Working for the VA or other federal government agencies

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MST in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

50 months ago

I am planning to attend social work school in the fall to obtain my MSW. I currently work in the child welfare field and I do not like it. It is very stressful and the pay is low. I am interested in working for the Veteran's Administration or even as a civilian employee for the army, navy, or other armed forces. Does anyone here work for one of these organizations or know anything about it? I know the VA is hard to get into, and I wonder if it would help to volunteer at my local VA hospital.

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socialwkr in Missouri

49 months ago

MST in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: I am planning to attend social work school in the fall to obtain my MSW. I currently work in the child welfare field and I do not like it. It is very stressful and the pay is low. I am interested in working for the Veteran's Administration or even as a civilian employee for the army, navy, or other armed forces. Does anyone here work for one of these organizations or know anything about it? I know the VA is hard to get into, and I wonder if it would help to volunteer at my local VA hospital.

Hi MST......best wishes in your pursuit of higher education. I am not sure whether you are a veteran or have any military familiarity? Working in those areas is also stressful too! Civilians working in the military is a different work environment then the VA Hospital system. I got out at the end of 1999. I have heard about there being a disconnect between military therapists and civilian therapists on bases. Most of the people who were referred to the mental health system in the military did not go by choice back then, but because they were "ordered" by their leadership or for those who recognized they needed help, they were told to suck it up and drive on.

If you have no experience with veterans and the military, it would be beneficial if you decide to volunteer for the VA, that may be helpful for you.
Most VA hospitals are hiring LCSW social workers to handle the influx of troops with severe mental health issues, including PTSD. That kind of work is definitely hard and requires a lot of experience. I think this is why the VA system is hard to get into....because one has to already have their license and experience with PTSD and other serious mental health problems.

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MST in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

49 months ago

Thank you for your informative answer. No, I have no experience with the military or veterans, so I definitely plan to volunteer at the VA here in Philadelphia. It may turn out that it's not for me, but I do have to get out of my present job, which offers no raises and no room for advancement.

Best wishes to you!

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socialwkr in Missouri

49 months ago

MST in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Thank you for your informative answer. No, I have no experience with the military or veterans, so I definitely plan to volunteer at the VA here in Philadelphia. It may turn out that it's not for me, but I do have to get out of my present job, which offers no raises and no room for advancement.

Best wishes to you!

Thanks! Volunteerism is great, and I know I gained a lot of experience from volunteering, and also was able to network and to just be involved with service to the community. You may also be able to get your foot in the door to get your block internship there.

Good luck!

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