How to Become a

Medical Social Worker

The complete career guide to be a Medical Social Worker: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $54,020
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 19.3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

A Hospital Social Worker, also known as a healthcare social worker, is an individual that assists patients and families in understanding a patients diagnosis, condition and treatment.  They help patients and families develop coping strategies, assists with the development of treatment plans and provides emotional and mental assessments for doctors and nurses.

Recommended Schools

What is a Medical Social Worker?

The following responsibilities are common for Hospital Social Workers:

  • Provides patient support to help patients understand and cope with their diagnosis and condition.  They help by developing a treatment plan, providing counseling and arranging for home health care assistance.
  • Educates and counsels families of those patients afflicted with illness.  They also provide families with bereavement counseling and coping strategies.
  • Assists patient with health insurance companies, community health agencies, transportation services and financial assistance programs.
  • Determines the insurance benefits of the patient and assists patient with any necessary insurance claim forms.

A Day In The Life

Hospital social workers provide valuable social services to patients and families that are in the midst of a life-changing medical issue.

They are responsible for providing patients and their families with the necessary resources and information needed in order to fully recover from an injury or illness.  After completing a comprehensive assessment of the patient and their needs they then coordinate with the patient, the patients’ family and healthcare providers to determine the appropriate individualized discharge plan.  They will also ensure all the patients needs for follow-up care and appointments are met as well.  Things like arranging rides to follow-up appointments, trips to the pharmacy, meal deliveries and and necessary medical equipment that is needed.

Typical Work Schedule

This is a full-time, 40 hour work week position.  Although shift work may be part of the schedule due to the medical field work environment.

Projected Job Growth

Now is a great time to enter this high in-demand career.  The projected growth of this career path is expected to grow at a much faster rate than other professions.

Typical Employers

Hospitals, assisted living facilities, hospices, nursing homes, and other long-term healthcare facilities.


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How To Become a Medical Social Worker

A degree in social work or a related field like psychology or sociology is sufficient for an entry-level position in this field.  In addition to the required coursework that a student will have to complete, they also have to finish 900 hours of supervised training in a hospital facility setting.  It is essential that a hospital social worker obtain a license in their state.  Most states require at least 3,000 hours of clinical work experience and a passing grade on the licensing test.

A successful healthcare social worker should possess skills such as, strong interpersonal skills, excellent listening skills and great problem-solving skills.  These individuals should also be compassionate and possess empathy and sympathy for patients and family in highly stressful situations.

Medical Social Worker Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Medical Social Worker salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Medical Social Worker's can make an average annual salary of $54,020, or $26 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $40,690 or $20 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #343 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Medical Social Worker. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Medical Social Workers

  • 2.1%   Doctorate
  • 35.6%   Masters
  • 40.8%   Bachelors
  • 5.7%   Associates
  • 9.1%   College
  • 5.6%   High School
  • 1.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Medical Social Worker job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 30,900 jobs for a total of 191,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 19.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #57 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Medical Social Workers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 35,100 2,500 3%
Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities 17,700 3,300 3%
Home healthcare services 17,300 10,500 11%

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