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McSmith in Mableton, Georgia

72 months ago

I'm a recent graduate with a BSW having trouble finding a job with my degree. I love Social Work and am proud to have my BSW degree, but I'm getting caught in the old "no experience- no job, no job- no experience" trap. I am highly interested in working in Medical Social Work and realize that I will need an LCSW to do this.

I had initally planned to spend the year after graduation getting experience in the field using my BSW to take a break from school and either save up for or find a company that would reimburse tuition for the MSW. I haven't had any offers since May after applying to over 70 SW jobs and I'm now working at a menial $8/hr 3rd shift retail job to pay the bills. Right now I'm open to anything better, but it seems my resume is spontaneously combusting out there and my degree doesn't mean anything.

I'm researching my options now and it seems that I might be better off getting an RN degree. There are a few accelerated RN programs for people already holding 4 year degrees in my area. I think I'd really enjoy being a nurse, plus the extrensic benifits are much greater (pay, respect...) Has anyone else taken this track?

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Joe in Toronto, Ontario

70 months ago

Iam not sure if I have the same problem. I have a nursing degree but I need it to be accredited to work in the states or here in toronto, I ended up working as a social worker (case manager) which is half the pay of what an RN makes. Iam now stuck with the same question of MSW or accreditation of my RN.. right now i am inclining to going back to being an RN. The reason is that as an RN, you may have oppurtunities to work in as very simmilar field of community service as a community health nurse maybe. So i would suggest for you to venture in taking nursing as well because no-experience nurses still get hired, you just need to pass the NCLEX. Once you get exp from nursing, then you can probably go branch into community health nursing, then back to SW jobs (if you REALLY want SW).. anyway, good luck to wherever you may roam..

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louise in North Las Vegas, Nevada

69 months ago

McSmith in Mableton, Georgia said: I'm a recent graduate with a BSW having trouble finding a job with my degree. I love Social Work and am proud to have my BSW degree, but I'm getting caught in the old "no experience- no job, no job- no experience" trap. I am highly interested in working in Medical Social Work and realize that I will need an LCSW to do this.

I had initally planned to spend the year after graduation getting experience in the field using my BSW to take a break from school and either save up for or find a company that would reimburse tuition for the MSW. I haven't had any offers since May after applying to over 70 SW jobs and I'm now working at a menial $8/hr 3rd shift retail job to pay the bills. Right now I'm open to anything better, but it seems my resume is spontaneously combusting out there and my degree doesn't mean anything.

I'm researching my options now and it seems that I might be better off getting an RN degree. There are a few accelerated RN programs for people already holding 4 year degrees in my area. I think I'd really enjoy being a nurse, plus the extrensic benifits are much greater (pay, respect...) Has anyone else taken this track?

5 Dec 08
Apply for a state social service job. The will pay will be low until you get a master degree in social work but you will gain experience. Or apply for a federal job in social science series 0101. With a BSW you only have to go to school for 1 additional year which is less expensive than a 2 year graduate program. There are plenty of social work programs that are inexpensive. Go for a clinical program and do a medical internship. Once you receive the MSW the military may assist with paying back student loans. It would take just as long to attend a nursing program.

Good luck

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Deb in Loudonville, Ohio

62 months ago

I have 20 years experience as a medical social worker. I have a MSW and an LISW in Ohio. I have been laid off of 3 jobs in the past 2 years due to funding cuts. Over the years that I have practiced I have seen more and more medical social work functions turned over to RNs. It is even occuring in the mental health field, where LPNs and RNs are doing case management and psychotherapy just with a nursing license.

If you want to do "social service" work in the medical field, get an RN. The social work jobs are drying up. I am currently unemployed for the past 6 months, have sent out over 100 resumes, and am getting no calls.

Good luck to you in whatever you choose.

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Woman on A Journey MSW 09 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

61 months ago

Deb in Loudonville, Ohio said: I have 20 years experience as a medical social worker. I have a MSW and an LISW in Ohio. I have been laid off of 3 jobs in the past 2 years due to funding cuts. Over the years that I have practiced I have seen more and more medical social work functions turned over to RNs. It is even occuring in the mental health field, where LPNs and RNs are doing case management and psychotherapy just with a nursing license.

If you want to do "social service" work in the medical field, get an RN. The social work jobs are drying up. I am currently unemployed for the past 6 months, have sent out over 100 resumes, and am getting no calls.

Good luck to you in whatever you choose.

Hi, Deb:
All I can say is "WOW"! 20 years of experience and no prospects after sending out 100 resumes. . .I sincerely hope that your situation has improved since your posting. I am a new MSW and thought that I had it bad in terms of employment prospects. Thank you for sharing your experience albeit a very challenging one.
I will be 26 in less than 2 months and have yet to have my 1st full time professional, paid social work job despite completing a BSW in '07 and MSW this year. I love working in the medical field but am not partial to the hospital. I have actually given strong consideration to pursing a career as a nurse practitioner.

Bottomline: Medical social workers are better paid than most other social workers but still not paid enough (esp. compared to RN case managers). The lack of respect of SWs is also deplorable. It a sad, hard cold truth--but we must face it. I was turned down not once but twice by an RN, Director of Case Management who said I needed an MSW--I have an MSW but no job!

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Newbsw in Hinesville, Georgia

60 months ago

I don't understand it I know I don't have a master's but give me a break I can't get any perspective jobs I starting to feel like my degree is useful as a degree in basket weaving. I worked so hard in college top of my class!! Yet nothing I'm so discourage if there's no hope for people with MSw's I really feeling discourage and it's said now they have nursing doing our job it's not enough that we have to compete with all the other social sciences now RN's. If there were more men in the field and social workers were not so sterotyped, maybe I could find a job.....losing hope in this profession:(

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Mo7514 in Boston, Massachusetts

60 months ago

I agree with all the comments. There are many hospitals in Boston, but over the last 10 years the lengths of stay have decreased and insurance companies are putting on the pressure to move people along. The Social Work Departments have disappeared and what is left of the social workers is absorbed into the Case Management Departments.
I finally moved into home visits, which is much more fullfilling, but all the things I'm interested in are RN dominated. It appears to be a respected degree. I think people minimize the skill involved in working with people. If I had to do it over again I would become an RN and then I could work as a Geriatric Care Manager, which is essentially the same work I'm doing now at probably half the annual wage.

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newgal220 in New Bern, North Carolina

59 months ago

try a local hospice. . .they hire BSW's and/or MSW's AND the one I worked for had tuition reimbursement - - of course, 'provided you wanted to continue to work there for a length of time. Also you mught try your local Social Services (which you may have done already). Be prepared to make only $8 to start - - you won't get that dream job in a couple months.You may want to volunteer at an agency that just might hire you first. .

I began my second career path @ age 50. ..started out making 6/hr as a substitute teacher and had to get food stamps and declare bankruptcy in the middle of a divorce too ! I now earn over three times that as a Social Worker II with just my bachelor's ....YOU CAN DO IT !

newgal....

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newgal220 in New Bern, North Carolina

59 months ago

getting your licensure is a definite must as well. Check out what level of education your state requires before taking the test. Contact your local labor and licensing board for details.

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dprock503 in Salem, Oregon

59 months ago

Wow i have just started my schooling for BSW and i have heard from fellow state workers that they are having the same trouble. It is kinda discouraging to hear this news. If i wanted to be a RN i would have taken courses for that instead of social work.I will try and stay with this anyway. Hoping for the best.

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newgal220 in New Bern, North Carolina

59 months ago

dprock-Your best bet is be persistent ! It's not so much the field but the prospects in any area are unpredictable these days. The growing trend in SW is in gerontology. And think about all those men/women coming home from Iraq. They are going to need social services - - including counseling. Don't get discouraged !
newgal

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Deon Lambright in Elloree, South Carolina

55 months ago

I've been experiencing the exact deliemas.I would really like some input on the next field of study.

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Womanonajourney, MSW 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

55 months ago

It has been 9, almost 10 months since I graduated with my MSW and I am still unemployed. I apply to local grocery stores, jobs that don't require a college degree--let alone a MSW. I have looked in my city & larger cities. . .Birmingham, Mobile, Hunstville, & Montgomery--but have found nothing. I am going back to school to get an degree in nursing--what I considered before pursuing the MSW. Proof that you should always follow your 1st "mind". I love social work & plan to use the skills gained through my experience & education to be the best advocate I can be for patients. I considered the PhD in social work but I am not interest in doing research nor do I feel that it would enhance my prospects as most universities require 2 yrs post-MSW experience. I love people, I love the helping profession--I just want to be apart of one that provides more opportunity & that will enable me to take care of my family not cause me too to rely upon the very welfare system that I wanted to work to change. If you cannot find a job as a BSW, I do not recommend pursuing a MSW--that was my mistake. Social programs are being cut all the time, in hospital or other organizations where social workers are consider ancillary often and are currently cutting jobs. I have amassed nearly $70,000 in debt and have an 8 year old daughter to raise. At 26 with a MSW, going back to school is not my ideal choice but it is the only choice I have. As my favorite quote says, "Life is 10% of what happens to you and the other 90% is how you react to it".
I wish you all the best in whatever path you pursue!

Woman on A Journey, MSW 2009 AKA apathetic unemployed social worker

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heartstringz in Brisbane, Australia

55 months ago

I'm in Australia and it's just as bad here. I graduated in December 2008 with a Bachelor of Social Work and have had two interviews in the year since then. I've applied for countless jobs, and mostly I don't even get to the interview stage cause I do not have enough experience.

The employers are telling me that my voluntary work and uni work experience is irrelevant, and that they require at least two years full-time experience. That is stupid as I can't possibly have that straight out of uni.

The latest thing I'm being told is 'oh, you haven't worked in the industry since graduation. That obviously means you don't really want to do it, so why should we employ you?' No, it's because no-one will give me a chance.

I'm working casually in a shop but I don't really want to do that my entire life. That is why I wasted four years at university - so that I wouldn't have to do that. Stupid me - what a waste of time. I should have known it was too good to be true!

I'm looking at doing a Certificate 3 in Child Care - maybe that will get me a job. They don't seem to want as much experience as the social work industry.

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don't recall in Fayetteville, North Carolina

55 months ago

'don't know what the industry can bear in your location. That degree just may help you someday.
I had to start over when I was 50 - - -that BSSW was MY redemption...but I had to wander through the deserts of substitute teaching, receptionist for a shrinkwrap company, and in the meantime, food stamps, divorce and bankruptcy were on my agenda. The great part is I got past that. Live it out. tomorrow may show you something you like alot more !hang in there

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amc in Narellan, Australia

54 months ago

Hello to all, I live in sydney Australia but my husband is from North Carolina. I have recently started to look into sw opportunities in the US - trying to get info on what I need to do to become eligible for work in the NC area. I have over 10 yrs experience in rehabilitation and medical sw and have worked in hospital settings for last 10 yrs. I was interested in the posts on this site (aussie replies as well as those people who live in the states). In Sydney I think new grads and overseas sw's have it much easier in terms of sw jobs especially in the medical sector. This may be due to more vacancies? From my understanding (which is not yet comprehensive!) I beleive a BSW in australia is equiv to the masters in sw in the us. I havent quite got my head around all the license requirement in the states - such as, I you have a lic to practice in say NC does this mean you can practice in Georgia - or do you need to apply again? In Australia we have the australian association of social workers. We do not have to be licensed to be a sw practitioner but we do have to be eligible for membership. This is Aust-wide. Sw's in australia are also able to apply to practice as mental health sw's - you need to be licensed for this but it is not hard to get - some ed and exp in mental health issues, along with your BSW will suffice. Basically, this means you can work privately and get referals for general practitioners. It also means a substantial increase in pay. I have also looked up sw pay/awards. In Sydney for a senior sw its approx 73,000 pa. I have read sw in the states does not pay the equivalent.I wish all of you the best in your professional lives (hey! you can always apply to AASW and come down under for work!)
Q: how many social workers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: depends, does the light bulb want to be changed? (and they pay me for this??)

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amc in Narellan, Australia

54 months ago

Ever thought of relocating to NSW? More jobs in the city and area health have some vacacies now - (they have a new grad program as well.) Although I can see why someone would want to stay in QLD! Good luck with the job hunting. Keep looking, I hope you get a fabulous offer... and soon!

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heartstringz in Brisbane, Australia

54 months ago

amc in Narellan, Australia said: Ever thought of relocating to NSW? More jobs in the city and area health have some vacacies now - (they have a new grad program as well.) Although I can see why someone would want to stay in QLD! Good luck with the job hunting. Keep looking, I hope you get a fabulous offer... and soon!

Yeh, I have considered it. I am fairly settled here, plus I have next to no money having spent the last year working three shifts a week in a shop, so I'm not sure if I could afford to move interstate. However, I'm getting pretty desperate and will try anything, so if you could post links to some of those jobs that would be much appreciated.

By the way, I'm glad you've had good experiences with the AASW, I've had nothing but fob offs and 'not my problems' when I've tried to seek help from them - because I cant afford the ridiculous amount of money it costs to join, so I am not a member. At least they have been good to you - I'm glad they are helpful to some people! :)

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amc in Narellan, Australia

54 months ago

Have a look at area health site: www.sswahs.gov.au there are job vac posted online. If you have no luck I would be happy to email you vacancies from a site I access at work (if you dont mind posting your email addy on this site). The AASW havent exactly been useful - no replies to info re workig overseas, I had to look stuff up myself. But still, I pay monthly fees for membership. I dont think I would unless I was working ft as a sw though. The AASW does have a locum site that has pos vacant, thats about the only plus of you joining. Let me know how you go or if you want additional links.
Cheers

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amc in Narellan, Australia

54 months ago

heartstringz in Brisbane, Australia said: Yeh, I have considered it. I am fairly settled here, plus I have next to no money having spent the last year working three shifts a week in a shop, so I'm not sure if I could afford to move interstate. However, I'm getting pretty desperate and will try anything, so if you could post links to some of those jobs that would be much appreciated.

By the way, I'm glad you've had good experiences with the AASW, I've had nothing but fob offs and 'not my problems' when I've tried to seek help from them - because I cant afford the ridiculous amount of money it costs to join, so I am not a member. At least they have been good to you - I'm glad they are helpful to some people! :)

www.health.nsw.gov.au/jobs/recruitment.asp
Forgot to add link - maybe try that too

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be that as it may in San Francisco, California

52 months ago

try california; moved her 8 years ago because of poor pay in midwest; within a year i was making 70k, then 3 years i was making 100K; i was 34 y.o. at the time; slowed down to 80k now but options are available including extra pay or part time. its a vast difference from the 30k pay in the midwest. there are options. nonprofits pay 50's, government 70-80's and for profits in between; management moves you up to 80+. It isn't unusual to see MSW's as the director of health or some such title; just a person with a skill set, as is a RN or MD, then some luck and most often, political manipulation.

one important thing to remember is the pay, though nice, isn't a reflection of the value of your skill set for your community; it is a reflection of a confused societies priorities. one more thing, its never healthy to talk in term of "i am a social worker" as its too self identifying or "i am a nurse", for just the same reason. It sets a stage for competition between people when at the heart of each person is an intention to help in some way, to feel they are valuable. figure out what is passionate for you to do, get the skill set, do it!; then adjust your life choices.

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Learning Something New Everyday in California

52 months ago

be that as it may in San Francisco, California said: try california; moved her 8 years ago because of poor pay in midwest; within a year i was making 70k, then 3 years i was making 100K; i was 34 y.o. at the time; slowed down to 80k now but options are available including extra pay or part time. its a vast difference from the 30k pay in the midwest. there are options. nonprofits pay 50's, government 70-80's and for profits in between; management moves you up to 80+. It isn't unusual to see MSW's as the director of health or some such title; just a person with a skill set, as is a RN or MD, then some luck and most often, political manipulation.

one important thing to remember is the pay, though nice, isn't a reflection of the value of your skill set for your community; it is a reflection of a confused societies priorities. one more thing, its never healthy to talk in term of "i am a social worker" as its too self identifying or "i am a nurse", for just the same reason. It sets a stage for competition between people when at the heart of each person is an intention to help in some way, to feel they are valuable. figure out what is passionate for you to do, get the skill set, do it!; then adjust your life choices.

But how do you afford to live in San Francisco? Because everything there is so sky high. I live in Stockton,CA and was considering SW but I want to make enough to support myself and I love the bay area. SF is one of my favorite cities!

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Gamebreaker71 in Memphis, Tennessee

51 months ago

I amazed at some of the posts that I have read about not being able to find employment with a BSW. Borrowing a phrase from the real estate profession; Location! Location! Location! Sometimes you will have to move where they are hiring social workers to gain employment. Many jobs may not say "social worker" but are in the social work field. Non-degreed positiion as mental health technicians or community counselors are starting points with someone with a BSW to apply for. Don't let status prevent you from gaining experience. Look at every mental health facilty, private and public for a position. Open up the yellow pages and look at all the schools, substance abuse clinics, hospice, criminal justice center, probation office and churches to see if they are in need of your services. Only applying to jobs that are advertised will not get you job most of the time. The internet is not all knowing, some footwork or field work is always required when looking for employment.You are a social worker and you got to go and hustle a little more. If a social worker cannot empower themselves, then how can we empower others?

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holliday in Modesto, California

49 months ago

be that as it may in San Francisco, California said: try california; moved her 8 years ago because of poor pay in midwest; within a year i was making 70k, then 3 years i was making 100K; i was 34 y.o. at the time; slowed down to 80k now but options are available including extra pay or part time. its a vast difference from the 30k pay in the midwest. there are options. nonprofits pay 50's, government 70-80's and for profits in between; management moves you up to 80+. It isn't unusual to see MSW's as the director of health or some such title; just a person with a skill set, as is a RN or MD, then some luck and most often, political manipulation.

one important thing to remember is the pay, though nice, isn't a reflection of the value of your skill set for your community ; it is a reflection of a confused societies priorities. one more thing, its never healthy to talk in term of "i am a social worker" as its too self identifying or "i am a nurse", for just the same reason. It sets a stage for competition between people when at the heart of each person is an intention to help in some way, to feel they are valuable. figure out what is passionate for you to do, get the skill set, do it!; then adjust your life choices.

This is one of the best posts that I have read. You are absolutely right. Being careful on how we carry ourselves is essental to this career choice. Very Well said....

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holliday in Modesto, California

49 months ago

Gamebreaker71 in Memphis, Tennessee said: I amazed at some of the posts that I have read about not being able to find employment with a BSW. Borrowing a phrase from the real estate profession; Location! Location! Location! Sometimes you will have to move where they are hiring social workers to gain employment. Many jobs may not say "social worker" but are in the social work field. Non-degreed positiion as mental health technicians or community counselors are starting points with someone with a BSW to apply for. Don't let status prevent you from gaining experience. Look at every mental health facilty, private and public for a position. Open up the yellow pages and look at all the schools, substance abuse clinics, hospice , criminal justice center, probation office and churches to see if they are in need of your services. Only applying to jobs that are advertised will not get you job most of the time. The internet is not all knowing, some footwork or field work is always required when looking for employment.You are a social worker and you got to go and hustle a little more. If a social worker cannot empower themselves, then how can we empower others?

You are absolutely right that as a Social Worker you are there to empower those around you by giving them the resources they need to succeed or to feel their goals are reachable. I do have to mention that one of the greatest strengths you can have as a Social Worker is the ability to know when you need help yourself. Although we are here to help others, we can not do so without helping ourselves. I have noticed with many of the posts that it is not a lack of hope that they are lacking but more of what direction to pursue. I commend those who seek advice from others who are directly involved with what they are pursuing. Thanks for all the advice.

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holliday in Modesto, California

49 months ago

I am 30 and live in California, I am currently debating wiether I should purse a degree is Social Work first or Nursing. I want to obtain both to succeed in a job working with those who need help adjusting to a tramtic life altering experience. I now know from all the helpful posts it would be best to accomplish the RN degree first then accent it with the BSW. I feel it is wonderful that we have the technology today to hear opinion and advice from others all over the world without even knowing them. This is a wonderful resource. Thank all of you for all your words of wisdom. I wish you all the best in your lives.

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MOrgana in San Francisco, California

44 months ago

Hi - I am currently in California and trying to get my australian BSW evaluated as a MSW over here - it seems impossible - do you have any advice???

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Aud in Sydney, Australia

44 months ago

Hi, maybe try contacting the Australian association of social workers (aasw) via their web site, they will have info about practicing sw in aust. You can always drop them an email or even contact the sw department at one of the universities here. In Sydney there is university of western Sydney, Sydney university or catholic college. The aasw website should have the criteria required. Good luck, regardless of the current environment there are sw positions available, it's jjust a matter of doing some work.

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Aud in Sydney, Australia

44 months ago

Sorry, read your post wrong! If you contact the sw licensing board in your state they will have info about what you need to do. When I looked into working in sc I noted I needed to apply, which costs, and needed all of my uni transcripts, with the university's seal. Again, good luck with it all!

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mariposa in New City, New York

39 months ago

Deb in Loudonville, Ohio said: I have 20 years experience as a medical social worker. I have a MSW and an LISW in Ohio. I have been laid off of 3 jobs in the past 2 years due to funding cuts. Over the years that I have practiced I have seen more and more medical social work functions turned over to RNs. It is even occuring in the mental health field, where LPNs and RNs are doing case management and psychotherapy just with a nursing license

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Mel in Hamilton in Ottawa, Ontario

39 months ago

Just a small bit of advice. Get your MSW. I have been a social worker for 20 years- was a supervisor even and I have been looking for work for 7 months, applied to 40 jobs and nothing. It might be worth the extra year of school.

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Paloma in New City, New York

39 months ago

I have been looking for 18 months for a social work position. I have been in the field for 15 years. I am a licensed clinical social worker and have my masters since 1991 and have been a CSW since then and then transferred in 2002 to LCSW. It does not pay money to be a social worker onlyn be one if money is not the issue. I was offered a job at a subtances abuse facility and the next day the qualifications were changed and I was promised a re-interview which never materialized and the job was filled. There are many unethical practices happening in all fields as well as social work.

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SKelly in Torrington, Connecticut

37 months ago

I would like some advice from some of the nurses out there. I am 41 year old male and have a job here in CT at a hospital as a team leader for 3 neurobehavioral units. I help run the units and deal with most of the behavioral issues, being a behavioralists. I make around 60,000 per year. I work with alot of different clinicians from neuropsychologists, occupational therapist, SLPs, and nurses. The thing with my job is that this position is has high as I can go with advancement. If I were to pursue an RN degree it would be at a college here in CT that offer flexible classes so that I can continue to work and go to school but the last semester of this program it looks like I would have to quit my position and take a step down to complete the program and get the RN degree. My question is: do you think it would be worth the sacrifice of quitting my management position to get an RN degree? Do you think it would pay off in the long run? I am definetly interested in a career as a nurse but again it would mean that I would have to quit my job and step down to a counselor position (alot less pay) to get it accomplished. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Matt in Paris, Texas

35 months ago

I am finishing my MSW this year. I am unable to work for the Military, but that seems like a great way to get to an MSW/LCSW. I work in Oklahoma and we need social workers. If you are willing to move there are some great jobs. Try www.oklahomatherapy.com

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JDalm in Miami, Florida

35 months ago

Skelly. You seem to have a good job. Do you enjoy it? Do you want more? If so what for? Personal fulfillment? Money, etc? Consider many things before going into the RN:

1. Many nurses hate being nurses. It is well paid, yes, but high stress and very demanding. Just google "I hate being a nurse" and you can get a perspective. Money isnt everything.
2. People in our country work so much they dont enjoy life. Maybe that RN isnt necessary after all.

If you have a great job you enjoy and are fulfilled I suggest the RN isnt worth the time and school loans to pay for it. If you feel like you need to change careers in order to be happy, then shadow your ideal RN position and go from there. Good luck!

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martymcfly in Woonsocket, Rhode Island

33 months ago

I was going to pursue a BSW or MSW and hopefully utilize it where I currently work. After reading all of these posts, I'll look into something else. Wow... I cannot believe how much all of you have opened my eyes! I appreciate your honesty. My prayers go out to you the unemployed or underemployed..for I am the latter...I hold a BS in Geography and I work full time in a nursing home in the food services dept. It pays the bills, health coverage, etc.

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Leahchism in Pontiac, Michigan

33 months ago

holliday in Modesto, California said: You are absolutely right that as a Social Worker you are there to empower those around you by giving them the resources they need to succeed or to feel their goals are reachable. I do have to mention that one of the greatest strengths you can have as a Social Worker is the ability to know when you need help yourself. Although we are here to help others, we can not do so without helping ourselves. I have noticed with many of the posts that it is not a lack of hope that they are lacking but more of what direction to pursue. I commend those who seek advice from others who are directly involved with what they are pursuing. Thanks for all the advice.

Wow thank you as well because I REALLY needed those words of encouragement.

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pfmsw in Media, Pennsylvania

33 months ago

I have to agree with those who have presented his or her position on SW. I have a MSW from an Ivy League Institute and work at a job that consist of high stress and high demands with very low pay! I'm planning to enter into nursing and eventually become a psychiatric NP. I'm 28 y.o. still living with my parents and no chance for advancement...Nursing or pursing a career in the Medical field is the way to go!

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homedude108 in Seattle, Washington

33 months ago

I just want to share my experience and balance the general mood here on this thread. My experience as an MSW 2009 has been extremely positive, both emotionally and financially.

I have graduated with an MSW in 2009. Did a one-year paid fellowship in the VA after that (it paid $30k, which is around what a job in the community pays). I got a permanent position in the VA after I completed my fellowship. I'm year two into my permanent position, where I provide individual therapy, group therapy, and case management. I get paid $60k+/yr, and I'm not even licensed yet. Just two years out of grad school, and I've bought a house, and have a baby on the way. I love my job. I love interacting with the patients and the system/beaucracy. I am respected at my job by staff from all disciplines, including MD, RN, Nurse Practioners, Physician Assistants, Pyschologists, etc.

The other thing I appreciate about my job is the endless opportunities it brings. The VA pays for the trainings that I go to, which can be hundreds of dollars, and the VA pays me to go to those trainings. Professional development is taken seriously here, and an MSW can really take advantage of the resources available and tailor their career to match their interests and skillsets.

In short, the MSW degree is not an automatic ticket to poverty, burn-out, and low-prestige. It is what you make of it and how you live your life that counts.

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researchbuff in Buffalo, New York

33 months ago

pfmsw in Media, Pennsylvania said: I have to agree with those who have presented his or her position on SW. I have a MSW from an Ivy League Institute and work at a job that consist of high stress and high demands with very low pay! I'm planning to enter into nursing and eventually become a psychiatric NP. I'm 28 y.o. still living with my parents and no chance for advancement...Nursing or pursing a career in the Medical field is the way to go!

I am in the SAME boat. 29 and living with my parents! I'm currently enrolled in an MSW program (one semester in), and I'm not TOTALLY loving it. I have a BA in Psychology and an M.A. in Psychology as well. I went for the MSW after I realized there were no opportunities for me with an MA in psych. I've always envisioned myself being a therapist, though you need to be licensed (hence the MSW route)...but now i'm reconsidering it...I'm hearing more and more people with an MSW (or higher) having a difficult time trying to find a job that is secure and/or financially rewarding. Job instability is becoming worse and I find that a large majority of job postings in my area are for RN's. I already work in a hospital doing clinical research, so going for the accelerated BSN/RN to become a research nurse (with plenty of other future opportunities)seems like it may be a good path (although i'd have to quit my job for a year to do so) I agree with you, pfmsw, it's looking like careers in the medical field are more promising. I wish you the best of luck! It seems like career development is becoming more of a struggle for many people these days!

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Wise Lady in Mableton, Georgia

33 months ago

I am going on 40 and either going for Law or RN. I can't properly raise my kids nor can I afford a decent living. A social work degree should be free! I held my MSW for over 10 years and nothing really to show but satisfaction that I've helped thousands of people...that's all nice but tell it to your kids who needs a new pair of sneakers. The bottom line, Don't waste your money on a social work degree UNLESS you obtain a secondary specialty such as RN, Certifications in Addiction..these complimentary specialties will help catapult yous social work background. Get your social work licensure asap and plan on being a therapist not a social worker. I wish I was foreworned..take heed.

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PittMSW in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

32 months ago

I am a MSW student in my final semester, ending April 2011. I am hoping to enter the military or do a post MSW fellowship. Does anyone have any experience with military social work? I am also interning at the VA. Any incite would be helpful.

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Edith in Phoenix, Arizona

32 months ago

McSmith in Mableton, Georgia said: I'm a recent graduate with a BSW having trouble finding a job with my degree. I love Social Work and am proud to have my BSW degree, but I'm getting caught in the old "no experience- no job, no job- no experience" trap. I am highly interested in working in Medical Social Work and realize that I will need an LCSW to do this.

I had initally planned to spend the year after graduation getting experience in the field using my BSW to take a break from school and either save up for or find a company that would reimburse tuition for the MSW. I haven't had any offers since May after applying to over 70 SW jobs and I'm now working at a menial $8/hr 3rd shift retail job to pay the bills. Right now I'm open to anything better, but it seems my resume is spontaneously combusting out there and my degree doesn't mean anything.

I'm researching my options now and it seems that I might be better off getting an RN degree. There are a few accelerated RN programs for people already holding 4 year degrees in my area. I think I'd really enjoy being a nurse, plus the extrensic benifits are much greater (pay, respect...) Has anyone else taken this track?

I am in the same situation as you..I taught I was the only one........I am thinking of RN degree myself.

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Matthew Prentice in Carrboro, North Carolina

31 months ago

McSmith in Mableton, Georgia said: I'm a recent graduate with a BSW having trouble finding a job with my degree. I love Social Work and am proud to have my BSW degree, but I'm getting caught in the old "no experience- no job, no job- no experience" trap. I am highly interested in working in Medical Social Work and realize that I will need an LCSW to do this.

I had initally planned to spend the year after graduation getting experience in the field using my BSW to take a break from school and either save up for or find a company that would reimburse tuition for the MSW. I haven't had any offers since May after applying to over 70 SW jobs and I'm now working at a menial $8/hr 3rd shift retail job to pay the bills. Right now I'm open to anything better, but it seems my resume is spontaneously combusting out there and my degree doesn't mean anything.

I'm researching my options now and it seems that I might be better off getting an RN degree. There are a few accelerated RN programs for people already holding 4 year degrees in my area. I think I'd really enjoy being a nurse, plus the extrensic benifits are much greater (pay, respect...) Has anyone else taken this track?

Depends on the State, but in NC, an RN is the way to go. I have a MSW with concentrations and experience in Health and Mental Health sectors. The grounds for employment in those fields are much more lucrative and available for RN's....

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Pitt08 in Toledo, Ohio

31 months ago

Immediately after graduating with my BSW in 2008 I was offered a true SW position making LESS THAN $30,000. I turned it down, and subsequently spent just over a year looking for another job. I think we all have felt a bit of degree-remorse at some point, and when I felt that--I immediately enrolled in nursing school. I'm finishing in April! Consistently, there are about 20-30 RN positions available in my area. Entry level pay begins at $30/hr.

That all being said, nursing school was the most difficult schooling I've ever had. A BSW degree is basically a degree in common sense and interpersonal skills. The transition into physiology/pathology classes is a difficult one. My nursing program began with 118 students and we will be graduating with about 40. Nursing is not for everyone. Additionally, I have found that I'm not very interested in most of the popular areas of nursing (ie: ICU, med-surg, OR, ER, L&D, etc). I really only enjoyed psychiatric nursing (probably due to my original interest in MH that I got when I was pursuing SW). I plan to work as a psychiatric nurse for the next few years, but ultimately I want to transition back into more of a health-care related social service setting.

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Sunshine State in Eustis, Florida

31 months ago

My scenario is the following: i have a Master in Counseling and i have been working as teacher since then. Now teachers are losing their tenures, and i have been without a job for seven months, and I was thinking go into the nursing program. I really dont know if it is the right decision. I'm 42 and my son is going to college next year. My husband is retired and i need to work to survive. Any advise? I feel that i dont feel safe in my field anymore.

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lielite in Newark, New Jersey

30 months ago

Matthew Prentice in Carrboro, North Carolina said: Depends on the State, but in NC, an RN is the way to go. I have a MSW with concentrations and experience in Health and Mental Health sectors. The grounds for employment in those fields are much more lucrative and available for RN's....

NURSING (LPN RN) WAGES AND CONDITIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE PATHETIIIICC!!!! TRY $14.-17. AN HOUR..WTF??!!

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lielite in Newark, New Jersey

30 months ago

newgal220 in New Bern, North Carolina said: try a local hospice. . .they hire BSW's and/or MSW's AND the one I worked for had tuition reimbursement - - of course, 'provided you wanted to continue to work there for a length of time. Also you mught try your local Social Services (which you may have done already). Be prepared to make only $8 to start - - you won't get that dream job in a couple months.You may want to volunteer at an agency that just might hire you first. .

I began my second career path @ age 50. ..started out making 6/hr as a substitute teacher and had to get food stamps and declare bankruptcy in the middle of a divorce too ! I now earn over three times that as a Social Worker II with just my bachelor's ....YOU CAN DO IT !

newgal....

NURSING (LPN RN) WAGES AND CONDITIONS IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE PATHETIIIICC!!!! TRY $14.-17. AN HOUR..WTF??!!

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LookingRN in Mesa, Arizona

30 months ago

Nursing is an amazing field, and i dont regret getting my ADN. I am positive that Nursing is my calling. However, we are all having difficulty finding jobs as new grads. I graduated 9 months ago and still nothing.

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Indigo in Boca Raton, Florida

29 months ago

26 year old MSW in Florida with a year and a half experience in case management - I left that position, I do not have a head for heavy paperwork, organization, managing other people's insurance, and it wasn't able to go to getting my license and doing actual therapy. I felt like if I didn't leave when I did, I'd never get out. Been out of work since July and I've been on interviews but nothing has materialized. It's good to see that other people are in the positions I am and location doesn't seem to matter. My mom is also in the field and keeps suggesting volunteer work to pad my resume with experience, but she entered the field at a very different time. Does anyone find this helps on a resume? Do you get the kind of experience you'd actually get at a social work job? I'm afraid I'm losing my grip on knowledge I've never actually had the chance to use.

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