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Licensed clinical social worker: What I do and how much I make

Evony Cooper, a bilingual clinical social worker, earns $48,000 annually at Denver's Mental Health Center. She tailors therapy for children and adults, manages cases, and collaborates with community agencies. Her salary includes a language differential for Spanish services. A union ensures competitive pay and annual raises. Passion, not money, motivates her work.

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Video transcript

My name is Evony Cooper. I am 30 years old. I'm a licensed clinical social worker, and my annual salary is $48,000. So I work at the Mental Health Center of Denver. So I'm located specifically at the El Centro Clinic, which is a Spanish-speaking clinic that works primarily with the Hispanic population, so I'm a bilingual therapist there. So I see from age six to end-of-life. Working with children, that's different than working with adults, because I feel like you have to tailor the service to their sort of level, to their level of understanding, so you might incorporate games, and a therapeutic intervention, while with adults, you can be pretty straightforward and present the tools and techniques in a different way. My main responsibilities, other than doing therapy, are things like paperwork, also case management, so I work closely with schools, parents, different agencies in the community to make sure that the needs are met for the people that we serve. Part of the paperwork that I have to do is sort of summarizing what was worked on, whenever treatment plan goal was the focus of the session, and a lot of times in writing, those notes we do sort of summarize the service provided and we have the ability to reflect on the work that was done. So we can tell at that time maybe I should've done a little more investigative work around this, or explored more around that. So I make $48,000 a year, and nobody really goes into this for the money, so it really is a passion of mine to do this work. When I started, I actually wasn't making that. I think I was making around 34,000, but that was in a different state, so I've been told that Denver actually has, it's one of the more educated cities in the United States, and so I've heard that they pay pretty competitively here, and so making $48,000, I do have a language differential that's been added to my salary for being able to speak Spanish and do services, provide services in Spanish. My position specifically is a union based position, so we do have a labor union that works on our behalf to make sure that we keep the pay competitive, and that means raises. So they do negotiate every year to discuss like what sort of raises are gonna be appropriate.