Undergrad vs. Grad education

<p>Hi all,</p>

<p>This is rather long. It's difficult to summarize everything into a short paragraph, though.</p>

<p>For a while now, I have been heavily leaning towards a major in social work, with a graduate degree in the field as well (to become an LCSW; I would like to be a counselor/therapist in the long term probably). The graduate school of social work doesn't have any particular degree requirements, but experience (volunteer or paid) is necessary. I have also considered a career as a teacher, elementary education in particular. From my understanding, a job as an elementary teacher doesn't require an undergrad in anything specific, but one needs a liberal arts degree, experience, and some kind of certification (not sure if this entails grad school; it's new to me, so I haven't looked in depth).</p>

<p>Back to social work though: even though the graduate school of social work doesn't require an undergrad degree in the same field, I was planning on getting my undergrad in it anyway since it's a good program, so I could potentially be in the advanced program (getting the masters in a year), and so I could be employable if I decided to take a break between degrees.</p>

<p>However, I am reconsidering a degree in art and philosophy (possible double major, possibly a major and minor). I know, the two don't seem as directly related to the two fields I'm interested in as some degrees, but this is my thought process: If I'm going to be a therapist or a teacher, I need an undergrad degree in <em>something</em>, and that something can be almost anything I want. Even though art and philosophy aren't considered practical, they would still be useful in this situation and honestly I would enjoy it more than an undergrad in child/family studies or social work (if money/career opportunities weren't an issue at all, art and philosophy or religious studies would also be my first choice). </p>

<p>Don't get me wrong, I have taken/plan to take courses related to sociology/social issues and human/child health and development, but art and philosophy classes are more of a treat to me and something I feel passionate about (I have also considered a photography business, but long term I think this is more realistically a side gig for me). I also think that focusing on these things in school would be of benefit to me in other ways; I think it will be a nice compliment and balance to the emotionally straining work I will probably be doing. Also, I was planning on doing social work mostly as a means to become a therapist....so just having an undergrad in it won't necessarily benefit me except to make me employable.</p>

<p>Of course, if I do major in art/philosophy, I plan on continuing to volunteer with various groups of people (I currently volunteer in a conversation program, and plan on volunteering with an elementary school next term). </p>

<p>The downside of this is that if I want to make real use of my degree, I will pretty much be committing myself to graduate school since a art/philo degree isn't practical by itself, it might just look nice on paper. I'm okay with this since I plan on going to grad school anyway, but maybe I'll feel differently a few years from now?</p>

<p>By the way, I'm in my second year of community college; I plan on transferring to a university in 2013.</p>

<p>If you've read this far, thank you. I would just like some second opinions and insights on all of this. Given my situation, I still wonder if majoring in art/philosophy is an irresponsible decision. I feel like the general consensus from others is "yes", but I also think this is a unique situation.</p>


<p>*(Also just a side note - do you think it will be much more difficult to get scholarships if I am majoring in art and philosophy - would it look bad even if I'm volunteering and I have a 4.0? Thanks)</p>

<p>Would you be interested in art therapy? That would be one way to tie together art and social work...although I'm not too sure how the market is for that right now. It's great for child counseling, if you want to work with that age group. Or play therapy, music therapy, etc. Not sure if those are something you could "concentrate" in with an MSW, or if you would have to look for specific MA art/music/play therapy programs. </p>

<p>I know high school teachers can be certified with any undergrad degree, but I'm not sure how strict elementary education is. You'll definitely want to look into that more, and you would also need to get a bit of experience working with children so the elementary school volunteer work will be good. </p>

<p>What exactly do you mean by "art?" Art history? Fine arts (drawing, painting, etc.)? Multimedia and design? Whether you can "make use" of an art degree depends on what your focus is. For example, graphic/interactive designers have better prospects than fine artists.</p>