What Are the Different Types of Social Workers That Help People in Your Community?


Social Workers Near Me | 13 Different Social Workers You May See & What They Do

The social worker career path can vary widely. So, for those with a sense of social justice or that feel a calling to help others, there are many different avenues they can take.

Children social workers will work with kids and families in situations of developmental difficulties or abuse situations. A community social worker may be called in after a natural disaster to assist a town that’s in need. And a nursing home social worker will focus on assisting the elderly.

There is an example of social worker interaction in communities all around you. If looking for “social workers near me,” you’ll find these caring professionals who are trained to help in a crisis inside schools, hospitals, government agencies, nursing homes, and large corporations (among many others).


Table of Contents

different types of social workers

Different Types of Social Workers Near Me

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of different types of social workers, that should be informative both to those searching for a licensed social worker and those interested in a social worker career path.

We’ll give an example of social workers serving others in a variety of ways and provide an outline of exactly what each of these different social workers does.

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Definition of Social Work

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) defines the main mission of social work as, “to enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.”

Most people working as a registered social worker get into the profession because they have a desire to help others. Many of those on the social worker career path will also have a sense of social justice and wish to help the underprivileged.

As the National Association of Social Workers points out, those that choose a career as a social service worker are there to enhance human well-being for “all people.” And you’ll see an example of social workers doing that in many areas of daily life, from the mental health social worker to the traveling social worker assisting communities in third world countries.

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What Is an Example of Social Worker General Responsibilities?

The day-to-day responsibilities of a social worker will vary according to their specialty. For example, mental health social workers will often be working with individuals to help their recovery from mental disorders.

An elder care social worker might help families find in-home care for elderly parents that need assistance with daily tasks.

But whether a person is looking for travel social work jobs, where they visit clients in their homes, or aiming to be one of the children social workers that work in elementary schools, there are certain universal responsibilities all social service workers share.

These general registered social worker responsibilities include:

  • Identify those that need help
  • Assess the needs of individuals, families, or groups
  • Prioritize needs by urgency
  • Assess opportunities, strengths, and supports
  • Match available resources and opportunities with needs to help the client improve their situation or to help a community recover and thrive
  • Develop a care plan to improve the situation
  • Follow up to provide support for the individual, family, or group while the problem(s) is resolved

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How Many Different Types of Social Workers Are There?

When searching for “social workers near me” or “what are the different social workers types,” you’ll find many different genres of social work referenced.

Some lists give examples of social worker types that have just 7 or 8 types of social workers listed. While other lists, like the one from the National Association of Social Workers, give 15 or 16 different types of social workers.

For the social worker example list we provide in this article, we’ve targeted a comfortable number in between those two ranges. Our licensed social worker types list has 13 different types of social workers listed, which include the most popular types referenced from a variety of sources.

We’ve reviewed several examples of social worker types (including the list at the National Association of Social Workers) to come up with our social worker examples.

  1. Child & Family Social Worker
  2. Healthcare Social Worker
  3. Geriatric Social Worker
  4. Home Health Social Worker / Traveling Social Worker
  5. Mental Health Social Worker
  6. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
  7. Psychiatric Social Worker
  8. Corporate Social Worker / Industrial Social Work
  9. Supervising Social Worker
  10. Community Social Worker
  11. Criminal Justice Social Worker
  12. International Social Worker
  13. Military & Veteran Social Worker

When discussing social workers example types, it’s important to point out that it’s common for someone to work as more than one type of social worker. The different areas will naturally overlap, so a social service worker could be categorized into 2, 3, or more different types.

An example of social worker type overlap would be mental health social workers that work with the elderly in nursing homes. They would be considered a social worker for elderly individuals as well as a mental health social worker (two distinct types).

And if the elderly clients that the professional worked with were incarcerated, then they could be considered a third type as well, a correctional social worker.


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Social Worker Examples & What Each Type of Social Worker Does

Now we’ll take a look at each type of social worker example and give an overview of what each one does. These will be general in nature, as each of these different types of social workers can have sub-types within them that have slightly different responsibilities.

Each social workers example of the things a licensed social worker can do will help those looking for a career in this field get a better idea of the expectations and opportunities.

Child & Family Social Worker

A child and family social worker serves vulnerable children and youth and their families in a variety of capacities. This is a social worker type that has many subsets to it.

For example, a child welfare social worker may need to intervene to take a child out of a dangerous situation at home. Other children’s social workers may work closely with schools to help counsel at-risk youth or be brought in to assist with trauma counseling after a crisis event.

A child welfare social worker has the main goal of assisting a child and ensuring they have adequate food, shelter, and a nurturing environment.

A child and family social worker could also work with families that have mentally or physically disabled children to match them with resources that can help them care for their child.

Healthcare Social Worker

One example of a social worker that many people encounter in a time of need is the healthcare social worker. They’ll work in a hospital or hospice setting and will be there to assist individuals and families that may be going through emotional, financial, and physical stress due to health crises.

A healthcare social worker may help families with guidance on affordable funeral costs if they’ve lost a loved one. Another healthcare social worker example would be helping people with referrals to other agencies, like a hospice for long-term care needs for terminal illnesses.

Geriatric Social Worker

A geriatric social worker is also known as a gerontological social worker. This field can encompass the nursing home social worker as well as a social worker for elderly clients that visits them at home.

An example of social worker goals for this type of registered social worker would be to help seniors maintain a good quality of life. For example, an elder care social worker may help secure part or full-time assistance to allow someone to stay in their home rather than have to go to a nursing care facility.

A social worker for elderly patients may also help families connect with resources for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A nursing home social worker can help patients new to living in a nursing home adjust to the environment and find emotional support to make the transition easier.

With the Baby Boomer population now between the ages of about 58-76, the eldercare social worker position is going to be even more sought after and offer several job opportunities.

types of social work

Examples of social workers in different fields.

Home Health Social Worker / Traveling Social Worker

The home health social worker can also be a geriatric social worker, but they may also help those with medical disabilities of other ages who aren’t easily able to get out.

You’ll often see home health social workers advertised under travel social work jobs or listings calling for a traveling social worker. This is because they travel to client homes most of the time to check in on them regularly and provide assistance in a variety of ways.

Travel social work jobs as a home health support professional are important because these types of social workers will act as a key liaison between the client, family, physicians, and support resources.

Mental Health Social Worker

According to the National Association of Social Workers, mental health social workers (also known as clinical social workers) are one of the largest groups of mental health service providers in the United States.

A mental health social worker will provide direct services to individuals and families for a wide range of needs. Mental health social worker examples would include helping people with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Relationship issues
  • Other mental health problems

Mental health social workers have many subtypes, three of which are included below on our list of different types of social workers – military & veteran social workers, psychiatric social workers, and mental health and substance abuse social workers.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

A substance abuse social worker specializes in helping people through addiction problems. This will largely involve drug addiction and alcohol addiction but might also include food addiction issues.

Mental health and substance abuse social workers example tasks include things like crisis interventions, running group therapy sessions, helping clients find jobs and support, and doing casework to follow up on clients.

Psychiatric Social Worker

The psychiatric social worker differs from other mental health social workers in that they typically work with those people that are severely mentally ill. For people that need intense psychiatric help, a psychiatric social worker will provide support for the person and their family, provide therapy, and often help coordinate ongoing care for the individual.

Corporate Social Worker / Industrial Social Work

One of the less traditional social worker examples is the corporate social worker. This is also known as industrial social work, and it involves working in a corporate setting and providing support for the company and its employees.

Someone doing corporate / industrial social work could work alongside the human resources team and help employees that are having personal issues. They also often provide guidance to leadership on employee health and wellbeing.

Change management is another area where a corporate social worker would be needed. Guiding employees through resistance to change often involves many of the interpersonal skills that social workers have.

Supervising Social Worker

A supervising social worker is typically found in the Foster Care system in the U.S. and similar systems in other countries. They will be in charge of supervising and supporting the families that are taking care of children in need of a home.

An example of supervising social worker duties includes ensuring continuity of care for children, checking in regularly with Foster Care families, and providing guidance to any other social workers under their supervision.

Community Social Worker

A community social worker will typically work with underserved populations and may also be an international social worker (another type on our list).

While they do at times work one-on-one with individuals, the community social worker has to keep an entire community in mind when assessing needs and resources and facilitating help and support where it’s needed.

Criminal Justice Social Worker

Social workers in the criminal justice system will work in places like courthouses, substance abuse centers, and correctional facilities. They are often referred to as a correctional social worker.

An example of social workers that are considered a correctional social worker would be those that work with incarcerated individuals. These licensed social workers often help those individuals transition back to become healthy members of society when released.

International Social Worker

Many people become a social service worker because they want to make big changes in the world and help the underprivileged in other countries. An international social work position can also be included with travel social work jobs because these social workers are often traveling to different areas of need around the world.

International social workers may work in refugee camps, hospitals, orphanages, and in underserved communities or areas going through war or strive after a natural disaster.

Another example of social workers in this field would be those that work in areas of gender and social inclusion to assist those that may be excluded from basic human rights.

Military & Veteran Social Worker

Military and veteran social workers specialize in working with members or former members of the military. An example of social worker interaction in this area would include helping soldiers adjust to civilian life or assisting those with PTSD get the help and support they need to heal.

Registered social workers in this field will also often be considered a mental health social worker because much of what they do in helping military members and veterans are connected to their mental wellbeing.

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How Can I Find Social Workers Near Me?

If you’re searching for “social workers near me” on Google, you may come up with social workers of all different types. It can be helpful instead to use a search tool designed to help you find the right licensed social worker for your specific needs.

Here are some directories to use if looking for social workers near you:

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Conclusion | Finding Different Types of Social Workers Near Me

As you can see, there are many different social worker example types. While each type has a distinct area of service that comes with its own roles and responsibilities, all social workers are there to help people.

Knowing the opportunities available in the social work field can help those interested in a social worker career path see where their talents and interests may provide the best fit.

It’s also helpful for those seeking help to know that whatever type of assistance and support they need, there is likely a social worker that specializes in helping people with those same needs.


Types of Social Workers Near You FAQ

What is Social Work?

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) defines the main mission of social work as, “to enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.”

What are the General Responsibilities of Social Workers?

The day-to-day responsibilities of a social worker will vary according to their specialty. However, there are certain universal responsibilities all social service workers share.

• Identify those that need help
• Assess needs of individuals, families, or groups
• Prioritize needs by urgency
• Assess opportunities, strengths, and supports
• Match available resources and opportunities with needs to help the client improve their situation or to help a community recover and thrive
• Develop a care plan to improve the situation
• Follow up to provide support for the individual, family, or group while the problem(s) is resolved

What Are the Different Types of Social Work?

There are several types and sub-types of social workers, as they work across a wide range of areas to fill needs and help individuals, families, and groups Here is a list of some of the most common types of social workers:

1. Child & Family Social Worker
2. Healthcare Social Worker
3. Geriatric Social Worker
4. Home Health Social Worker
5. Mental Health Social Worker
6. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers
7. Psychiatric Social Worker
8. Corporate Social Worker
9. Supervising Social Worker
10. Community Social Worker
11. Criminal Justice Social Worker
12. International Social Worker
13. Military & Veteran Social Worker

How Can I Find Social Workers Near Me?

There are a number of different ways you can find social workers that are near you. These include:

• Doing a Google search
• Asking for a referral from a hospital, school, or government agency
• Looking for social workers on sites like LinkedIn
• Looking in one of the many online directories that are noted and linked to in this social worker types article


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