If you have great interpersonal skills and enjoy helping others solve problems, a career as a caseworker may be a good fit for you. In health care and human services, caseworkers provide assistance to at-risk individuals and families under the supervision of a licensed social worker. When deciding whether or not this position is ideal for you, review the job description to get a clear understanding of the specific job duties, requirements and work environment.
As a caseworker you’ll have the option of working for a variety of private, nonprofit and government health care facilities such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers or nursing homes. Additionally, you’ll be able to choose an area of specialization such as working with children, former prison inmates, the elderly, individuals with disabilities or the homeless.
The main responsibility of a caseworker is to determine her clients’ needs and provide the most appropriate solution. After an initial meeting with a client, a caseworker may assist with daily activities, such as bathing, grooming and eating; help with applications for community assistance programs; or collaborate with licensed psychologists or social workers to develop a case-specific action plan.
Although specific qualifications vary by employer, a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent is generally required for entry-level caseworker positions, however job duties will likely be limited to administrative tasks. Many companies require candidates to have prior relevant work experience or education before working directly with clients. You can make yourself more competitive in the job market by obtaining a professional certificate or college degree in human services, behavioral science or a related major.
Because this position regularly interacts with people with diverse backgrounds, the ability to communicate well is a must. You must also be able to take accurate notes and analyze the information gathered from client meetings to establish a treatment plan and track progress. While this isn’t true of all caseworker positions, the schedule for some includes nights and weekends or the need to travel to meet with clients. Be sure to discuss the work hours and travel requirements with your potential employer to rule out any potential scheduling conflicts.
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