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Mental Health & Substance Abuse Social Workers

Also called: Case Manager, Clinical Social Worker, Mental Health Therapist, Social Worker

What they do:
Assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education.
On the job, you would:
  • Counsel clients in individual or group sessions to assist them in dealing with substance abuse, mental or physical illness, poverty, unemployment, or physical abuse.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and record client progress with respect to treatment goals.
  • Interview clients, review records, conduct assessments, or confer with other professionals to evaluate the mental or physical condition of clients or patients.


Math and Science
  • psychology
  • sociology and anthropology
  • therapy and counseling
  • customer service
  • administrative services
Arts and Humanities
  • English language


Basic Skills
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
  • talking to others
  • understanding people's reactions
  • changing what is done based on other people's actions
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it


  • listen and understand what people say
  • communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
  • notice when problems happen
  • make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
Visual Understanding
  • see hidden patterns
  • quickly know what you are looking at


People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Concern for Others
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Self Control
  • Adaptability/Flexibility


You might use software like this on the job:

Medical software
  • Client records software
  • James Frazier Associates DataStart
Internet browser software
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Netscape Navigator
Desktop publishing software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker
  • Microsoft Publisher


Education: (rated 5 of 5)
master's degree or
certificate after master's
usually needed

Get started on your career:

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Job Outlook

Bright Outlook
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
per year, on average
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about mental health and substance abuse social workers.