Connecticut, always on the lookout for occupations with strong potential for job growth, appears to already have one in our midst. New statistics indicate that Waterbury and New Haven are among the top five metropolitan areas in the nation for healthcare social workers – a status that could serve to attract individuals in the fast-growing field to the state.
Nationwide, the median salary for a healthcare social worker is $47,770, and the job outlook is bright: jobs are projected to grow 26 percent from 2010 - 2020, which is twelve percentage points above the projected national job growth of 14 percent. In Waterbury, the median salary is $65,250, the second highest in the nation; in New Haven, ranked at #5, it is $61,950, according to data compiled by the data analysis website ValuePenquin.
Healthcare social workers are professionals who provide a range of services that support patients' medical needs in their psychosocial environment, from advising caregivers to coordinating medical services. With healthcare becoming increasingly complex, the need for healthcare social workers has grown, as reflected in the analysis that determined the Best Cities for Healthcare Social Workers, based on May 2012 data.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that Connecticut is ranked fourth nationwide in job prospects and has the fourth highest annual wages, at $60,830. The Bureau defines the occupation as one that provides individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family care givers, providing patient education and counseling, and making referrals for other services. Individuals in the field may also provide care and case management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.
In the ValuePenquin study methodology, median annual pay - a substantial factor in the decision process for people looking for work – was considered, along with how expensive the city is to live in. Since the focus was on job opportunities, the study also factored in cities’ concentration of healthcare social workers. The ‘location quotient’ measures the concentration of a particular occupation in a city as a proportion of all occupations relative to the national average. They infer a higher location quotient to mean a relatively higher demand for a profession's services. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics underscored the recent study, ranking Connecticut fourth in the nation in location quotient, reflecting a field in demand.
While the study ranked Waterbury and New Haven in the top five, Massachusetts communities also had a strong showing, reflecting the regions attractiveness for professionals in the field. The top ten:
- Carson City, NV
- Waterbury, CT
- Cumberland, MD
- Taunton/Norton/Raynham, MA
- New Haven, CT
- Napa, CA
- Yuba City, CA
- Springfield, MA
- Boston/Cambridge/Quincy, MA
- Hanford/Corcoran, CA
In addition, New Bedford ranked #14, Worcester was #16, Brockton/Bridgewater/Easton, MA was #17, Providence/Fall River/Warwick was #18, Pittsfield was #19 and Barnstable was #20.