may have to accompany a child to a police interview or act as a witness in court. If an individual presents a threat to themselves or to others, the social worker may be the one to coordinate an inpatient hospital bed, transportation and follow-up services upon the person’s release from a mental health facility. After they respond to the crisis, they document what they did.

Provide Personal Counseling or Therapy

A social worker may also spend some of their day providing counseling or therapy to individuals, families or groups, explains the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They might do this in a private office setting by appointment. They may also do this through a health clinic, mental health facility, hospital, doctor’s office or a community setting. For example, a social worker might lead a support group for grieving parents or for parents of children with special needs.

Familiarity with the daily activities of a social worker allows a person to set some expectations for their future. The knowledge could also help a person determine if their particular strengths and preferences are well-suited to the routine job duties that social workers have. Understanding, “What is a typical day for a social worker?” facilitates the selection of classes, a major and the type of work environment for an individual who plans to earn a degree and license in order to be a social worker.

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