What is an Administrative Social Worker?

Social workers are local heroes. They advocate for people in need and assist them in locating and utilizing services to build better lives. When most people thing of social workers, they think of the case workers at the forefront of the action, working directly with clients and communities. Behind the scenes is a team of administrative social workers carrying out the following duties that make it all possible.


Clinical social workers, those who work directly with clients and service providers, carry out practices and use knowledge that has been discovered by a team of researchers. This research is conducted and written by administrative social workers. They are responsible for identifying gaps in current knowledge and current social work issues, then carrying out studies to find the missing knowledge and solutions.


In order for research knowledge to get to future social workers, somebody must teach them. Teaching at colleges and universities is another path within administrative social work. These social workers are responsible for creating and implementing quality lectures and assessment tools in a wide variety of social work degree courses. Most social work instructors are required to gain some social work experience first. Some social work instructors are also researchers at the institutions where they teach.

Policy and Law Making

The work that clinical social workers do, and the level of influence it has on their clients’ lives, is greatly dependent on laws and policies at local, state and federal levels. Administrative social workers write policies and appeals for local service providers and advocate for and against policies and laws at the state and federal levels. They also ensure that community resource providers carry out all laws and policies correctly. SocialWorkLicensure.org explains the educational path toward pursuing this kind of work.

Grant Writing

Many clinical social work programs are nonprofit agencies. They are largely funded by donations and grants. It is the task of administrative social workers to write the grant proposals. They must be able to articulate what the grants will be used for, why they are needed, and how the program will benefit society as a whole. Additionally, they must keep and present documentation of the program outcomes in order to keep the grants year after year. The University of Southern California explains the grant writing process.

Legal Support

Legal proceedings are frequently a part of the social work world. Custody battles, sentencing for crimes both large and small, and court-ordered community service are a few of the main situations that clinical social workers walk through with their clients. In the background of each of these scenarios is a supporting team of administrative social workers. They draft and present documentation, prepare all parties involved, and serve as liaisons between legal professionals and clinical social workers.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees

Clinical and administrative social workers are a hardworking team who rely on each other to help people better their lives. Administrative social workers research, teach, advocate for funding, and help create the laws and policies that form the foundation of clinical social work practices. Administrative social work provides a career path for those seeking a backstage role in building better communities.