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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 352K
Category: Social Services


This is the supervisory or senior/specialist level of the series. Positions at this level are responsible for one or more of the following:
  • Supervising lower level Psychiatric Social Workers and performs professional psychiatric social work in an institution or clinic;
  • Providing professional psychiatric social work to one or more assigned units or wards consisting of 70 to 150 residents;
  • Providing professional psychiatric social work to assist incarcerated individuals in adjusting to the institution and reentry into the community;
  • Providing professional psychiatric social work services to assist individuals transitioning from state hospitals or incarceration into home and community based settings;
  • Serving as the designated psychiatric social worker member of an inter or multi-disciplinary treatment team.

Typical Work

Plans, organizes, directs and coordinates work of professional and clerical assistants engaged in psychiatric social work at a mental hospital, juvenile training school, child guidance center, alcoholism treatment clinic, or unit within a Division of Developmental Disabilities residential facility;

Supervises, trains and evaluates work of subordinate psychiatric social workers;

Obtains socio psychiatric histories of patients, residents or students; interprets findings;

Consults with supervisor, psychiatrists, physicians, nursing supervisors and other staff members in cooperative planning of case treatment; formulates diagnosis and treatment plans for alcoholics;

Meets with incarcerated individuals for purposes of adjustment to the institution due to incarceration;

Conducts reentry groups and forums as assigned/appropriate based on setting;

Meets with incarcerated individuals for purposes of transition to the community, to ensure the continuity of medical, mental health and dental services;

Conducts release planning for incarcerated individuals who have need for follow-up medical and behavioral health care by completing needs assessments to identify healthcare reentry needs;

Undertakes brief or long term counseling with patients, residents and others to effect needed social adjustments and improved emotional outlook;

Coordinates needs of hospital, school center, clinic or program unit with those of other agencies and community and promotes services;

Performs specialized psychiatric casework; conducts investigations; prepares reports, summaries and case recommendations; does research work;

Coordinates follow-up medical and behavioral health services in the community;

Makes referrals to agencies in the community, to include establishing appointments for individuals;

Facilitates contacting and coordinating services with other agencies and organizations including Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and Department of Social and Health Services Home and Community Services (HCS), Managed Care Organizations, Veteran’s Administration and Tribal Healthcare;

Coordinates healthcare reentry needs with medical and behavioral health providers and community resources to develop continuity of care plans;

May serve as lead worker to other Psychiatric Social Workers within a program of a mental health hospital.

Attends Multidisciplinary Facility Risk Management Team meetings;

Conferences with the primary therapist, psychiatric provider, primary care provider, Continuity of Care Nurse and/or pharmacy as needed in preparation for release;

Facilitate medical equipment necessary for immediate support at release;

Facilitates Affordable Care Act (ACA), Transitional Offender Assistance Project (TOAP)/Expedited Medical Eligibility (EME), and/ or Reentry Community Services (RCS) services prior to release by offering assistance with application process and communicating resource information;

Performs other related work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: theory, principles and techniques of social casework as related to emotional or mental illness; social work program administration; principles and characteristics of mental and emotional illness; current social and economic problems, trends and research; interviewing techniques; individual and group behavior.

Ability to: plan and direct the work of others; teach and train staff; interview effectively; analyze case records and other data for consistency and quality of work; draw conclusions from data; speak and write clearly and effectively.

Legal Requirement(s)

Per RCW 18.320.010, at least a bachelor’s degree from a social work educational program accredited by the council on social work education is required to practice social work.
There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

A Master's degree from approved school of social work.


Two years of experience in counseling mentally or emotionally disturbed individuals.

Note: A degree in social work must be from an educational program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Class Specification History

Revises minimum qualifications September 1, 1967.
Revises definition May 12, 1978.
Revises definition July 1, 1981 (approved March 12, 1981).
Adds distinguishing characteristics July 10, 1981.
Revises distinguishing characteristics September 11, 1981.
Revises definition, deletes distinguishing characteristics March 11, 1983.
Revises definition May 28, 1986.
New class code: (formerly 35540) effective July 1, 2007
Revises desirable qualifications, effective December 23, 2011,
Salary adjustment adopted 6/30/2015, effective 7/1/2015.
Base range salary adjustment adopted 6/30/2017, effective 7/1/2017.
Revised definition and typical work effective, July 1, 2019
Revised definition, typical work and legal requirements; adopted June 22, 2023; effective July 1, 2023.