Career Development

What Does a Crisis Worker Do?

Find out what a crisis worker does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a crisis worker.

Crisis workers are responsible for providing emotional support to individuals who are experiencing a crisis. They may be called upon to assist people who are dealing with the death of a loved one, domestic violence, sexual assault, or other traumatic events.

Crisis workers typically work in short-term positions and often rotate between different types of jobs within their organization. This allows them to gain experience in multiple areas while also developing specialized skills in one area.

Crisis Worker Job Duties

Crisis workers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing assessments of clients’ needs to determine appropriate interventions
  • Assisting victims of sexual assault or domestic violence with filing police reports, contacting medical personnel, and arranging other services
  • Helping individuals who are dealing with substance abuse issues by providing support and advocacy throughout the recovery process
  • Providing support to families who have experienced the death of a loved one
  • Counseling individuals who are experiencing emotional distress or who have experienced a traumatic event such as a natural disaster or violent crime
  • Referring clients to appropriate community resources or agencies for assistance with legal issues, housing needs, medical care, or food
  • Providing counseling services to individuals in crisis situations who are experiencing severe emotional distress or have been exposed to traumatic events such as natural disasters or violent crimes
  • Coordinating community outreach programs such as homeless shelters, food pantries, emergency shelters, suicide prevention programs, and domestic violence shelters
  • Participating in group therapy sessions with other counselors to provide support to patients

Crisis Worker Salary & Outlook

Crisis workers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of crisis they are working in.

  • Median Annual Salary: $51,550 ($24.78/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of crisis workers is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for crisis services is expected to increase as more people seek help for mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, or substance abuse problems. In addition, demand may increase as a result of the aging population, which is more susceptible to mental health disorders and addiction.

Related: In-Depth Crisis Worker Salary Guide

Crisis Worker Job Requirements

Crisis workers typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most crisis workers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some crisis workers choose to earn a master’s degree in social work, counseling or psychology. These degrees provide crisis workers with the knowledge and skills they need to work with clients in crisis.

Training & Experience: Crisis workers typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or other experienced staff members. This training helps crisis workers learn the specific procedures and practices of the organization. They may also learn how to use the organization’s computer systems and other technology.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require crisis workers to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Crisis Worker Skills

Crisis workers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Active listening: Active listening is the ability to hear what someone is saying and respond appropriately. Crisis workers should be able to listen to callers and clients as they share their stories. This can help them understand the situation and determine the best course of action. It can also help them feel heard and cared for, which can help them feel more comfortable and safe.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings and perspective. Crisis workers often use empathy to help people in distress. For example, a crisis worker might listen to a caller who is suicidal and try to understand their feelings and offer them support.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information to others. Crisis workers use communication skills to interact with clients, supervisors and other crisis workers. They also use communication skills to explain the crisis response process to clients and to help clients understand the resources available to them.

Problem-solving: When a crisis occurs, it’s likely that the organization will need to address the problem and find a solution. This can involve working with other staff members to find a solution or providing guidance to individuals who need to find a solution on their own. A crisis worker needs to be able to think critically and solve problems effectively.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and determine the best course of action. Crisis workers often need to think critically to help their organizations and clients. For example, a crisis worker might need to decide whether to call law enforcement after a client discloses a personal situation.

Crisis Worker Work Environment

Crisis workers typically work in an office setting during regular business hours, although they may be on call 24 hours a day. They may work for a crisis hotline, a suicide prevention center, or a mental health agency. Crisis workers may also work in hospitals, schools, or other settings where people in crisis might be found. They may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Crisis workers must be able to handle stress well, as they deal with people in crisis on a daily basis. They must be able to think quickly and make decisions in difficult situations. They must also be able to maintain confidentiality and show empathy and compassion for the people they help.

Crisis Worker Trends

Here are three trends influencing how crisis workers work. Crisis workers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Mental Health Professionals

The need for more mental health professionals is a trend that is being driven by the increasing prevalence of mental health issues. As more and more people are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and other disorders, there is a growing demand for professionals who can help them manage their symptoms.

Crisis workers are in high demand because they have the training and experience to provide counseling and support to those who are struggling. This makes them an invaluable resource for schools, hospitals, and other organizations that are trying to provide better care for their patients.

More Focus on Employee Engagement

Employers are increasingly focusing on employee engagement as a way to improve productivity and reduce turnover. This means that crisis workers will need to be able to help employees deal with difficult emotions and situations in a productive way.

As employers become more interested in employee engagement, crisis workers will need to develop skills in areas such as conflict resolution and team building. They will also need to be able to identify signs of distress in employees and offer support before things get too out of hand.

Greater Emphasis on Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is becoming increasingly important in the field of crisis work. As society becomes more diverse, it is essential for crisis workers to be able to understand and communicate with people from different backgrounds.

This requires not only a knowledge of different cultures, but also an understanding of the language and customs that are specific to each one. In order to be successful in this field, crisis workers will need to be able to connect with people on a personal level and build trust with them.

How to Become a Crisis Worker

A career as a crisis worker can be incredibly rewarding. It’s important to consider the type of crisis you want to work in before starting your search. Do you want to work with children, adults, or both? Do you want to work in a hospital, mental health center, or other setting?

It’s also important to think about what type of training you want to have. Some crisis workers choose to become certified in certain areas, such as suicide prevention or substance abuse counseling. Others choose to specialize in working with a particular population, such as veterans or LGBTQ individuals.

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest research and best practices in your field. Read journals and attend conferences to learn more about how to help people who are experiencing a crisis.

Related: How to Write a Crisis Worker Resume

Advancement Prospects

Crisis workers may advance to supervisory or managerial positions within their organization. They may also move into related fields such as social work, psychology, or counseling. With additional education and training, crisis workers may become licensed therapists.

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