According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for social workers is expected to grow by over 19% in the next decade. Job growth in clinical social work practice is expected to be especially strong for those who work with the aging population, in health care, with military populations, and in mental health and substance abuse. In certain areas of the country, practice with immigrants and refugees and school social work is continuing to grow rapidly. Medical social work is expected to see one of the largest increases in employment with expected growth of 26.8% between 2012 and 2022, fueled by health care reform and the "silver tsunami" of aging baby boomers.
A distinguishing characteristic of clinical social work is the sheer variety of practice areas in which clinical social workers are found. Licensed clinical social workers are trained to work with diverse populations and have the flexibility to move between client populations and practice areas throughout their careers.
Common settings for clinical social workers practice include:
Health care facilities (hospitals and clinics)
Mental health clinics
Child welfare agencies
Places of employment
Notes from Careers in Social Work, April 2014
Tim Eiesland, LICSW, Adjunct Faculty and Senior Program Manager, Catholic Charities
“Within the clinical realm, healthcare reform will continue to create a lot of opportunities, especially moving into integrated care models, working in interdisciplinary teams, and training of support specialists. Our war is ending, so we need more clinicians working with PTSD. The “silver tsunami” is coming… there will be a lot of issues for people as they age and continue to need support and clinical services. We’re also seeing a lot of attention around anti-poverty initiatives and increased crisis services. Minnesota has put a lot of money into school-based services, working with children and youth. Our mental health system is broken...of those who have serious, persistent mental illness, many are in jails. There is a lot of work to be done.”