I'm done with wasting money for NASW membership every year. That's almost $200 a year I can use for other, more necessary and helpful things. After all, social work salaries are among the lowest. My master's degree was a waste of money as I will never be able to earn enough to pay off my student loans. Meaningful work does not pay the rent. I first joined NASW when I was still in school as it was highly recommended by school staff. I cannot honestly say that NASW has done anything to help me since that time. No, wait - I have 2 examples of NASW "help."
I worked to get accreditation specific to my field of work and this is what happened -- the accreditation was approved, but hinges on membership in NASW. In other words, I cannot have the accreditation WITHOUT keeping up with my NASW membership. Plus I have to pay for the certification itself. My experience and hard work in the field account for ???? I pay all that money for a few extra letters after my name? I'm done with it. The other "help" I received through NASW occurred when I moved to MA. I could not find a job, could not even get an interview. I visited the NASW office in Boston, seeking help, and was told that the salaries for SWs had been going down and the situation was not expected to improve, but get worse. I was also told that basically I was too old to get a job as agencies preferred hiring young people directly out of grad school -- easier to mold newbies who are willing to work for low pay. My first SW job in MA paid $29K. With a master's degree. Dreadful. None of my colleagues are members of NASW any longer. Consensus is that it is a waste of money. Interested in a career in social work? Beware. Read the social worker forums, get a feel for the work there. And read closely about the lack of benefits, low salaries and constant budget cuts and department cuts. Unless, of course, you have a partner who is fabulously, independently wealthy. I should have been an astronaut