A case worker, also known as a social worker, helps individuals to cope with their problems. The personal issues may include substance abuse problems, financial difficulties, relationship issues, health challenges, or other issues that interfere with functional living. Case workers may specialize in working with a specific group, such as with children, or with specific issues, such as substance abuse. They may be employed by government agencies, non-profit organizations, schools or health organizations. The minimum educational requirement for working as a case worker is typically a bachelor’s degree, although many positions require a master’s degree.
Case workers are employed by a variety of public and private agencies and organizations. Government agencies hire case workers to assist the public in solving debilitating personal issues that significantly impact their lives. A case worker in the political realm might be assigned to a legislator’s constituents and tasked with the responsibility of addressing their personal concerns using the help of social services agencies. Case workers are also employed by schools, non-profit organizations, mental health centers and health organizations.
The responsibilities of case workers involve assisting and advocating on behalf of individuals in need. A case worker might help protect a teenage girl who has been the victim of domestic abuse by working through the proper channels to find her a safe home. In the circumstance of a single mother with financial difficulties, a case worker might help by connecting her with financial aid and employment opportunities. A young man with a life threatening illness might need the assistance of a case worker to determine a plan of action for seeking medical care.
In all cases, employers want to hire case workers who possess the knowledge and ability to effectively assist and manage others. Case workers are generally driven more by the desire to help others than by the pursuit of monetary gain. Patience, compassion and excellent communication skills are important qualities for excelling in this position. Flexibility and willingness to travel are also necessary in positions that require making home visits and accompanying clients on important appointments.
The training and educational requirements for case workers vary from setting to setting. Some jobs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience. The bachelor’s degree must typically be in social work, although other subjects, such as psychology or sociology, may be acceptable in some settings. Most case worker positions require a graduate degree in social work. Licensing and certification requirements exist in most cases, and vary depending on locality.