School Social Worker: Job Description, Duties and Salary
School social workers address the psychological and social well-being of student populations ranging from elementary schools to universities. In addition to providing information and counseling for students, school social workers help students, parents and school staff work together to solve problems by communicating and providing referrals to other resources.
School Social Worker Job Description
Social workers are employed or contracted by school districts and educational institutions to help students cope with personal and psychological issues that affect their school performance, behavior and socialization. Through one-on-one, classroom or school-wide sessions, school social workers address issues relevant to the student population they serve, such as school attendance, illegal drug or alcohol dangers, teen pregnancy and adjustment to the social setting of the school. They may also assist teachers and administrators in dealing with behavioral or attitude issues by communicating with students to find the causes of their distress.
When appropriate or necessary, school social workers may provide information for outside support services or agencies to help students deal with economic, emotional or physical challenges. School social workers sometimes focus on particular groups of students, such as those with disabilities or at-risk groups.
Job Duties of a School Social Worker
Because they are tasked with helping students function effectively in a school environment, school social workers interact with students to assess the areas in which they may need counseling or assistance. Communicating with parents, teachers and administrators is essential to provide a full view of the issues facing an individual student, a group, or an entire district.
School social workers also maintain case files and reports to track student problems and progress, and to recognize patterns in behavior. Once issues or behavior problems have been identified, school social workers assist in remediation by providing counseling, treatment plans or workshops. At the university level, school social workers often have faculty positions and counseling responsibilities.
Salary Information for School Social Workers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers who assisted children, families and schools averaged $45,300 per year in May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The bureau also notes that most of these professionals earned between $26,720 and $71,000 per year. Those employed in Connecticut, New Jersey and Minnesota earned the highest among all states, with salaries of $61,930, $61,090 and $57,770, respectively.
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