What is a Medical Social Worker
Medical social worker (also known as Healthcare Social Worker, Licensed Medical Social Worker, Clinical Medical Social Worker, Non-Clinical Medical Social Worker, Hospice Home Care Social Worker, Certified Social Workers In Health Care (C-SWHC), Hospital Social Worker or MSW) are healthcare providers responsible for taking care of patients and their families in need of psychosocial support. Their services may include patient counseling and education, financial advises, hospital discharge planning, and referral to other health services. For more information on job duties and description, please visit our medical social worker job description page.
Medical social workers are often employed in hospitals and other such public or private health care institutes. They offer counseling to individuals, as well as facilitating support groups and coordinating health care decisions and services.
There is often a great deal of travel involved; aside from regular hospital work, medical social workers travel to the homes of patients after they have been discharged, in order to provide ongoing care.
Medical social workers can typically be scheduled for work at any time of day, any day of the week. In instances where this isn’t the case, they will have an on-call arrangement so that they can be reached in any emergency. Given that crisis intervention is one of the main duties of the medical social worker, few days go precisely as planned.
Mean Annual Medical Social Worker Salary
The mean annual medical social worker salary is $51,460. The mean salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and divid that value by the total number of employees. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $31,410 and the top 10% makes over $74,030.
Medical Social Worker Salary: Quick Summary
|2012 Mean Salary||$51,460 per year
$24.74 per hour
|Top 10% Salary||$74,030 per year
$35.59 per hour
|Bottom 10% Salary||$31,410 per year
$15.10 per hour
|Number of Jobs, 2012||140,000|
Medical Social Worker Job Outlook and Prospect
The job outlook for medical social workers is promising, particularly for those who seek particular specializations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the employment growth in this field to be 27 percent by 2022. One of the factors that will contribute to this increase is the increase in population of baby-boomers. Medical social workers with experience in gerontology will have better job opportunities than others.
Medical Social Worker Salary: Factors of Influence
Industry-specific aspects and geographic location are the main factors affecting medical social worker salary. With states offering a wide variety of salary potentials, and the great swath of possible job prospects, these two factors are the primary points for investigation, with education and experience closely following.
The national average for medical social worker salary is $51,460. However, based on the geographic area, this can vary by as much as $25,000; Puerto Rico, for instance, has an average wage of $26,880.
Though there is some potentiality for advancement in position, this is tied strongly to experience, and provides less salary increases than other factors.
Education and Specialization
While some facilities will hire those with a Bachelor of Social Work, most require a Master’s of Social Work, and pay will be commensurate with this difference in education. Many require that the candidate also be working toward licensure, though license rules vary by state.
A minimum amount of supervised hours is required, though, and some credentials are often required for initial hiring (credentials can be obtained through the National Association of Social Workers).
There are specific areas of specialization that can lead to advancements in salary; these are tied to the industry side of the career, though, as most specializations are related to an industry niche.
Experience and Position
As in most careers, greater experience brings with it a salary increase, and medical social work is no different. However, it is not the main factor affecting medical social worker salary, and cannot be relied heavily upon.
There are some minor opportunities for advancement. Medical social workers can move in to managerial positions, where they will supervise less experienced medical social workers. A larger facility will offer more opportunities for advancement, as there will be a greater number of positions to oversee, and a greater number of managerial positions associated with that.
With the growing demand for medical social workers, industry-specific concerns will have a large impact on medical social worker salary. Those working in individual and family services can expect an average salary of $42,110, whereas those working in specialty hospitals (not including psychiatric or substance abuse) can look to an average of $61,750.
With a nearly $20,000 difference in average salaries, the industry side is only outstripped by geographic location.
Location may be the most important factor affecting medical social worker salary. As mentioned, Puerto Rico shows an average salary of just under $27,000; by comparison, the District of Columbia offers the highest average wage, at $66,130.
Of even greater importance is the metropolitan area worked in; Sherman-Denison, Texas; Napa, California; and Vallejo-Fairfield, California all beat out District of Columbia’s average salary by approximately $10,000.
Medical Social Worker Salary: Top 5
|Top Paying Metropolitan Areas||Top Paying States||Top Paying Industries||States with Highest Employment Level|
|Sherman-Denison, TX: $76,570||District of Columbia: $66,130||Specialty Hospitals: $61,750||California: (12,880 jobs) $63,480|
|Napa, CA: $76,210||Nevada: $64,640||Employment Services: $60,160||Massachusetts: (10,920 jobs) $55,140|
|Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $76,060||California: $63,480||General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $56,960||New York: (10,750 jobs) $55,890|
|Hanford-Corcoran, CA: $74,330||Connecticut: $60,830||Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools: $56,500||Texas: (8,120 jobs) $54,340|
|Danbury, CT: $71,240||Rhode Island: $59,910||Scientific Research and Development Services: $56,050||Pennsylvania: (7,960 jobs) $46,680|