Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Salary
Job Description for Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) is a mental health care professional who provides not only psychological counseling and therapy, but also assists in many of the practical aspects related to various mental conditions. For instance, an LCSW may help place patients in jobs, help individuals find living arrangements, and work to ensure that basic needs are being met. In so doing, the LCSW can remove obstacles that may inhibit the quality of life of someone with chronic mental health issues.Read More...
Hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers and similar institutions are common employers of licensed clinical social workers, although some LCSWs have dedicated private practices as well. In a larger setting, the LCSW may use a variety of therapeutic approaches that could include both private and group sessions. In doing so, the LCSW is not only assessing the patient's condition and improvement, but also evaluating how to best help the individual. The social worker tries to help the patient fully understand his or her condition, the triggers that may be detrimental to behavior and how to react more positively to these triggers.
An LCSW also works within the community to try to accommodate the needs of persons in his or her care. Hospitals and clinics may help subsidize housing costs and work with different housing providers to find shelter for patients undergoing care. An LCSW also typically develops a network of potential employers and business contacts who may be able to help place persons in care into job settings.
As the name implies, a licensed clinical social worker must be properly certified to practice; this certification is gained by earning both undergraduate and graduate degrees related to clinical sociology and counseling. An LCSW typically works in an office that may be part of a larger clinical institution. They normally work during regular office hours, but may work off-hours to respond to emergencies.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Tasks
- Assess and treat patients and their families in understanding and coping with emotional and social problems.
- Provide advocacy and resource services for the patient.
- Maintain caseload, documentation and reevaluate patients at appropriate intervals.
- Gather relevant information pertaining to case issues.
- Facilitate education, support groups and referrals.
Common Career Paths for Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
At the upper end, Licensed Clinical Social Workers who move into a Clinical Director role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Clinical Directors is a much higher $72K per year. Licensed Clinical Social Workers most frequently advance into Clinical Social Worker and Social Work Supervisor roles even though the median salaries are $5K lower and $8K lower, respectively.
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Popular Employer Salaries for Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Leading companies who hire large numbers of Licensed Clinical Social Workers include DaVita Inc., Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc., Kaiser Permanente, The Veterans Administration (United States), and Department of Veteran's Affairs. Licensed Clinical Social Workers seeking a sizable paycheck can earn the most at Kaiser Permanente, where the median salary comes to $88K, though the large pay difference between employees at the top ($63K) and those starting out ($128K) creates a rather diverse pay scale. Also paying near the top of the field are Dignity Health at $76K, University of Chicago at $66K, and DaVita Inc., where Licensed Clinical Social Workers annually earn $66K.
Self-Employed, University of Utah, and Fresenius Medical Care North America also scrape the bottom of the pay scale, with median earnings hovering around $50K, $50K, and $58K.
Popular Skills for Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Licensed Clinical Social Workers report using a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Training, Spanish Language, Geriatrics, and Psychiatric are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 8 percent and 10 percent. Those familiar with Case Management also tend to know Clinical Supervision and Psychiatric.
Pay by Experience Level for Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Licensed Clinical Social Workers, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. The average beginner in this position makes around $50K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $56K. On average, Licensed Clinical Social Workers make $60K following one to two decades on the job. People who have worked for more than 20 years report a median income of $63K, which is barely higher than the median for folks with 10 to 20 years of experience.
Pay Difference by Location
Licensed Clinical Social Workers in search of above-average pay will head to California: In particular, Licensed Clinical Social Workers in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego are the best-paid American cities for Licensed Clinical Social Workers, who enjoy higher pay rates than the national average. Trailing the national average by 6 percent, Philadelphia is the market with the smallest paychecks. Employers also pay below the national average in Indianapolis and Salt Lake City (5 percent lower).