Where Does a Clinical Social Worker Work?

Clinical social workers are in high demand, and there are many work environments in which they do their jobs. A lot of clinical social workers travel for their jobs on a part-time basis, and some have to travel on a regular basis in order to meet with their clients. Knowing the places where a clinical social works could give a degree candidate a better feel for what to expect once they start working.


Both public and private schools may employ clinical social workers. The social worker would have their own office or use a shared office within the administrative section of a school building. Clinical social workers in elementary schools might also meet with students in the classroom setting. Those who work with college or vocational students may have a cubicle in an administrative building on the campus. In the school work environment, a clinical social worker typically has office hours during business hours. They may have administrative meetings outside of the times when they meet with students.

Hospitals and Ambulatory Care Centers

Clinical workers also work in community and research hospitals. They are often responsible for meeting with patients at discharge in order to ensure that the patient will have the right resources at home or at a rehabilitation facility. If a patient is hospitalized as a result of domestic abuse, the clinical social worker plays a role in finding a shelter and initiating the legal process for the patient. In ambulatory care centers, clinical social workers may meet with patients and their families in order to set up in-home services or to coordinate different types of services and follow-up care that a patient needs.

Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

Clinical social workers are an important part of the team working at inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment centers. In these work environments, they typically have their own office for meeting privately with clients. They may also conduct some therapy sessions in meeting rooms. Some clinical social workers may split their time between evening hours at an outpatient treatment center and private practice hours. Clinical social workers employed by large health systems that operate their own inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment centers might also split their time between the hospital and treatment center environments.

Government Agencies

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, another common work environment for a clinical social worker is in a government agency. The social worker typically has a home office in a government building. They might work for a local or state department of aging, health or corrections system. Many social workers employed by a government agency spend a lot of their time traveling. One who works at a state government office might visit county or city subsidiaries. A social worker for a local jail or state prison system may spend all of their work time at that facility, but they may have a remote office in an office building outside of the prison.

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

In addition to these work environments, some clinical social workers are in private private practice. They work in an office, and they may do video conferencing in lieu of frequent traveling. Knowing about these different work environments could make it easier for a person with a degree in social work choose the type of job that is best suited to their preferences.