School social workers focus on the social well-being and psychology of the student populations ranging from elementary schools to universities. These professionals counsel students and provide them with information; they communicate and provide referrals to other resources as they work with school staff and parents in solving student’s problems. In this article, we will look at possible career paths for school social workers and discuss what these professionals must do in order to pursue their career.
Job Profile of a School Social Worker
Students usually have to cope with psychological and personal issues that have an impact on their socialization, behavior and performance at school. Education institutions and school districts contract or employ social workers to help students in these matters. These related issues are addressed by school social workers through school-wide or one-on-one sessions — such issues can include teen pregnancy, dangers arising from illegal drug or alcohol intake, and school attendance. Some students have trouble adjusting to their schools’ social environment. Administrators and teachers also seek assistance from school social workers when those school officials deal with attitude or behavior issues. School social workers seek to find the cause of the problems by communicating with students. When students experience physical, emotional or economic challenges, school social workers try to help them by providing information to external agencies and support services wherever they deem necessary or appropriate. Particular groups of students such as those considered at-risk or those with disabilities sometimes become the focus of school social workers.
Job Responsibilities of a School Social Worker
In attempting to help students function effectively at school, school social workers depend on interaction with students to help identify areas in which the students need to be counseled or assisted. They communicate with administrators, teachers and parents in order to be provided with a comprehensive view of any issue that a student, a group of students or an entire community may be facing. Students’ development and problems are tracked by school social workers via reports and files maintained by these professionals, these documents also help in recognizing behavior patterns. Once they have successfully identified behavior problems or issues, school social workers provide counseling, devise plans for treatment, and organize workshops aimed at remediation. School social workers working at the college level are commonly employed as a faculty and assigned counseling duties.
Wage Potential for School Social Workers
In 2010, school social workers who worked to assist schools, students and students’ families earned average annual salary of $43,850 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), (www.bls.gov). Their annual median income ranged from $26,170 to $68,030. State-wise data compiled by the BLS revealed that those working in Connecticut were the highest paid, taking home an average annual salary of $61,310, while school social workers in New Jersey and Minnesota earned respective annual median incomes amounting to $56,420 and $55,310.