Clinical social workers share marketing tips

By Alison Laurio, News contributor

Mila Tecala has an overall goal: helping people put their lives back together. It also is what she likes best about being a clinical social worker.

“I got this really nice note,” she said. “It said ‘One of the things you taught me in therapy is instead of cursing the storm, I learned how to dance in the rain.’ That’s one of the comments that makes my work worthwhile.”

An MSW, clinical social worker and NASW member, Tecala named her Washington, D.C., private practice the Center For Loss and Grief.

“Death or loss is the most common occurrence for all of us,” she said. “I named the center because it describes what I do.”

“Although it seems very limited — loss and grief — it actually is not that limiting. Divorce, illness, trauma and how we deal with it; it’s how we deal with life. I like the idea of helping people rebuild their lives. That’s what my goal is.”

There are more than a half-million social workers in the United States today, and the demand for more social workers is increasing. As the number of those on the job grows, more will likely open private practices. Seasoned clinicians say whether a practice is new or established, and no matter what the focus area or niche is, promoting your practice is an ongoing task.

There were 649,300 social workers in the United States in 2014, and even more social workers will be needed in the 10-year period from 2014 to 2024, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-2017 Edition, which was released in December by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Overall, job prospects should be good, particularly so for candidates with a master’s degree and licensure,” the handbook states.

Social worker employment overall is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations. During that same time period, employment of child, family and school social workers is projected to grow 6 percent, about the average for all occupations; employment of health care social workers should grow by 19 percent; and the projected growth for mental health and substance abuse social workers also is 19 percent, according to the BLS handbook.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a breakdown for clinical social workers, said Sean Martin, an economist in the BLS employment projections group. The data is gathered from two surveys. National employment statistics are released every year, and new Outlook Handbooks are published every two years, he said.

From the May 2016 NASW News. Read the full story here.


  1. This is some really good information about social worker marketing. It is good to know that this field will increase by 12 percent by 2024. It is good to know that because my little sister has been thinking about becoming a social worker.

  2. I just read the article and offer kudos to all the private practitioners who contributed their experiences and knowledge. I too, have been in private practice as well as having worked in managed care. The third party payers measure practice outcomes and will refer more clients to practitioner who demonstrates cost-effective, efficient care.

    Perhaps the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a breakdown for clinical social workers because clinical social workers have failed to diffentiate their outcomes from other mental health professions. The onus is on us to research more effective means of service delivery that will fully market the worth of the Social Work profession.

    It is also recommended NASW conduct its own research into the reasons its membership is declining when the BLS predicts growth within the profession. There are reasons I left NASW after almost 30 years of membership. What about the others who have left or never joined NASW?

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