Stressed new graduate lookig for a social work job

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Charlie in Atlanta, Georgia

96 months ago

BETH in Howell, New Jersey said: We live in a society where the bottom line is all that matters to those doing the hiring.

Correct. It is called "capitalism." Don't like it? - try another country. Cuba perhaps?

Of course you could work for a church or other non-profit organization. Join the peace corps and be ready to go feed Iraqi orphans after the war.

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Yolanda in Dallas, Texas

86 months ago

Kori said: I agree. It is like the 2 year internship counts for nothing. They should make the internship be 0 cretdits in the MSW program so that we don't have to pay for it. Future employers don't seem to care about it. Also, the entry level pay is crazy right now. I have heard of some offers that basically pay the same amount for a BA degree. What was the point of spending 2 grueling years in school?

It is so sad that salary for Social workers are so little. I was on the Nurses forum and those with LVN makes more money than MSW.

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Yolanda in Dallas, Texas

86 months ago

Kori said: I am definately grateful, but a bit annoyed when I give up 2 years of my life for a 64 credit program difficult program with a 14 hour a week unpaid intership every semester that seems to really not be respected. You would think that a program with that many credits would command the salary of a nurse or accontant or whatever. On top of that, you have to go through hoops to get certified for full licensure in NY and in some other states it takes at least 2 years. Meanwhile, the student loan bills don't go away nor do life's other bills. Education is valuable , yes, but I think I should have went into nursing where a BA is sufficient and the Nurse practioner level commands a very nice salary and is in more demand. Poor research on my part.

I agree with you. Those with nursing degree are making it.

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taurie in Nashville, Tennessee

85 months ago

Angelize in NYC, New York said: Social work is not about money! I've been a social worker for 20 yrs, I started out at $27,000 - with my BA. Currently, I'm at $60,500. Yes, the nurses where I work are making more money, however, I would NOT trade my social work license for an RN one ever!
I love being a social worker, I'm great at what I do and yes it is a THANKLESS job, at times, and yes, I could be "making more" if I chose another career, but would I be satisfied in my career, I think not!
So, Ms. RN, if you feel that you have it in you to be a social worker, I say, GO FOR IT! God bless you and good luck!

Hello I am recently divorced, and returning to school. I tried nursing school and failed out of the program (twice) each time by less than 3 points.It was very stressful. My ex husband is a RN (BSN). He makes great money, but I don't think he likes his job, he just likes the money. I want to be a social worker. I have thought about it throughout the years.I am afraid that I will be poor, and that it may be unsafe. But a part of me wants it really bad. I want the satisfaction of sitting down and really talking to and helping people through their problems.Of all the nurses I know, a lot hate their jobs, but love the money.

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Angelize in NYC, New York

85 months ago

Hi Taurie,
I work with nurses, (I'm a Medical Social worker). Yes, most of the nurses appear to be quite miserable in their career and it shows in the way the patients are treated!
I don't know what social workers earn in TN, but my guess is, not much - in NYC, starting salary for Medical Social Work (in a hospital) is around $42,000. Then, you can always do fee-for service (Home Care Social Work) at $55.00/hr.
Keep in mind, you need a license once you have your Masters (4 hr exam).
In Sum, you can earn a decent living in SW. Good Luck!

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anna in Toms River, New Jersey

85 months ago

Angelize in NYC, New York said: Hi Taurie,
I work with nurses, (I'm a Medical Social worker). Yes, most of the nurses appear to be quite miserable in their career and it shows in the way the patients are treated!
I don't know what social workers earn in TN, but my guess is, not much - in NYC, starting salary for Medical Social Work (in a hospital) is around $42,000. Then, you can always do fee-for service (Home Care Social Work) at $55.00/hr.
Keep in mind, you need a license once you have your Masters (4 hr exam).
In Sum, you can earn a decent living in SW. Good Luck!

Hi, recently obtained my BSW & am certified in the state of NJ, to practice as a Generalist Social Work,(CSW), yet, it continues to be difficult to gain SW experience esp. since Outreach - Home visits are not an option, will not consider going into the clients' home. Made this decision based on the most recent Tortured & Murder of Brenda Lee Yeager, a social worker who was brutally murdered while conducting a Home Visit. Why is it so difficult for recent Grads/ BSW/CSW to locate a SW position? And suggestions?

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J. Girardeau in Kansas City, Missouri

85 months ago

If you haven't already, you may want to check out:

SocialService.Com
www.socialservice.com

for social work jobs. You can search the site without registering, but if you register, you can post your resume and get new job postings e-mailed to you.

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faith cynthia okobi in Brooklyn, New York

84 months ago

i am a student msw in long island university brooklyn

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feeder in Brooklyn, New York

84 months ago

there are jobs just keep on trying and don't give up

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Lily in Los Angeles, California

84 months ago

I came across this forum when searching about social work jobs and salary. I have my BS is international business and couldn't find a job in 2 yrs in that field and now I'm going back to school hoping for a new career path, I'm between CIS and social work but after reading all your comments it making me think else where in the medical field. Time are tough and everybody is out of a job, just thank god you have a job, even if it mean making $8 an hr. I currently working in the accounting field making $11 and I hate my job it very boring.

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Ronnie in Irvine, California

84 months ago

I am intensely researching getting an MSW also, b/c it seems to be a more "marketable" degree than an M.A. in School Counseling. I want to be a college counselor, but upon seeing so many opportunities in social service, it looks intriguing to get a breadth of life experience doing humanitarian things. But, the lack of income, ability to save, etc means a lot to me. I don't want to be check to check my entire life, renting, never feeling equipped to provide for a family to the ability I'd like.
Yeah Lily...thank god you have a job. I work as a personal trainer and I have my B.A. in political science. lol.

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Diane in New Port Richey, Florida

83 months ago

I couldn't agree more. I'm 43, and just got my degree after being a foster mom with years of volunteer experience. It means nothing. I don't think they want to hire older woman because they don't think we could keep up or something. I have been out of work for 5 months and would except anything. I don't know what to do/

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Katherine in Brooklyn, New York

83 months ago

I graduated with my BSW from MSU in the spring and now I am in a MSW program at NYU. The cost of living is difficult but its not impossible. It's important to think about what you intend to achieve by getting your masters degree, is location part of what is important to you? I think it is true that initially it is going to be difficult, after my masters I will be 50K in debt and paying about $500 a month in loans. I would compare costs (I did) and found that going to school in Michigan was relative in cost to going to school out here (at least for my personal situation). I waitress a couple nights of week to make rent, so you can imagine how busy I am (2 full days of class, 3 full days of placement, and a part time job). I personally think its worth the struggle.

Caitlin in Lansing, Michigan said: Hello,

I am finishing up my BSW at Michigan State University. It seems like everyone that I tell that I am going into social work says that it is a waste of time and money because I will never be able to pay off my student loans. I really want to be in this field. I plan to go to NYC and get my masters degree and live there. I was just wondering if you all would recommend waiting on my masters and getting an entry lvl job (if I can) and then going back to get my masters after some experience. I could possibly even find a job that will pay for some of my masters as long as I am going to stay there after I get my MSW, or should I just keep going and get my masters right away... then I would have my masters at 22 ... but will I be able to find a job to support myself and my loans?

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Caitlin in East Lansing, Michigan

83 months ago

I am so excited to be done with MSU... and I have finally decided to move to NYC and get my MSW there ... possibly NYU or maybe Lehman college... I am not sure yet... but I am ready to make it work.

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Kori in Manorville, New York

83 months ago

Kori said: I agree. It is like the 2 year internship counts for nothing. They should make the internship be 0 cretdits in the MSW program so that we don't have to pay for it. Future employers don't seem to care about it. Also, the entry level pay is crazy right now. I have heard of some offers that basically pay the same amount for a BA degree. What was the point of spending 2 grueling years in school?

I have to update the comment I made many months ago. I would definitely recommend getting licensed (LMSW) in NY to help open some doors. I have gotten my LMSW since my last post and the salary offerings and job opportunities have gotten better (high 40's low 50's range) for positions in NYC(specifically hosptial social work positions , nyc hhc). But I will still assert that fining a equal position on Long Island even with the license is very challenging. So all of those who are still looking, hang in there, things will get better.

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SECREATTS

82 months ago

I HAVE A BSW AND AM NOT LICENCES.I MAKE $55,000 PER YEAR IN A NURSING HOME. I AM GOING BACK TO SCHOOOL FOR MY MSW AND I MIGHT GET MY LICENCES, AM NOT SURE YET.I DO RECOMMEND TO LOOK AROUND THERE ARE APPORTUNITIES OUT THERE BUT YOU HAVE TO LOOK AROUND.

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peety in Littleton, Colorado

80 months ago

SECREATTS said: I HAVE A BSW AND AM NOT LICENCES.I MAKE $55,000 PER YEAR IN A NURSING HOME. I AM GOING BACK TO SCHOOOL FOR MY MSW AND I MIGHT GET MY LICENCES, AM NOT SURE YET.I DO RECOMMEND TO LOOK AROUND THERE ARE APPORTUNITIES OUT THERE BUT YOU HAVE TO LOOK AROUND.

All I hear from people when I tell them I wish to go to school for social work, is that I will make NO money. I would be happy with $55000. Is your salary atypical? s

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Angelize in NYC, New York

80 months ago

SECREATTS, there's no sense in not getting licensed if you get your MSW, you'll need it to work as a Social Worker. Good luck!

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PhaPha in Brooklyn, New York

80 months ago

You got a job in a nursing home making $55,000 Anuually what state, what nursing home, and whats your nationality.

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Josie in Brooklyn, New York

80 months ago

$55,000 New Grad BSW, whats the ketch wait a minute who are you kidding, Ok anyway. People Social work is a profound profession. Dont give up. Go into the feild of work that you love and do it. Dont settle for less they need us out there. I mean that. This is not about the funds because out goal is the people. to serve others. Keep your heads up or soon you will need to be in therapy yourself. Keep your head up.

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Jordana in Columbus, Ohio

80 months ago

Hi Michelle. I had some of the same issues that you had..employers want experience. I have found that volunteering is the key to experience..especially if you are working, school, etc. It is something you can fit in anytime. When you go in for that job interview, you just reference your social service experience (volunteering). This should be the highlighting factor for your job interview. Social service experience, THEN education. I like to say that education is like a basket and what you fill it with is your experience. Hope this helps.

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Secreatts in New York, New York

80 months ago

PhaPha in Brooklyn, New York said: You got a job in a nursing home making $55,000 Anuually what state, what nursing home, and whats your nationality.

I work in new York in grand manor nursing home and I am a Hispanic lady. Did I answer I questions?i

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Secreatts in New York, New York

80 months ago

Yes in new york

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Vicky in Brooklyn, New York

80 months ago

Word thats excellent, you go girl. See if she did it we could do it with or with out a license. Social Work Rocks. Lets make it happen people. Hey are there anymore Social Work Job openings at the ManorCare Nursing home in NY. I went to their website and noticed they had locations in almost eveystate which makes them very popular. Is it www.hcr-manorcare.com
Cool get back girl and keep doing your thing. Nationality doesn't matter, Social Workers are supposed to be culturally sensative.

Yes We Rock.

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Vicky in Brooklyn, New York

80 months ago

Oh hey all start sending out some job spots to apply for so that we could give one another the heads up. Nursing homes are great places to apply. Thanks Secreatts for www.hcr-manorcare.com. Ill start there. does anyone know of afternoon opportunities in New York area. hit back soon

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767

80 months ago

Vicky in Brooklyn, New York said: Word thats excellent, you go girl. See if she did it we could do it with or with out a license. Social Work Rocks. Lets make it happen people. Hey are there anymore Social Work Job openings at the ManorCare Nursing home in NY. I went to their website and noticed they had locations in almost eveystate which makes them very popular. Is it www.hcr-manorcare.com
Cool get back girl and keep doing your thing. Nationality doesn't matter, Social Workers are supposed to be culturally sensative.

Yes We Rock.

THE NURSING HOME WHERE I WORK IS PRIVATE OWN ITS NOT THE SAME PLACE

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GeeDee in London, United Kingdom

78 months ago

Michelle in Birmingham, Alabama said: Does anyone else feel that when you are just starting out every potential employer wants you to have experience? The problem is that you can't gain experience when no one wants to be the one to give it to you.

It is impprtant to take care of yourself in any stage of social work that you are in. After 22 years I make sure that I put together my own induction and stress mangagement systems so that I take care of myself. I have learned that after 15 years of working in Child Protection. Go to www.ReduceSocialWorkerStress.com and get some really easy to use information on how to do this, every social worker practicing needs to get this amazing advice, absolute gold dust!

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Michelle in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

77 months ago

Hi Everyone! I cannot believe how many people became interested in this forum I started over two years ago. Shortly after I started the forum I was employed in foster care without my license. Then after 8 months I decided it was time to move on and I passed my licensure and then became employed at a residential treatment facility which for boys which I love. I have been there a year now and I am now in graduate school full time. I am thinking about doing my internship in D.C. One thing I do know is once you get the experience you are much more marketable and anyone thinking about going to graduate school might want to work in the field first. I am in school with many people who have never had a social work job and even though these individuals will have a masters degree I think I will be in a better position for jobs and internships with three years of experience under by belt already. Good luck to everyone and thanks for all of the help!

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Michelle in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

77 months ago

Also, One more thing I forgot add is those who are interested in social work but do not have the four year degree should look at DHR. They offer case management jobs to individuals who have similar degree and you can also find contract work with DHR as family support workers and transportation aides. Just a thought for those who mentioned they do not have social work degrees.

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amp in El Paso, Texas

77 months ago

thank you :)

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LP 2009 MSW

76 months ago

Hi, Michelle,
I just completed the same MSW program this Spring & I completed my internship in Washington, DC. The experience has the potential to set you apart from others but you have to be careful as to which agency you select to intern with. I had an unusual experience and was able to complete a concurrent, rotational internship with two distinctly different agencies. I was in the Adults & Families Concentration with an emphasis in Geriatric Social Work & Health Care (based on my internships, experiences, & training) but I have friends who were in the Children, Adolescents, & Families concentration that loved their internships in DC as well and can give you some info if you like. Many of their agencies were willing to hire interns upon completion as well. . .best of luck to you!

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Michelle in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

76 months ago

LP 2009 MSW said: Hi, Michelle,
I just completed the same MSW program this Spring & I completed my internship in Washington, DC. The experience has the potential to set you apart from others but you have to be careful as to which agency you select to intern with. I had an unusual experience and was able to complete a concurrent, rotational internship with two distinctly different agencies. I was in the Adults & Families Concentration with an emphasis in Geriatric Social Work & Health Care (based on my internships, experiences, & training) but I have friends who were in the Children, Adolescents, & Families concentration that loved their internships in DC as well and can give you some info if you like. Many of their agencies were willing to hire interns upon completion as well. . .best of luck to you!

LP,

I would love to have some tips on what internships are the best for the family and adolescent concentration. I actually had a friend who graduated with you and also went to D.C. My email is mmlee8@gmail.com. I would love some guidance with this and would love to talk with you about what living arrangements are best.

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MSW Detroit '07 in Denver, Colorado

76 months ago

Hello to anyone out there:

I recently moved to Denver, CO from Detroit, MI with an MSW and 2 years of experience-not counting 2 years of internships and 1 year of volunteering (5 total). It has been a nightmare out here for me!!!!!!!! Almost all of the jobs require that you have an LCSW and I have found barely any jobs that will take just an MSW. I even called one of the colleges and spoke with a person in the SW dept. and they were no help at all. It seems that no one out here is willing to help point you in the right direction for anything. I have been on several interviews for bachelor level jobs (yes, bachelor level jobs), and still have no luck. I am at the point where I am considering getting out the field because it has been so ridiculous but I've worked so hard to get where I'm at and I only need 420 more hours + the test to become an LCSW!!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine that?????? Does anyone have any suggestions for Denver or surrounding cities for SW????? BTW-do not move out here until you are fully licensed or know someone!!!!! Thanks and good luck to everyone!!!!!!!!

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LP MSW 2009

76 months ago

MSW Detroit '07 in Denver, Colorado said: Hello to anyone out there:

I recently moved to Denver, CO from Detroit, MI with an MSW and 2 years of experience-not counting 2 years of internships and 1 year of volunteering (5 total). It has been a nightmare out here for me!!!!!!!! Almost all of the jobs require that you have an LCSW and I have found barely any jobs that will take just an MSW. I even called one of the colleges and spoke with a person in the SW dept. and they were no help at all. It seems that no one out here is willing to help point you in the right direction for anything. I have been on several interviews for bachelor level jobs (yes, bachelor level jobs), and still have no luck. I am at the point where I am considering getting out the field because it has been so ridiculous but I've worked so hard to get where I'm at and I only need 420 more hours + the test to become an LCSW!!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine that?????? Does anyone have any suggestions for Denver or surrounding cities for SW????? BTW-do not move out here until you are fully licensed or know someone!!!!! Thanks and good luck to everyone!!!!!!!!

Hi, MSW Detroit '07:
I don't have any advice about how to best nagivate your job hunt in the Denver area but allow me to offer these two cents: contact the career center or school of social work at the university that you completed your MSW studies and asked to be connected with alumni of the program in that area--if in fact there are. Most schools are not apt to help you unless you are a prospective student or graduate of their program.

Best,
LP

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MSW Detroit '07 in Denver, Colorado

76 months ago

Thanks-I tried that but maybe I'll try again............

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David in Etobicoke, Ontario

76 months ago

I live in Ontario, Canada, and I was thinking about going back to get by BSW, since it would take only one year, since I have a psychology degree already. The field seems interesting and rewarding but this sight talks heavily of a lack of jobs and pay. I am currently a truck driver that makes about 48k a year with no stress. I am thinking about staying as a truck driver after all this negative talk. I love driving truck but fear the wages will crash since many unemployed are heading for there trucking license. Never had plans to get a masters in SW. Thought a bsw would be enough for a 40-50k job. Am I realistic in this goal? With the way the economy is maybe a BSW would be enough since why would an agency want to pay more????? That is a good debate. Money is tight for the government. Would like some feedback.

David

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MSW Detroit '07 in Denver, Colorado

76 months ago

Hey David,

I don't know how Canada runs but here in the U.S. it is highly unlikely you will make that kind of money with a BSW. If you're want that kind of money you will need a master's and even with a master's you don't make that kind of money unless the following occur: 1)you are licensed 2) work for the governtment, hospitals/medical field, schools and 3) have experience. If I were you, I would keep trucking and go to school part-time. Plus you said you had no stress......... Well, this is a very stressful field; rewarding at times but sometimes I wonder if I should have done something differnt but I am motivated to help people and I know this is my calling even though the pay and stress suck for right now. I currently have a master's and am working at a bachelor level pay 11.36 an hour. I'm barely paying my bills but at least I have a job with our crappy economy. Hope this helps........

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Woman on A Journey MSW 09 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

76 months ago

Bob,
I think that it is commendable that you are considering getting a BSW however, it is a bit insulting to me, someoone who selected to pursue this career based on passion & desire to help others to hear that your decision is mostly based on the fact that it would take 1 year and your expectation to make 40-50k annually. Moving beyond my "insulted feelings" (-; I would never condone decisions made based on such facts as social work is as another poster pointed out--a stressful job because in most situations social workers are working with the most vulnerable members of a population/society--you may enter the profession and find yourself very unhappy, stressed,burned out & not paid as well as you'd hoped (probably 10-20k less). Have you considered other options--a way to perhaps combine industry & social science/psychology? What about industrial-organizational psychology, marketing, etc. Are there skills that you have obtained over the years as a truck driver? For instance, one of my friends started his own emergency roadside repair service where he responds to calls from truck drivers who have vehicles that have broken down, blown tires, etc. He does well for himself. Just my two cents. . .

Best to you in all your future endeavors!

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Woman on A Journey MSW 09 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

76 months ago

Woman on A Journey MSW 09 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama said: Bob,
I think that it is commendable that you are considering getting a BSW however, it is a bit insulting to me, someoone who selected to pursue this career based on passion & desire to help others to hear that your decision is mostly based on the fact that it would take 1 year and your expectation to make 40-50k annually. Moving beyond my "insulted feelings" (-; I would never condone decisions made based on such facts as social work is as another poster pointed out--a stressful job because in most situations social workers are working with the most vulnerable members of a population/society--you may enter the profession and find yourself very unhappy, stressed,burned out & not paid as well as you'd hoped (probably 10-20k less). Have you considered other options--a way to perhaps combine industry & social science/psychology? What about industrial-organizational psychology, marketing, etc. Are there skills that you have obtained over the years as a truck driver? For instance, one of my friends started his own emergency roadside repair service where he responds to calls from truck drivers who have vehicles that have broken down, blown tires, etc. He does well for himself. Just my two cents. . .

Best to you in all your future endeavors!

David,
I guess it'd help if I called you by the right name--I was on the phone with my husband as I was typing! LOL.

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David in Etobicoke, Ontario

76 months ago

Thanks for the comments,Woman on a Journey, and Msw in Detroit. I can't believe how underpaid a social worker, especially a MSW, is in the United States. The Ontario average is 35 to 40k for a starting social worker, just for the record. I am not putting the occupation down and saying its all about money but lets be honest with ourselves. A single person making 35 to 45k is not rich or no where near having lots of cash on the side. That is the point I am making. I should write a research project on this and I am not being sarcastic about it.
It seems government puts money in emergency situation based jobs. Police, fire , teachers, and nurses are paid on average well over 60k in Ontario. The Windsor Police services employs 320 officers whom over 100 officers made over 100k last year. I agree, a social worker is getting at the root cause of problems in society but does not get recognition or what I think classified as a necessity in society. Even though I think they are very important. With this deep recession continuing and funds being cut and more job loss I see the government taking out more of the "not essential work force" Hope I am not being negative but with like some views from the United States on this and Canada. You can see that for myself still holding a job why I have some reluctance on heading back for a BSW. Thanks for not calling me Bob, Woman on a Journey.lol

David

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David in Etobicoke, Ontario

76 months ago

Just to add to my above comment, I get stressed very easy, and have had GAD,(generalized anxiety most of my life after 20yrs old. I am currently 40. Just how stressful is Social work? I Have heard its the most stressful career to choose. Is this statement true? Maybe it just depends where you work or who you work with. I thought working with Mental health would be rewarding since I have gone though and still have anxiety, that I could help others. Appreciate some insite. I don't want to end up as my own patient. lol

Thanks everyone.

David

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MSW Detroit '07 in Denver, Colorado

76 months ago

Glad I could help. Yeah, if I were you, I would stick with what you're doing for now and like I said, you could always go to school part-time. Good luck :)

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Miriam in Chicago, Illinois

76 months ago

I agree with you. I am grateful for my education but also, annoyed and frustrated. It seems that it very difficult to find a job if you don't have experience or a license, which is difficult to obtain as the tests are very hard. And the school does not prepare us as to what to expect after school. I spent two years attending graduate school, working 40 hours weekly and doing a 20 hour a week internship. I gained a lot of experience, but I have been trying to apply for jobs for two years and in spite of my education and experience, I have been unable to fund a job in the social work field. It seems that the experience we gained in our internships is not important and I wonder if I made the right decision of getting a social work education.

Kori said: I am definately grateful, but a bit annoyed when I give up 2 years of my life for a 64 credit program difficult program with a 14 hour a week unpaid intership every semester that seems to really not be respected. You would think that a program with that many credits would command the salary of a nurse or accontant or whatever. On top of that, you have to go through hoops to get certified for full licensure in NY and in some other states it takes at least 2 years. Meanwhile, the student loan bills don't go away nor do life's other bills. Education is valuable , yes, but I think I should have went into nursing where a BA is sufficient and the Nurse practioner level commands a very nice salary and is in more demand. Poor research on my part.

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pmoney in Leesburg, Florida

76 months ago

Diane in New Port Richey, Florida said: I couldn't agree more. I'm 43, and just got my degree after being a foster mom with years of volunteer experience. It means nothing. I don't think they want to hire older woman because they don't think we could keep up or something. I have been out of work for 5 months and would except anything. I don't know what to do/

i am in the process of going to school for social work. i love people but really a lot what i read here and job requirements seem out of reach. so does BSW get you no where? i am 41 and have two years of schooling to go... so if you had the chance would you pick another degree?

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pmoney in Leesburg, Florida

76 months ago

ok everyone this is me. i was recently awarded a free degree to school of my choice. i only have two years to complete my chosen degree. i wanted to go into social work but after reading this website i am not so sure. there are some jobs out here in orlando fl but i really want to work for the Veterans Administration however all of their jobs require MSW. but i can get a job in there just it will take time. so based on your experience would you do something else if you could do it all over again? i was looking at physical therapy and they only require a bachelor's to work for the VA. so help me out... pat in clermont fl

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student in Cullman, Alabama

76 months ago

I've been accepted into a graduate program (M.Ed) in community counseling. At first I was stoked, but then I started looking at how much debt I was going to accumulate getting the degree, and still won't make higher than mid 40s (after a few years experience). I'm wondering if it's worth it. I've been looking at going to the local community college and getting a certificate in polysomnography/EKG tech instead. I would save thousands of dollars and instead of five (or more) semester I would finish in two.

Pat I know that I see ads for physical therapist assistants ALL THE TIME!!! I live in Alabama but I think they're in demand across the board. I would think that would be a very good career choice. However if you feel passionately about social work then it will be worth the extra time so go for it!

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Woman on A Journey MSW 09 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

76 months ago

Hi, Pat,

This forum can be a great source of information BUT as one learns in doing research you should seek information from multiple, credible sources. If you are interested in VA Social Work, I suggest talking to someone in the SW dept. at the VA about the opportunities available. The VA has a renowned clinical social work internship program and after completing an internship with VA Students who complete field placements at VA facilities are eligible for non-competitive hiring within one year of graduation. Also some VA Medical Center's have Bachelor level positions that may not be specifically listed as social work positions. Also consider which options will provide the best overall opportunities. Opportunities for PTA's may be good but I would doubt that the advancement opportunities and even earning potential are comparable to that of an MSW.
I understand what its like to be frustrated by these challenging economic times but when making decision, it is important to consider short term & long term consequences (not suggesting that you have not) such as the projected outlook for careers, earning potential, and flexibility. Social workers with MSWs and experience can earn a comfortable living, especially within the federal & state government administrative positions. The entry level positions are gems but do come around every now & then, so one may have to gain one or two years post-MSW experience else where and then apply for VA positions. One of my friends currently employed by the VA says that the opportunities for social workers will be increasing. Below are links to information that you can check out for yourself:

VA Social Work Education:
www.socialwork.va.gov/education.asp

Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook Online:
www.bls.gov/oco/ocos060.htm

Best wishes to you in whatever you decide!

WOAJ

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Sarah in New York, New York

75 months ago

Kris needs some reassurance in Lake Odessa, Michigan said: I am switching from nursing to Human Services for an associates right now.. it is truly my passion to be a social worker or substance abuse counselor... I have researched online for wages etc..From what I am seeing with your discussions on here, the $40K is for 4 yr bachelors degrees..correct???

geez... i just graduated with my MSW from NYU... and my starting salary is 47K.

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EL in Arlington, Texas

75 months ago

David in Etobicoke, Ontario said: I live in Ontario, Canada, and I was thinking about going back to get by BSW, since it would take only one year, since I have a psychology degree already. The field seems interesting and rewarding but this sight talks heavily of a lack of jobs and pay. I am currently a truck driver that makes about 48k a year with no stress. I am thinking about staying as a truck driver after all this negative talk. I love driving truck but fear the wages will crash since many unemployed are heading for there trucking license. Never had plans to get a masters in SW. Thought a bsw would be enough for a 40-50k job. Am I realistic in this goal? With the way the economy is maybe a BSW would be enough since why would an agency want to pay more????? That is a good debate. Money is tight for the government. Would like some feedback.

David

This is an option. You could obtain your BSW, get advanced standing for graduate school, and receive your MSW in 1 or 1 1/2 years. Community and Administrative Practice positions or a macro-focus, including program directors, grant writers, supervisor/manager, policy planners, etc. can expect a salary of $38-50. These positions may be less stressful since they provide indirect service or integrate other aspects of social work and other disciplines.

MSSW therapist/counselor position's pay may be comparable depending on your location of course.

I would recommend contacting a school of social work and emailing professors with your questions. Some professors can provide invaluable insight if you keep hunting. Fortunately, the ones I contacted were extremely helpful.

These are a few resources for reference or ideas.
www.usajobs.gov-type in social worker
www.socialworker.org
www.idealist.com
www.change.org

-Best

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EL in Arlington, Texas

75 months ago

correct address: www.usajobs.gov

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