Major in Social Work?

<p>Does anyone have experience in this major?</p>

<p>I really want to help people and social work is a great way to do that. My original goal was to become a lawyer but the outlook for lawyers isn't too bright. I was thinking about maybe majoring in social work, doing that for several years while living frugally and saving for law school and then attending law school without going 150k into debt.</p>

<p>Is that a realistic plan?</p>

<p>If my kid were to ask me that question, I would say no. It's a stressful work with very little money, that's why people get burned out. It's a necessary occupation for the society, but I wouldn't want my kids to do it. Sounds bad, but that's how I feel.</p>

<p>What is the curriculum?</p>

<p>For my daughter, it turns out to be her calling. It was not at all what we envisioned she would want nor what we thought she would end up doing, for a variety of reasons. She graduated magna cum laude double major with an honors program. Maybe partly because it was a Jesuit school, it gave her a true desire to help those who can't always help themselves. She has tried several types of jobs and the one to which she returned is with our local ARC. That included leaving a job as a social worker making double what she makes at the ARC. </p>

<p>I have no say in what she chooses to do for a living. If this is where she is happy and fulfilled, who am I to say otherwise. She loves helping her residents live as normal a life as possible. She especially loves taking them out into the community. </p>

<p>She is fairly frugal, so the lower salary is not a deterrent for her. She may never be wealthy financially, but she would say she is wealthy in many other ways.</p>

<p>Kitty56, did you D get a Masters in it or just her Bachelors?</p>

<p>I know of 5 middle aged people who work in this field. 4 work in a public school system and all 4 have been employed full time for over 20 years. One works for the state with children who have disabilities and are under age 3. 2 out of the 4 that I know are male. One of the males seems to be doing quite well as the director of special services for a very large school system. There is one that I know who does not work for a school, but is in private practice doing some type of therapy/therapies and also teaches part time in a private religious school (unrelated to social work).</p>

<p>She has a Bachelor's in criminal justice and philosophy, plus additional course work in a variety of areas (forensic psych., CJ, special ed.) Although she held the title of social worker, a degree in social work was not a requirement for that position. I'm not sure if she is planning to go for a MSW or not.</p>

<p>I think its a fantastic plan if its your true interest. Are you interested in public interest law? While its true that public interest law doesn't pay much, particularly in light of the debt you can rack up, there are programs which will forgive a portion of your loans if you work with under-served populations. </p>

<p>Also, something to think about is a joint degree program. For example, University of Maryland offers a joint law and MSW degree. UMB</a> School of Social Work - MSW/JD</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>my husband is a social worker. It is an admirable profession, BUT very, very low pay and lots of stress (lets just say that my husband would be happy to make what a starting teacher in NYS makes..this after 10 years in the professsion)! The only reason it works for him is that he is married to a higher paid lawyer :) . His single colleagues really struggle to make ends meet. If you can get a job in the public sector (state, county) the pay and benefits will be somewhat better, but with current cuts in public jobs, that will be more difficult.</p>

<p>My neice has an undergrad degree ('07) and Masters ('09) in Social Work.
She had four job offers straight out of college after earning her Masters. She is in a college town of about 70,000. She was never interested in working in county social services. Counseling was her aim. She is currently working in a large regional hospital counseling with post transplant surgery patients. </p>

<p>She recently became engaged and is now job searching in another city. She has had two in the public school system and one working in a private counseling group.</p>

<p>I have an MSW after getting a liberal arts college degree. When I was considering grad school in the "helping professions" I looked at psychology, counseling, etc. What I liked about social work is that the license is very useful, that the education includes psychology, sociology, political science, ethics, cultural topics, administrative skills, and a strong research base. Yes, the pay is terrible in most jobs, but the flexibility in terms of becoming a psychotherapist, a community activist, a policy developer, an academic (including being able to teach at a university level with a Master's Degree) or a myriad of other professions is very valuable. Many social workers I know are able to make huge career changes without having to retrain - it's a profession that evolves.</p>

<p>From my experience hiring social workers, the Bachelor's is definitely limiting, but there are opportunities. Often a very attractive candidate with only the BSW does get hired. I think combining SW with Law is a terrific idea, and could take you to wonderful places in your career. Good luck!</p>

<p>I have a couple of friends who are former social workers who became lawyers and then became judges.</p>

<p>Thank you all! One thing that concerns me:</p>

<p>"From my experience hiring social workers, the Bachelor's is definitely limiting"</p>

<p>I would have to work for several years with a Bachelor's and THEN go on to law school. Would I be able to find work with the bachelors?</p>

<p>My D had just the BS when she got the Social Worker position. That was the job that paid very well and it was a local government position.</p>

<p>I have a friend (more a friend of a friend) that has a masters in social work and he is a social worker. He has a very nice home, wife and kids and leads a nice lifestyle but this is done with family money. One of his near relatives founded a company bought out by Berkshire Hathaway. He says that you wouldn't believe the family cases that he deals with and I certainly agree with that statement.</p>

<p>Our state has increased workloads for social workers over the last two decades and they are not paid well for some tough, tough work. I would advise my kids to count the cost before entering this line of work. They might want to do it anyways but they should realize that it isn't an easy line of work.</p>

<p>Yes, there are jobs that the BSW qualifies you for. Many prefer Masters, and I just wanted to be clear that it can be a bit harder with only a Bachelor's. My point (albeit unclear!) was that if you are a good candidate, they often will choose you as an individual rather than worry about whether you have the higher degree.</p>

<p>You can get some great experience in the community at the BSW level before deciding on grad school. Looking for a solid BSW will definitely affect your college search; it's not offered everywhere.</p>

<p>I think you are overplanning, frankly. You don't need to plan out the next 10 years, right now. Major in something that interests you without gearing it totally to a job. Most people end up working in jobs that have nothing to do with their college major, adn the job market is more complex than these neat categories that kids hear about for years.</p>

<p>I don't think a bachelor's in social work is the best route, because to really do satisfying work, you will need a master's. Undergrad majors in social work, or business, really can be limiting. And honestly, in some of those low level social work jobs, you may end up hurting people more than helping them.</p>

<p>How can you be sure at this point that you want to be a lawyer? There are so many other things to "be." I think you should try to be open and explore things for a bit. Many people your age want to be doctors or lawyers, and quickly change their minds once in college.</p>

<p>But also, you can major in anything and then go to law school.</p>

<p>If you really want a vocational degree that makes money, how about nursing?</p>

<p>I have my Bachelors in Social Work (recieved in 2010 in Florida). I found VERY quickly that there are many jobs for Bachelor level SW students... BUT they may not be the job you want. They will most likely be working with substance abuse or homelessness... not medical or school social work. You NEED a Masters AND to be licensed in order to work in medical or school. I can currently in an Advanced Standing Masters of Social Work Program (FYI, if you get your Bachelors in Social Work its only one more year to get your Masters... instead of 2 years!). Right now, I am just starting my Masters program in NY and then I plan to move back to FL and call up the job offers I was given when I got my Bachelors. With a bachelors in FL you will make like 25k-30k out of school. With a masters you will make 35k+ (depending on type of work, of cource). </p>

<p>Social Work is a very difficult field and a field you should NOT go into if you dont plan on doing it forever. If you want to be a lawyer, be a lawyer and skip the Social Work step. Luckily, I didnt have debt from my undergrad but my masters is costing me $32k (although I have a large academic scholarship at NYU - most Social Work students pay full price!!) plus housing. Good luck with your academic choices! PM me if you want to ask any other social work questions!</p>