Career transition from social work field

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cmerri in Pinson, Alabama

42 months ago

unemployed & frustrated in New City, New York said: I am in my late thirties and have been a clinical social worker for my entire adult working life. I have experience in a variety of mental health, addiction treatment, and non profit settings. My work experience includes outpatient therapy, inpatient psychiatric social work, psychiatric emergency program evaluation, domestic violence program management, mental health case management, and residential drug treatment. I was laid off by my last employer twice in the past year (they laid me off, rehired me for another department, and layed me off again 6 months later). The last layoff was a blessing because despite the fact that I was making a very good salary, the job was demoralizing, depressing, and worst of all, dangerous. Additionally, I have been extremely disenchanted with the social work field for many years and would love to exit the human service and healthcare field entirely. I HATE it. I search the employment ads, go on interviews, and feel stuck. So many of the social work jobs entail home visits, which I have found unsafe and stressful. I decline job offers that involve case management, hospitals, and home visits, because I just can't do it anymore. Private practice was my goal when I obtained my masters degree, but I have zero interest and no motivation for that anymore. I am open minded about a creer change and apply to jobs outside the field, that I know I could perform well, where skills could be transferable, such as human resources, sales, entry level corporate, etc. but I don't land the interviews. I feel like social work has rendered me unemployable outside the field. Due to ridiculous student loans from grad school, and my current unemployment status, I am not in a position to return to college at this time. Has anyone here made a successful transition from social work to another career field? If so, how did you accomplish this goal? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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cmerri in Pinson, Alabama

42 months ago

I completely understand,although i've only been in the field for 6 years it can be frustrating. I have been laid off now for 2 months and cannot seem to land an interveiw either outside the field of Social Work. You can feel stuck and frustrated but you have to continue to search for jobs. Going back to school sounds good but who can afford to add on another 20 to 30 thousand dollars of student loans on top of maybe $70,00. Just continue to stay positive and who knows you might find the perfect in social work where you won't have home visits. Good Luck!

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Tiffany in Minneapolis, Minnesota

42 months ago

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. Forgive me for not being able to offer advice and for asking you a question instead. But if you had to do it over again, what career would you go into? I hold BAs in liberal arts field and I cannot decide what career to pursue given this economic climate and what I hear about the social work field. I'd like to help people but without being placed in dangerous and unbearably draining situations. If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear from you.

There are one year programs in state colleges which allow you to receive a teaching license, if you enjoy working with kids. I hear many people are choosing accounting as a second career, if you enjoy math (and they count your previous credits).
Maybe marketing research would appreciate your people experience. Or even management trainee in some retail chain. management type of career in a hospital. college counseling/admissions. property management. anyways, just some brainstorming.

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Nicole in East Orange, New Jersey

35 months ago

I am also in the process of transitioning out of social work. I am completely dissatisfied and to put it bluntly, burned out! I wish you the best of luck. My plan is to take some courses at my community college (less expensive) towards an associates degree in IT. I must admit that I should have done a lot more research on the field before I entered it, but I can definitely attest to how difficult it is to get out of it! I've only been an LSW for 1.5 years, however I was in the field for 5- 6 years prior to completing my degree. I made the decision to leave my last job because it really began to take a toll on my health. I was already thinking about a career change, but eventually I just HAD to leave. I've been seeking work for the past 5+ months, and it looks like I'll be taking yet another SW position, but at least I'll have the classes to keep me sane. Best wishes to you!

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Frustrated but Hopeful in Saint Paul, Minnesota

33 months ago

Hi, I am in your same position, loans, motivated the whole picture. I am still looking for a transition but have read that often it can help to read as much as possible about a field that interests you. Then to go out and network. I plan to give it a try if I can figure out what interests me next. I wish you luck! frustrated but hopeful in Minneosta

unemployed & frustrated in New City, New York said: I am in my late thirties and have been a clinical social worker for my entire adult working life. I have experience in a variety of mental health, addiction treatment, and non profit settings. My work experience includes outpatient therapy, inpatient psychiatric social work, psychiatric emergency program evaluation, domestic violence program management, mental health case management, and residential drug treatment. I was laid off by my last employer twice in the past year (they laid me off, rehired me for another department, and layed me off again 6 months later). The last layoff was a blessing because despite the fact that I was making a very good salary, the job was demoralizing, depressing, and worst of all, dangerous. Additionally, I have been extremely disenchanted with the social work field for many years and would love to exit the human service and healthcare field entirely. I HATE it. I search the employment ads, go on interviews, and feel stuck. So many of the social work jobs

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Michelle in Carlsbad, California

33 months ago

Wow, I am glad that I am not the only one having these concerns. I am at my end. I am lucky to have very supportive supervisors however, the work itself is starting to take a toll on my health. I am feeling very vulnerable. I know that with most burnout you become disinterested in the work but my problem is that I am overly concerned with my ct's well being that I cannot just leave the work at home. It is really taking a toll on my free time and home life. I cannot get it out of my head. I really wish I could just find a new career but do not want to go back to school and spend more money. I too have student loans. I have been working in the field for about 15 years on and off due to job opportunities etc... I guess what I am saying is that we are not alone here. I am just plain exhausted by it all. I know this does not come as any advice to the original person who posted the question but it can give insight into how there are probably more of us out there feeling this way.

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Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts

32 months ago

I AGREE! I end up spending most of my time looking for a new job. I, too, feel stressed out and way too overworked. I know there must be something us a good bunch like ourselves can do. Please keep posting everyone and share what you end up coming up with. There is an answer for us

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tcurry33@hotmail.com in Bellflower, California

32 months ago

I stumbled upon this site hoping to get some information on a career that a social worker could make an easy transition into. I graduated with my MSW in May, and I've worked at my current place of employment as a case manager for 7yrs in December. Sadly its comforting to see that I'm not the only social worker that feels burned out, overworked and underpaid! Its depressing to see the lack of jobs or should I say well paying jobs for social workers. I try to stay hopeful that if I stay in the field of social work that things will improve if I just change employers, but the thought of trying to help people solve their problems just doesn't appeal to me anymore. I'm tired & it doesn't matter how many vacations I take I still go back to work feeling weary and cynical. I have school loans to pay back and I don't know how I'm going to make ends meet because i'm underemployed. I considered taking another job, but I'm too exhausted to even think about doing that. The thought of pursuing the LCSW is no guarantee that things will get better. I remember hearing when I was in school that social work had a high burnout rate, and the importance of self care to prevent that, but I never thought that it would happen to me. Who has time for self care when you're overworked and can't take a vacation because you have too much work.

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exhausted in Clark, New Jersey

31 months ago

I completely agree with all of you! I have an LSW and LCADC and I feel as though my life has become a complete dead end due to this career choice. I am exhausted. Being underpaid for so long has definately taken a huge toll on me. I have worked for the past 10 years in a field where it is so difficult to make a decent living. I have applied for so many jobs, and it seems almost impossible to get out. I have been trying to do something better, and healthier for myself. I have been unemployed for the past 9 months, and it's incredible where all of my hard work and devotion has landed me. I am trying everyday to get out of this field and having it as my main job, and I am hoping for a break somewhere. And yes, I can't go back to school either right now since I already spent so much money on a social work career. I'm trying to hang in there. I very happy that I found this site because I realize I'm not the only one struggling to make a transition. It's been very difficult for me as well to get interviews for other positions out of the field. I find the whole situation pretty unbelievable, but I keep trying to make changes as much as I can everyday.

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Birdie710 in Holland, Ohio

30 months ago

Omg, reading everyones posts about social work makes me want to cry. NOT because I feel social work is such a "rewarding" field but bc I feel the EXACT SAME WAY! I HATE IT! I'm a MSW/LSW and I have less than a year left to complete my LISW. I've just been going through the motions for the past 2 yrs trying desperately to figure out a game plan aka career change but WHAT!?! Ive been in the child welfare field for 7 yrs. Prior to child welfare I worked as a clinical therapist with children ages 3-17. I feel as though I'm just punching in and out, collecting a pay check that does NOT compensate me for the work I do. I'm so tired of dealing with other peoples issues and seeing the SAME clients cycle back through the system!! I realize every profession has it's pros and cons but NOT like the social work field. I've been contemplating returning to school and going into a completely different non related field but what is the million dollar question. I'm so thankful I came across all of these posts, I no longer feel alone. Friends and family who don't work in the social work field don't get it and can't relate to what I'm feeling. At this point, I'm even considering going back to school for a Masters in Library Science!!! Peace and quiet, no crisis, set hours, no serious life threatening liable problems to solve!! Any suggestions is greatly appreciated

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Donna in West Monroe, Louisiana

30 months ago

I am an LPC and of course, my situation is the same. I had always had an interest in empowering the underdog and I've always been interested in what makes people tick. 10 years into this field, I realize the problem is too big to solve or even to put a dent in it. I no longer care what makes people tick. The jobs I've had have all been crazy and always unstable. I've had 6 jobs in the 10 years I've been in this field. My current job - I dread going in - I feel so trapped and miserable. My dictator boss doesn't help matters. I try to look on the bright side (whatever that is) and keep good boundaries with clients as not to bring their issues home with me. But there are days, I just want to get up and run screaming from my office to my car and hide. I do not want to do this anymore! I have too many student loans to go back to school and the idea of school doesn't excite me (seems now it wasn't such a good idea afterall). There are days I think I would rather live in poverty than to do this type of work another day. It is overall demeaning and I've come to believe it is a big fat joke; though it isn't very funny. I am glad to know I am not alone. I've even thought of going part-time, but I don't want to do it another minute or another day. The only thing that keeps me going is that I have responsibilities and need the money. But it makes for a miserable life.

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gnote in Long Beach, California

30 months ago

I have been trying to get out of social work. I just find it demoralizing, and, as stated by the original poster, these home visit jobs border on being scary. Sometimes the client, sometimes the area of town, plus the endless driving and burning up gas, and just the general principal that we have to go to the client. I do not think this applies to other professions. Five years ago, I went back to school and I did get a degree in a creative arts field. Yes, there are opportunities bur nothing solid quite yet. Yet, I am poorer, but happier and I have absolutely no regrets doing this late life degree. But, so many regrets about social work. Even the consultants at the center where I work (i.e.PT, OT, etc.) have less education and make more $. I can barely find any work without being bilingual. Social Work remains a field in search of greater self respect, and our current political climate does not help either. What ever happened to client motivation? Now it seems SW's are in the position to having to travel to sometimes awful conditions and learn others' language to even work. Makes me wonder how much the client values the service with everything being handed to them. I value my creative arts teacher. I need to go to her studio for lessons. I travel and pay a lot and work hard. But, would I value this as much if she showed up at my house and I did not have to pay? Food for thought.

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primalseams in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

30 months ago

hmm- disheartening to say the least. I received my msw in PA a long time ago- before licensing, then moved to LA where I got my license and worked quite happily. Moved back to Philadelphia, and my LCSW was no accepted and I had missed th grandfathering in time!!!! Contacts w/Sacramento showed that I was legit, but Harrisburg won't budge, so if I want to be considered a licensed professional I need to do it all again w/out the benefit of recently getting out of grad school. I am in my 50's!! This is going to not be easy, and I often wonder if it is worth it. But like you all I am just not sure what else I can be doing. ANd I am equally not sure if this is what I want to be doing. I can't do anymore home visits, etc. Hard stuff. A worthy cause though.

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

30 months ago

Its too bad about the LCSW licensing thing. This is really something all potential LCSWs should think about. Do you want to live in your state for the rest of your working life? If not, do you want to do the license thing all over again? Maybe I wanted to live in CA in my 20's, but not for a long time. Ask yourself where you would really like to live in your 40's, 50's. I had family in Lancaster County, but always needed to put on hold moving to PA, in part, just because of the state problems with licensing. I am finding some answers, though. In the late 1980'w I was trained to do various medical tests and went through a certificate program at a community college, and, for whatever reason, just found out my registration in the field is valid for life. Thinking of going back to this career, which pays at least as much as LCSW, where there is a high demand, and thinking of going back to the college part time for a semester for brush up and asking for an internship to build experience and references. Medical testing on people, nothing emotionally to carry home with me, no home visits, no treatment plans, little documentation, working with equipment, measurable, seeing people generally once. There are all kinds of health tech programs one can study (ultrasound, respiratory, EKG, etc.) at many community colleges.

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primalseams in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

30 months ago

You can relate to be sure gnote! At the time I certainly assumed that that license that I had worked for hard for- and in California at the tie was written and oral presentations- would tide me forever- and of course had no idea where I would be living down the road (still don't really!) and if you put things on hold cause you are raising kids......sigh.
Now I just wonder though if it would be the best thing for my brain to just try to study and take the test, It feels like a an insurmountable task, but would I better serve clients, would I be more employable? And bottom line is would having a new license make me feel more qualified and inspired. I just don't know.
It sounds like the path you are taking is a very interesting one. Congratulations!

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CloverBlue in Phoenix, Arizona

30 months ago

I have trying to leave the field of behavioral health since a friend of mine, an LPC who convinced me to leave my contract job with the government, decided to go into private practice and leave me without a job she promised to me. I still work in the field and I HATE IT. I don't make very much money, and I am only working part-time to save my sanity as it is. I have not been able to get interviews for any position other than in the behavioral health field. Student loan payments are a monthly reminder of how much I hate the field, and as much as I want to get into another field, I can't stomach the idea of going into more debt for more training. I feel disenfranchised by the whole system. Plus I deal with going out to calls for people who are psychotic, suicidal and/or homicidal. I have not been properly trained to defend myself if someone attacks me. Most of the people who are still in my job stay because they have no other choice or they themselves have lost their mental fortitude. Overall, I am angry at myself for listening to only one person about the field, and she is unscrupulous and unethical to say the least.

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

30 months ago

A few words about student loans, as this seems to be a big obstacle. When you are in school, you do make student loan payments, and there is a six month grace period before paying again. There is IBR - Income Based Repayment Plan - where your payments are based on a percentage of your income. I have read anywhere from 5% to 15%. Payments are made for 25 years, and if the loan is not repaid, it is forgiven. Also, if one has Total and Permanent Disability, one can apply to have loans forgiven. If you are 60, and starting to pay off a student loan, there are chance you will be disabled by 85, at least not employable at 85. Also, student loans are ut of control. Its so easy to get, and when its time to repay, it can be shocking. I suspect there is going to be some future government type of forgiveness program. No situation is hopeless. I really feel for all of you who believe you have no options and/or have to work in scary situations. I am not totally out of SW yet, but I have two strong options because of past degrees and certificates. Be very careful when researching student loan info on the net. There is a lot of just wrong info out there. Go to the sites that are .gov and are sponsored by the government for the best info.
Finally, student financial aid also includes grants and scholarships. The FAFSA application is designed for young kids. The system does not care if you own a house, how many previous degrees you have, or have an IRA, or some other adult markers. It is designed to mesaure income - how much you can reasonably pay, and how much the school can reasonably offer you. If you have been living on unemployment or no income, you are in the absolute best position to get financial aid, and that could include a grant. I did, and it paid for most of my 4-year degree. No situation is hopeless.

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

30 months ago

My error -- When you are in school you DO NOT make student loan payments.

gnote in Los Angeles, California said: A few words about student loans, as this seems to be a big obstacle. When you are in school, you do make student loan payments, and there is a six month grace period before paying again. There is IBR - Income Based Repayment Plan - where your payments are based on a percentage of your income. I have read anywhere from 5% to 15%. Payments are made for 25 years, and if the loan is not repaid, it is forgiven. Also, if one has Total and Permanent Disability, one can apply to have loans forgiven. If you are 60, and starting to pay off a student loan, there are chance you will be disabled by 85, at least not employable at 85. Also, student loans are ut of control. Its so easy to get, and when its time to repay, it can be shocking. I suspect there is going to be some future government type of forgiveness program. No situation is hopeless. I really feel for all of you who believe you have no options and/or have to work in scary situations. I am not totally out of SW yet, but I have two strong options because of past degrees and certificates. Be very careful when researching student loan info on the net. There is a lot of just wrong info out there. Go to the sites that are .gov and are sponsored by the government for the best info.
Finally, student financial aid also includes grants and scholarships. The FAFSA application is designed for young kids. The system does not care if you own a house, how many previous degrees you have, or have an IRA, or some other adult markers. It is designed to mesaure income - how much you can reasonably pay, and how much the school can reasonably offer you. If you have been living on unemployment or no income, you are in the absolute best position to get financial aid, and that could include a grant. I did, and it paid for most of my 4-year degree. No situation is hopeless.

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Donna in Alexandria, Louisiana

30 months ago

I would advise anyone considering behavioral health field to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction. The jobs are horrible - unstable and it is true "lunatics" are indeed running the asylyms (and I do not mean the clients). I've had 6 jobs w/in the past 10 years due to unscrupulous and unstable jobs. Employers treat you and the client as cattle. There is no real helping the client happening. It's almost as if I work a conveyer belt - instead of objects, the product is the client. As far as the clients go, I still have some empathy for them for the most part. However, their situations are so damned, that anything short of a miracle is not going to really help. Plus you have those that are trying to milk the system by feigning mental illness. I've never seen such human depravity across the board in all my life. Problem is that I am stuck. I have a ton of student loans and do not want to go back to school. I get paid fairly well so it is hard to walk away from that. I have even thought of throwing in the towel and going to work at a coffee shop - where the hardest question I have to ask is "do you want cream and sugar with that?"; I may be poor, but probably a lot less miserable. Sometimes to get through the day I just have to say to myself "it is what it is" and do what I can and then go home for the day and forget about it. I feel however that I have wasted my life working in this field.

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howard@breakthroughcoaching.cc in Leesburg, Florida

30 months ago

For each job opening in any industry, there are 20-50 highly qualified applicants. Therefore, the chances of you being seriously considered are small even if you are very qualified for the position.

The solution lies in realizing (however distressing it may be to do so) that we are no longer living in a job based economy. We are living in a free agent economy with different rules and different success strategies.

If I had a magic pill that allowed you to transition skillfully into this new economy, I would give it to you here without hesitation. Unfortunately, there is no such pill or quick fix. There is only learning and adapting to radically different marketplace conditions. That is what I do, help people to make this critical transition, while retaining your sanity and dignity in the process.

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Frustrated but Hopeful in Saint Paul, Minnesota

30 months ago

How sad for you Frustrated but Hopeful! I understand very well your frustration with our level of pay as well as some of the road blocks you run into. I try every day to count what I am thankful for in my talents; in the gifts I give to the people I work with as well as those I try to help. Sometimes there is only one or two people who I Can really make a difference with and then there are those that I can give what I can give. BUT if you spend every day focusing on the negative you might miss the doorway to your next step. There is a reason you went into this field maybe you have to go through this to find your next step. Good luck! Aquadal

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gnote in Los Angeles, California

30 months ago

I just wanted to share an answer I have found for myself. I am about finished with social work. It dawned on me recently, that I should explore a former career involving medical testing that I received a certificate in decades ago. The good news is that the college has an upgrade program, and I just got the OK to enroll in this program to get another certificate. I should be able to do this part time in one semester. I am only working part time now, anyway. Luck would have it that I happened on the right one semester out of four to do this. They cannot offer me an internship, but with there being such a need for what I want to do, I am sure I can make some calls and create my own internship for a few months. My rationale: better pay, using my skills in working with equipment, working with people, but in a different way as I give tests, little documentation, see people, but probably only once, do not need bilingual skills, for starters. There are many short-term certificate programs being offered at your local community college. The semester is starting really soon. Many of there careers pay at least as well as LCSWs and can be completed part time and in short time. So, LCSW to community college!

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N in Delmar, New York

30 months ago

Wow, I'm so glad I'm not alone feeling this way. I'm a LMSW and I want to get out of the field of social work because I'm not making enough money. I thought I wanted to be a therapist when I entered the field but I'm sick of listening to people's problems. It's also very difficult to get the LCSW. I got laid off my job at an inpatient psych unit and now I'm working out patient and has no supervision so I'm not able to get my clinical license, which would help me get paid a little bit more.
My current job is actually very low key and not stressful so this is a good time for me to think about a career change. My problem is that I have huge student loans so I can't take more loans. I'm currently considering going into health care administration, which I think is a real possibility for social workers. I just don't know how to make this transition. Before I got hired at this job I was actually offered a job as Director of Social Work at a hospital despite my few years in the social work field (3). I turned the job down because I was pregnant and did not want stress. However, the salary was not good, only 50K for a Director position, but it would have given me the title and experience to seek other jobs in administration. This is why I'm thinking that health care administration might be good? I'm also playing with the idea of getting a certificate in public health (my employer might pay for it) but I'm not sure what good it would do? I'm willing to stay in health care as long as my salary goes up.
Another option for some hospital social workers is to transition to become a RN if the hospital pay for it. I have a friend who was a social worker who got her RN degree paid for by the hospital and her salary was almost dubbeled. However, it's a lot of schooling. I'm 35 and I don't know if I want to pursue a RN degree at this point.
Let me know how everyone is doing and if you have any new ideas. Good luck to everyone!!!

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chaz in Camby, Indiana

30 months ago

Been in field since 2000 and first job offer was 24k which resulted in me laughing uncontrollably OUT LOUD at the interviewer because I thought he was joking. Being disgruntled and burn out is common. However, If you still like people but hate the salary, hate feeling underappreciated, do yourself a huge favor and go check out usajobs.gov and get a job with the federal govt. Usually starts gs-11 PERMANENT about $60,000/ yr with good ins. AND A FEDERAL PENSION.

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stuckinbeantown in Boston, Massachusetts

28 months ago

I am also in the same position as the first poster. I am also in my mid 30's and been in the social work field since I was still in my undergraduate. Fast forward today, with an MSW, 100K in student loans, after years in the field, I too am burnt out. I have had difficulty landing interviews outside SW. It really does suck. The SW field has evolved into corporate-style non-profits squeezing medicaid reimbursements out of helpless+hopeless clients. I would tell future SW to run away from the field as far as possible. Talk to current or former Social Workers. the local natl ass of SW is not helpful either. They even said now is not a good time to be in SW. I went into MSW thinking hospital job or private practice. Not too many hospital openings (politics are horrible) and the private practice field is over saturated, esp in urban, hipster areas like Boston or San Fran. Avoid Child&family services as the new CBHI wraparound system is a nightmare and adult mental field is not any better. who wants to work with the elderly? or in school systems overwhelmed with trying to educate kids, what more with trying to "put out the fires" kids bring to school? My advice? network with people in other fields you are interested NOW. Don't wait, even if you already started MSW or still have a job you hate. I wish I networked while still in previous SW jobs. It's a matter of finding your transferable skills and spinning your background into other fields.

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Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts

28 months ago

I agree with all of you! I would also like to get out of SW. There must be a way for intelligent educated hard working professionalS to find some reward in our working life. we definitely deserve it. SW is just not rewarding! I thought once I worked at it and got to the Director level it would be more rewarding, BUT it is just more regulations, headaches, and loads of paperwork. I look every day for some other job opportunites. I have thought about HR but it looks like it would be very difficult to make the career change. Let's keep on discussing. There must be a way!!

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gnote in Long Beach, California

28 months ago

There are ways to get out of social work, and make changes. Just believe you can do it. I am almost 60, and I decided to go back to a community college this semester part time and renew my skills in a technical medical testing field where their is high demand. I even have two job offers! Now I will still be working with people, but in a different way and there will be little documentation to worry about. I have friends who are going into new careers, such as paralegal. There are many certificate programs at universities and colleges tailored for adults that can help one transition to something else and, most importantly, help you meet people in other fields and network. The best jobs are probably not even advertised. I agree that social work has become a morass of regulations and documentation. When I started social work in the 90's, it really was different, and seemed to have a heart, but now it is just about making the documentation right. Take you skills in working with people, problem solving, and working as a team to another field. Not everyone in the work force has good people skills, and, if you are in social work, there is a good chance you do!

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LCSW girl in Homewood, Illinois

28 months ago

I have to say...it is refreshing(and scary) to happen upon thsi website and see ALL of these frustrated sociak workers who are feeling the exact same way that I feel!! I agree with the other posters that Social Work is frustrating. I thought I was alone when I found myself experiencing a great deal of difficulty making a career change. It's seems ot be hard to take the skills I have and show employers that they can be applied to other professions (many other professions). I have been looking for a career change on/off for 1.5 years and I;ve at least put in 80+ applications (many in careers outside of Social Work) and I'm just not getting any bites.

In my frustration (and because I enjoy learning), I made the decision to return to school for a 2nd masters. And what's funny, is that the degree will be in a subject that I considered getting my undergraduate degree in, but I felt my job options would be limited so, I didn't pursue it at the time. I have returne to school to obtain a 2nd masters in Public Health and for the first time is a few year...I'm excited! I have no clue what I'm going to do with the degree AND I shutter to think about the amount of student loans I'll have when this is all over. But, my peace of mind if worth it!! It's amazing how doing something that interests you can reinvigorate you! One good thing is that the loan payments are suspended while I'm in school.

Another poster mentioned working for the government. I currently work for the government and I have to say, the pay isn't something that I have to complain about. The Dept of Vet Affairs employes more social workers than any other federal agency. So, I say, if you don't mind the bueracracy and a few other issues, I think working for the government is a pretty good change to make. I encourage some of you all to take a look at the usajobs.gov website.

I really hope this helps! And I too am taking suggestions on how to make a career change, so any information would he helpful.

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pwig in Toledo, Ohio

28 months ago

It is wonderful to see that I am not the only one going through this nonsense. I still feel love for Social Work but I too am no longer up to listening to people's problems. I left PA with an LSW to move back to Ohio and I no one has offered any interviews to me. I was wondering if anyone knows about transitioning into HR management? I have both grad and undergrad degrees in Social Work so would I need to obtain another 4 yr degree? Good luck to all of you who are in this mess too

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pwig in Toledo, Ohio

28 months ago

It is wonderful to see that I am not the only one going through this nonsense. I still feel love for Social Work but I too am no longer up to listening to people's problems. I left PA with an LSW to move back to Ohio and I no one has offered any interviews to me. I was wondering if anyone knows about transitioning into HR management? I have both grad and undergrad degrees in Social Work so would I need to obtain another 4 yr degree? Good luck to all of you who are in this mess too

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gnote in Long Beach, California

28 months ago

My suggestion to many of you is to investigate certificate programs for adults that are available at many universities and colleges. I have seen programs related to human resources, and many other areas that, I think, would help with a transition. I am currently in an upgrade program at a local college designed for registered people in my medical testing field. As far as I am concerned, it is not so much the coursework, although that is important, but it is the personal contacts I am making. And, the instructor often announces job openings at the beginning of class too. Outside of them, I also suggest requesting an informational interview with someone in HR. This is not a job interview, but a request to sit down with an HR pro and ask questions. I have heard that departments are open to, and appreciate people being interested in doing these types of interviews. You can find more on a search about this topic.

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kelbel in Los Angeles, California

28 months ago

gnote in Los Angeles, California said: Its too bad about the LCSW licensing thing. This is really something all potential LCSWs should think about. Do you want to live in your state for the rest of your working life? If not, do you want to do the license thing all over again? Maybe I wanted to live in CA in my 20's, but not for a long time. Ask yourself where you would really like to live in your 40's, 50's. I had family in Lancaster County, but always needed to put on hold moving to PA, in part, just because of the state problems with licensing. I am finding some answers, though. In the late 1980'w I was trained to do various medical tests and went through a certificate program at a community college, and, for whatever reason, just found out my registration in the field is valid for life. Thinking of going back to this career, which pays at least as much as LCSW, where there is a high demand, and thinking of going back to the college part time for a semester for brush up and asking for an internship to build experience and references. Medical testing on people, nothing emotionally to carry home with me, no home visits, no treatment plans, little documentation, working with equipment, measurable, seeing people generally once. There are all kinds of health tech programs one can study (ultrasound, respiratory, EKG, etc.) at many community colleges.

You stated that you use to be a Medical Tester. How due you become on and what's the actual title of that position and where can you go to school for that? Thx in advance......

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gnote in Long Beach, California

28 months ago

Keibel, many community colleges in CA have certificate and associate degree programs in various health tech fields. As an example, Orange Coast College offers these programs, and more: ultrasound tech, cardiovascular tech diagnostic sonography, EKG tech, neurodiagnostic tech, radiologic (XRay) tech, and respiratory tech. As you know, it does not cost much to attend a community college, although there are waiting lists for some of these programs and prerequisites. The programs have clinical site requirements, so, when you graduate, you will be able to perform the tasks of the job. Just doing a check of other community colleges in LA and OC and searching the college name and allied health brought up even more career options at various colleges.

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CC in Beaverton, Oregon

27 months ago

unemployed & frustrated in New City, New York said: I am in my late thirties and have been a clinical social worker for my entire adult working life. I have experience in a variety of mental health, addiction treatment, and non profit settings. My work experience includes outpatient therapy, inpatient psychiatric social work, psychiatric emergency program evaluation, domestic violence program management, mental health case management, and residential drug treatment. I was laid off by my last employer twice in the past year (they laid me off, rehired me for another department, and layed me off again 6 months later). The last layoff was a blessing because despite the fact that I was making a very good salary, the job was demoralizing, depressing, and worst of all, dangerous. Additionally, I have been extremely disenchanted with the social work field for many years and would love to exit the human service and healthcare field entirely. I HATE it. I search the employment ads, go on interviews, and feel stuck. So many of the social work jobs entail home visits, which I have found unsafe and stressful. I decline job offers that involve case management, hospitals, and home visits, because I just can't do it anymore. Private practice was my goal when I obtained my masters degree, but I have zero interest and no motivation for that anymore. I am open minded about a creer change and apply to jobs outside the field, that I know I could perform well, where skills could be transferable, such as human resources, sales, entry level corporate, etc. but I don't land the interviews. I feel like social work has rendered me unemployable outside the field. Due to ridiculous student loans from grad school, and my current unemployment status, I am not in a position to return to college at this time. Has anyone here made a successful transition from social work to another career field? If so, how did you accomplish this goal? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

I a

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CC in Beaverton, Oregon

27 months ago

CC in Beaverton, Oregon said: I a

I am experiencing similar difficulties except that I have a BS in Psychology. I never persued a Masters for several reasons. 1) It wasn't cost effective. Why pay $40k for a masters when I would only get paid $5-$6 more an hour? 2) I've been working in inpatient psychiatric units for the last decade doing the exact same work as people with master's (minus making treatment plans). Why go pay for the initials when Im already doing the work?

Recently ALL the hospital psychiatric units in my area have gone to a "nursing model". Basically rendering all Mental Health Therapist's useless. All but about 4 Therapist's / Social Workers have had their positions eliminated. We had the choice to either stay on as "Mental Health Aids" or get laid off. A Mental Health Aid is basically a Mental Health CNA. No thank you, being a CNA has never been a career goal of mine. Wiping the $hit filled a$$ of a geri psych patient is not on my bucket list...

So like most of you I have been looking for jobs outside of the Mental health field where I believe my skills could be transferable. And like many of you I have been "shuned" in this search. I was even told at one point that I have "pigeon holed" myself.

I too have looked into HR, but most HR jobs require certificates in HR and most even require experience specifically in HR before they will consider you.

I have tried corporations such as Nike and Adidas seeing as both of their headquarters are here in my area. No bites on applications.

The way I see it, I have 2 job options left.. The correctional system. It pays well, has retirement but again Im working with broken people, whom Ive lost all empathy for and quite honestly don't care about. 2) Grocery stores. The pay sucks, yet I can use my "excellent customer service skills" and work with people who are not generally psychotic, broken or infected with various documented communicable diseases.

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kelbel in Los Angeles, California

27 months ago

Wow... It's a lot too think about... I'll let you know what I decide... The best of look to you in whatever career path you decide to take....

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smiles844 in Horseheads, New York

27 months ago

O my gosh! I thought I was the only one feeling this way, but like another poster stated, I'd rather be poor then SO misreable every day doing this...It would be different if the people you work with cared and wanted change for themselves, but they really don't-most of them don't even see an issue with the way their life currently is. I dread the thought of coming to work every day and actually started looking at other jobs-having a hard time though b/c I'm really only qualified for the social work field and I'm not in a posistion to return to school either. I actually started my own business through Dove Chocolate the end of last year. I love this job and am hoping for it to get to the point where I can quit my current job and never think about woking social work again! If any one is interested, definitly check them out at dovechocolatediscoveries.com It is so worth the lesser pay to not dread waking every morning and having to go to work a job you HATE.

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Bob Osenenko,Ed.D. in South River, New Jersey

27 months ago

There are good manufacturing jobs for welders and work on US infrastructure.You should try it. Salaries can be as much as $186,000 per year.

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birdie710

27 months ago

Why don't we all write a book on our experiences with being social workers??!! Or we can write a "Chicken Soup" for the social workers soul, although not even chicken soup could ease the social workers soul!

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birdie710

27 months ago

Why don't we all write a book on our experiences with being social workers??!! Or we can write a "Chicken Soup" for the social workers soul, although not even chicken soup could ease the social workers soul!

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Lisa in New York, New York

27 months ago

Hello Everyone, WOW......After reading all the comments I realized I am not the only one in the position of trying to help people who burn you out and don't want to help themselves. I have tons of students loans from my BA and MA degrees my salary is over $50,000 but in this economy that doesnt seem like a whole lot of money. I also have my LPC and work as an Adjunct Professor; this is actually a better paying job that my 1st job, it pays a lot more but it is only part time. I am deseparately seeking another field where I can use my skills and expertise to grow learn and make more money. This field is a burnout, you spread yourself thin each and everyday, does any one else even care.

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primalseams in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

27 months ago

I understand how everyone feels- But it makes me sad when I hear trained social workers being so frustrated- w/the "system" yes, but these are such desperate times for everyone. Thank goodness for social workers who are willing to go the extra mile to help those in need. Wish there was more support for those of us who went into the field w/every intent of being of service. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that is why we are here. Hard yes, but so many are helped by our support.
Good luck to all. And hope when we "have had enough" we are able to move on to something else.

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primalseams in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

27 months ago

I totally get the frustration everyone is sharing. But it does make me sad. We chose to be in this field to be of service to others. That takes a certain kind of person and everyone should be thanked and commended for that. These are the hardest of times for folks. We are providing a service to people in need. They may not express their appreciation well, and our agencies may not either. That really isn't why we went to social work school I think. So take care of yourselves. You are special kids of folk to be caring for others the way in which you do. We need that desperately.

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Lisa ....exhausted

27 months ago

I agree wirh you we as professionals chose this field but who takes care of us when we arw down to the last wire and burned out? Thats why im lookung for a difderent occupation because I cant be good at looking out for others qhen I gotta help me first. What can I offer people when I cant help myself.

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primalseams in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

27 months ago

Didn't mean to "double-post." Computer glitches... I know, it is super hard and exhausting. I do get that totally.

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pfishermsw in Darby, Pennsylvania

26 months ago

I have to agree with everyone on this thread! I have a MSW and I plan on obtaining my LSW just to have it for "clinical" reasons. However, I am leaving the field! I find that the work is too demanding and the pay to too ridiculous (too low for my degree and 5 years experience in the field)! I don't feel respected or valued. I am fortunate to get a position working for a university doing "research". My educational goals is to earn a masters degree in public health part-time and then return to school full-time in order to obtain a BSN/MSN in nursing. I enjoying helping others but I also have to be realistic when it comes to my own needs. I have to earn a living too. At 28 y.o. its embarrassing to be living at home with my parents with all of the credentials I have obtained just because I don't make enough to efficiently live on my own. I wish everyone the best of luck in transition to another field.

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gnote in Long Beach, California

26 months ago

You sound very ambitious, pfishermsw. That is a lot of schooling ahead of you. I should know, because I have an associate degree, two bachelor's degree, a post BA certificate, a MSW, and am an LCSW. The LCSW took over two years, because of the internship.

I do not know, of course, your financial situation, or anything else, but why not just go for the BSN/MSN and start earning better money sooner! There are so many options in nursing. And, be careful about borrowing money with student loans. They eventually have to be paid and can really cost a lot.

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gnote in Long Beach, California

26 months ago

That's a lot of school, p. Why not just go for the BSN/MSN? There are so many options in nursing.

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pfishermsw in Darby, Pennsylvania

26 months ago

gnote in Long Beach, California said: That's a lot of school, p. Why not just go for the BSN/MSN? There are so many options in nursing.

Hi Gnote,

Thank you for your response! I know, I have to endure more school but I'm up for it! Also, as for debt, I owe a lot since my MSW is from an Ivy League institution. As for loans, I don't want to take out anymore. I plan on entering a program that will pay me to attend their school through a scholarship or grant geared towards men entering the field. I wish I have known sooner because I would have pursued a BSN first then specialized in Psych nursing. I would have been doing the same thing but making more money and obtaining better skills in medication management, nutrition, and health promotion and education in addition to my clinical training.

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gnote in Long Beach, California

26 months ago

Hi pfishermsw,
Sounds like you have a solid plan. I totally understand wanting to get the right education. Best of luck with your plans!

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