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Angelize in NYC, New York

59 months ago

Hi CJ,

I'm sorry that you feel as you do about social work.

Personally, I'm earning a fairly decent salary - I work in a hospital emergency room and 2 days in a dialyis ctr ($45.00/hr).

I know a couple of people that left Sw and are now in nursing school.

Good luck & God bless......

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laurenlee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

58 months ago

Angelize in NYC, New York said: Hi CJ,

I'm sorry that you feel as you do about social work.

Personally, I'm earning a fairly decent salary - I work in a hospital emergency room and 2 days in a dialyis ctr ($45.00/hr).

I know a couple of people that left Sw and are now in nursing school.

Good luck & God bless......

Angleize,

Im currently in a graduate program for social work, but im contemplating leaving because i'm extrememly nervous about working and never being able to make a livable salary while paying off my school loans.

Do you make 45/hr at the dyalysis center? or at the hospial? I've been interested in working as a social worker in a hospital but i hear it extremly competitive. cann you tell me more about your experince in the health field in social work?

I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have.
thanks!

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Angelize in NYC, New York

58 months ago

laurenlee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Angleize,

Im currently in a graduate program for social work, but im contemplating leaving because i'm extrememly nervous about working and never being able to make a livable salary while paying off my school loans.

Do you make 45/hr at the dyalysis center? or at the hospial? I've been interested in working as a social worker in a hospital but i hear it extremly competitive. cann you tell me more about your experince in the health field in social work?

I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have.
thanks!

Hi Laurenlee,

Yes, $45.00/hr in Dialysis and $67,000 in FT position.
Granted, it's not much when you consider what others in the health field earn , (i.e. PA, RN,) but then again, we aren't in this field for the money....

Good luck to you.

Angelize

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laurenlee in West Chester, Pennsylvania

58 months ago

thank you so much for replying, if you dont mind me asking...how did you get into working in the health field/dialysis...is that a hard field to begin working in?

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Angelize in NYC, New York

57 months ago

laurenlee in West Chester, Pennsylvania said: thank you so much for replying, if you dont mind me asking...how did you get into working in the health field/dialysis...is that a hard field to begin working in?

Hi Laurenlee,

Basically, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. However, no, it is not a hard area to enter, there are many dialysis centers all over the country.

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

56 months ago

Hi,

If you have a BSW you will never make much, wages for BSW's have actually gone down the past ten years (in most cases, not all). If you have a MSW with clinical concentration, the average start wage in the US is over $50,000. With the baby boomers, geriatric care will be the next big thing for social workers. Again, to get a livable wage it requires that MSW. If you want great benefits, decent pay, and opportunities, you need to think medical SW and government employment. The VA system hires more social workers than any other in the country, and the pay well. The military has a shortage of social workers and are desperate to hire/contract any good sw'er with a MSW. They have such a shortage they started training soldiers to get their MSW rather than wait to find qualified civilians. They have less sw'ers now than they did ten years ago and now is when they really need them.

The key overall is having that MSW clinical degree if you want a decent wage, either that or luck.

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

56 months ago

laurenlee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Angleize,

Im currently in a graduate program for social work, but im contemplating leaving because i'm extrememly nervous about working and never being able to make a livable salary while paying off my school loans.

Do you make 45/hr at the dyalysis center? or at the hospial? I've been interested in working as a social worker in a hospital but i hear it extremly competitive. cann you tell me more about your experince in the health field in social work?

I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have.
thanks!

To get a livable salary: MSW clinical concentration, get a job with the VA, Indian Health Services, or the military. They all pay well starting at a minimum as a GS-9 (MSW no experience). If fully licensed usually start at a GS-11. If you sign a 3 yr contract they will pay off your student loans, something like $6000 a year. If you can become a leader there are advancement possibilities that pay well over $100k a year and the benefits are great. Once you get the experience and student loans paid, you can go into private practice. The other route is to think of non-profit organizations (like most sw'ers do) with no benefits and low pay. Ok if single but can't raise a family on it. (if you are doing the MSW admin track, it will take you much longer to get that decent salary)

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AJKelley in Southfield, Michigan

55 months ago

I too am looking to switch jobs or leave the MSW field all together. I currently do in-home family counseling for families who have had complaints made against them through child protective services. I'm completely burned out and have lost the passion for my work. I've read through all of the responses and I see that getting a military or VA job would be beneficial in terms of more pay, however, I don't think I would be able to stay there long either. It's not really about the money although to have a master's degree and make under 40k is somewhat depressing, I still desire to be fulfilled in my work. I love working with kids the most, but I truly don't want a counseling or therapist kind of job. Any suggestions?

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

55 months ago

First off, working with CPS burns out pretty much everyone, even if you don't work with the clients. And yes working for little pay with a MSW is depressing. Many go into teaching social work after being burned out. My suggestion for you is to first identify why you got into social work initially, where did your passion come from? What area excites you and keeps you going? What lifestyle, at home and work, do you really want? What are your personal limitations, and what do you not like about social work. When you can truly identify these issues, you can make an educated choice about your future and what you really want. I can say from experience that who you work for and the type of clients you work with make a huge difference in keeping your motivation alive. Many social workers only work in one small segment of SW and never take advantage of all the other revenue options. I started taking private contracts with the military and even started my own agency. It was like night turning into day in regards to pay and having positive clients to work with. With an MSW you have many options and frankly, the less stressful and most fulfilling ones are in the private sector. You may simply need a change of scenery and pace to recharge. A couple ideas in working with kids are school social work, youth residential programs (Boys & girls Town is a great one to work for), eating disorder clinics, YMCA, become a consultant to parents with child problems, some big corps hire SW'ers for employees. It may be useful to talk with a career expert that knows social work to help guide you to where you want to be. Sometimes leaving SW for a few years is also good, but makes it more difficult to get hired after your break. Decide what you really would like to do and then go find that job or create that job. I've started 3 agencies in order to get the job I enjoyed and had passion for. Working for CPS or any similar agency wears out even the most dedicated and passionate s

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

55 months ago

AJKelley in Southfield, Michigan said: I've read through all of the responses and I see that getting a military or VA job would be beneficial in terms of more pay, however, I don't think I would be able to stay there long either. Any suggestions?

Change of pace would probably be good for you. Keep in mind that the military and the VA have many options, they don't just work with the soldiers, they also work with their families. This means that they need people who work with couples, families, children, youth, elderly, etc. The main difference I have experienced with working with the military is that clients are more willing to listen and work with you and their supervisors back you up. In other words, because they have a vested interest you get more cooperation. They do have jobs where you only work with kids so the options are there, you just need to explore and find them. Check out <usajobs.gov>. I will also comment that making $50,000+ a year with full benefits, 35 hours a week, full paid vacation time, paid training, and motivated clients is a motivation boost for social work. Private agencies, schools, and the federal government are the best options, in my opinion. Good luck!

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AJKelley in Southfield, Michigan

55 months ago

Dan thank you for your inspiring words and wisdom. I have been doing some searching to try and get back to what brought me into social work. It has always been teenagers around the academic arena. Not necessarily children with special needs or issues, but simply children who are struggling to succeed or with a direction for themselves. I would love the opportunity to work at a recreational center such as a YMCA and or perhaps a residential program. I'm also looking into jobs with the VA and have applied for a few of them. I've also been searching for school social work positions (my dream job while obtaining my masters) however, with Detroit Public Schools and other school districts in the area laying off so many experienced school social workers it has been a struggle to even get an interview for that kind of position. I'm going to keep looking and exploring my options.

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CJ in Chicago, Illinois

55 months ago

<i>What lifestyle, at home and work, do you really want? What are your personal limitations, and what do you not like about social work. When you can truly identify these issues, you can make an educated choice about your future and what you really want. </i>
Dan, I'm the originator of this thread, and I really appreciated reading your responses to some of the other questions asked, especially those above. I asked myself the questions you posed, about what attracted me to social work initially. For me, it was always private counseling practice (either solo or with a small group of others)for clients who a) wanted to be there, and b) could pay an appropriate fee. One of the best things I took away from my master's degree is that the most important resource you will ever have to work with is yourself and what you personally bring to a client. I still want to help people, and I'm good at it. My dream has always been to work for myself, on my own schedule (I come from a family of entrepreneurs). For a long time, I wanted to throw this out with the bathwater as well, because I was/am burned out after being paid less than I made than in my first job out of college, going into homes in scary neighborhoods alone and being physically threatened, etc. I had a nervous breakdown and needed therapy of my own! I have a clinical license that would allow me to go into private practice if I so chose, but I was intimidated by the fact that I had no business background, which I believe is necessary, as a private practice is a for-profit business, and the fact that I hate insurance companies and really don't want to contract with them. I'm a beginning web designer and love social media (even doing an internship in web marketing) but it seems that few private practice owners have any sort of web presence or really promote themselves. Would you be willing to talk with me about the agencies you started, and how you developed your business model? If so, pm me at cal0898@gmail.com Thanks

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

55 months ago

[Do u think obtaining a state license (LMSW) would improve the chance of getting hired in a better job?]

State license will always improve your chance of employment and higher pay, many agencies will not employ an unlicensed worker. A LMSW is a step up but LCSW is much better, how you get licensed depends on your concentration area. Clinical will get you more pay and is more valued. As far as getting decent pay, you need to go where the money is which is usually federal government. It also helps to be willing to move to the middle of nowhere to start (like Alaska).

Obtaining a license and training certifications will greatly improve your chances for a decent job. Those initials mean something. The two big areas that are growing for social work is chemical dependency and geriatrics, certification in these areas are expected to grow 20% more than average. Get the license.

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simonmsw83 in Iselin, New Jersey

55 months ago

Dan in Tallahassee, Florida said: [Do u think obtaining a state license (LMSW) would improve the chance of getting hired in a better job?]

State license will always improve your chance of employment and higher pay, many agencies will not employ an unlicensed worker. A LMSW is a step up but LCSW is much better, how you get licensed depends on your concentration area. Clinical will get you more pay and is more valued. As far as getting decent pay, you need to go where the money is which is usually federal government. It also helps to be willing to move to the middle of nowhere to start (like Alaska).

Obtaining a license and training certifications will greatly improve your chances for a decent job. Those initials mean something. The two big areas that are growing for social work is chemical dependency and geriatrics, certification in these areas are expected to grow 20% more than average. Get the license.

Thanks for the repy Dan, atleast the responce will keep me confident till I am done with my license exam.i am preparin for my license exam now, thinking of trying for another six months of job hunt after i obtain my license. If I am still unlucky i may have to explore other fields.

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simonmsw83 in Iselin, New Jersey

55 months ago

Dan in Tallahassee, Florida said: [Do u think obtaining a state license (LMSW) would improve the chance of getting hired in a better job?]

State license will always improve your chance of employment and higher pay, many agencies will not employ an unlicensed worker. A LMSW is a step up but LCSW is much better, how you get licensed depends on your concentration area. Clinical will get you more pay and is more valued. As far as getting decent pay, you need to go where the money is which is usually federal government. It also helps to be willing to move to the middle of nowhere to start (like Alaska).

Obtaining a license and training certifications will greatly improve your chances for a decent job. Those initials mean something. The two big areas that are growing for social work is chemical dependency and geriatrics, certification in these areas are expected to grow 20% more than average. Get the license.

Thanks for the repy Dan, atleast the responce will keep me confident till I am done with my license exam.i am preparin for my license exam now, thinking of trying for another six months of job hunt after i obtain my license. If I am still unlucky i may have to explore other fields.I have also applied for Gerontology cerification course (one year advanced msw degree). hope that would change the scenario as it is a growing field

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kateLSCWCSAC in Falls Church, Virginia

54 months ago

I am interested in this website. I have an MSW, have worked in the social work field for almost 20 years. I initially worked in the substance abuse/recovery field, then almost 13 years ago got a job in a state psychiatric hospital. I grew to love this work and to be very good at it. As usual in a state hospital, much of the time there are many policies that are ridiculous (like our latest one that if a staff member does not respond to a page, it constitutes abuse toward the one paging) and the admin. sits up front with no idea what we do behind the locked doors. We get assaulted (literally staff have their heads bashed against walls, spit on, chairs thrown at them and patients biting them, etc.) and the administration doesn't support us in any way. Staff get falsely charged with abuse and neglect of patients and spend hours defending themselves. I'm the latest in that line. My supervisor is never there. She tells patients and other staff things that are not accurate and thinks she's helping by stirring up a patient against their treatment team then doesn't even let the team know what she and the patient have been talking about. So the patient comes in blasting us and we sit there wondering where THIS came from. Anyway, I've had it. I am tired. I used to be able to roll with the waves of idiocy but I just can't do it anymore. I do not trust the administration to be working for the patient's best interests, or to back any of the staff up. I am terrified of getting black marks against my record that could incur sanctions from my state social work board. I am tired of there being far more attention paid to whether the language in the chart is "recovery-oriented enough" rather than to the actual patient. I need a new job and not in the SW field. I have dreams of stocking shelves at the local supermarket. Thanks for listening!

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

54 months ago

It is very understandable about your frustration and being tired of SW. I personally could never last that long in a state hospital setting. Maybe you do need to take a break for a while. I would suggest to take a look at the skill set you now have. How can it be used outside the hospital in another setting that may be less stressful. Private practice is one area, moving to a small clinic setting is another. With your experience you could potentially teach at a local college. Get contracts with businesses or agencies that need a substance abuse counselor. The military is usually looking for qualified substance abuse counselors/therapist, you could contract to provide services. Basically what I'm saying is rather than throw away all your experience to stock shelves ( I understand that desire), look for something outside of where you are now. A different environment can recharge your spirit and motivation for the field. The beauty of SW is there is an endless list of environments you can work with. Many sw'ers forget that there are many options and environments in which you can work. Get tired of one, go to another. To avoid burnout and resentment for not becoming a lawyer, we need to open a few more doors and make changes. This may be the opportunity for you to reevaluate what you want in your future. Create the perfect "job", step outside of the box and make a new start. The problem isn't sw, it is the environment in which you practice, therefore, change the environment.

Anyway, hopefully my words might help you a little.

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kateLSCWCSAC in Falls Church, Virginia

54 months ago

Yes, thanks so much for the encouragement and options. I love the SW profession, but the micromanagement by people who have no idea what you really do is very frustrating. I am actually looking at some other possibilities (other than stocking shelves :-)). I'll see what pans out! Thanks again!

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

54 months ago

I left the field for about 8 years, in part because of the micromanagement/administration. Private practice works best for me and my style. Good luck and remember, sometimes McDonalds will pay more than a job in social work. Good luck!

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ER in Union City, New Jersey

53 months ago

I have worked in child protection for 10 years and I cannot take it another day. I've read all the advice posted on this site, but I don't feel like it applies to me because I do not have a MSW. I lost the desire to pursue that degree approximately 8 years ago. Do you have any career change suggestions. I would like to continue helping others, but one thing I've learned is that I would like to do so indirectly. I am BURNT OUT.
Thanks for any help you can offer me.

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AJKelley in Detroit, Michigan

53 months ago

ER, I completely understand where you're coming from. I worked in and around child protective services, and as a social worker conducted therapy with families was in the bad neighborhoods at 8, 9, and even10pm dealing with all kinds of issues with the families and quickly burned out. My savior has been that I was able to start a new job helping individuals who apply for disability services with my state. The department is called DDS (Disability Determination Services) it's a state agency that makes the decisions on disability claims. It's a basic 9-5 job but with state pay and benefits, you're still helping people who really need your help, AND, it is 100% indirect. You still call clients but that's the extent of your contact with them at least for our program. So I would look to the state for other possible jobs that are indirect, or at least very different from what you're currently doing. See what else is out there.

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ER in Union City, New Jersey

53 months ago

AJ, thanks so much for your quick response and giving me something to consider. I will look to see if my state has a similar program. You've given me some hope.

Thanks so much.

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MJ in Lynchburg, Virginia

53 months ago

"She tells patients and other staff things that are not accurate and thinks she's helping by stirring up a patient against their treatment team then doesn't even let the team know what she and the patient have been talking about. So the patient comes in blasting us and we sit there wondering where THIS came from."
I sympathize, and understand what you are talking about. So much drama created by people with nothing better to do! Who suffers because of this? The patients and their families, not to mention the staff who must spend hours finding the documentation to defend themselves against false accusations. I hope that you will find work where your skills are valued and people are reasonably sane. Life is too short to deal with the craziness inflicted by the so-called "sane." Personally, if I were not supported by my faith and relationship with my loving Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, I would not be able to live in this world and find the strength to help others live in it too.

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laurenlee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

47 months ago

Angelize in NYC, New York said: Hi Laurenlee,

Yes, $45.00/hr in Dialysis and $67,000 in FT position.
Granted, it's not much when you consider what others in the health field earn , (i.e. PA, RN,) but then again, we aren't in this field for the money....

Good luck to you.

Angelize

Hi Angelize,

I know this thread is from a long time ago, but I was wondering how it is to work in an emergency room? I currently have an internship at a dialysis and so far I like it, and I would persue dialysis social work if I can find a posistion avaialable when I graduate.

is working in the hospital anything like working in the dialysis center? such as insurnace and things like that? I know (atleast in my experience so far) that dialysis social work is learning a lot about insurnace and medicare and medicaid..is your er sw position a lot of insurance work as well?

and feedback would be great!! thanks so much!

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Angelize in NYC, New York

47 months ago

laurenlee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Hi Angelize,

I know this thread is from a long time ago, but I was wondering how it is to work in an emergency room? I currently have an internship at a dialysis and so far I like it, and I would persue dialysis social work if I can find a posistion avaialable when I graduate.

is working in the hospital anything like working in the dialysis center? such as insurnace and things like that? I know (atleast in my experience so far) that dialysis social work is learning a lot about insurnace and medicare and medicaid..is your er sw position a lot of insurance work as well?

and feedback would be great!! thanks so much!

Hello,
Working in the ER is entirely different - you are basically doing Crisis Intervention - therefore your SW skills are put to use here. Wheras in the Dialysis Center, you are not doing much counseling and do more insurance (troubleshooting), LOTS of paperwork and followup is involved as well. In the ED, there is no f/u and very little paperwork. Also, much, much more challenging - no mundane, routine stuff; everyday is is different (heck, things can change from moment to moment) so you must be on CRISIS mode alot of the times.
Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

God Bless,
Angelize

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Looking in Hood River, Oregon

47 months ago

Hello everyone,

I received my MSW in 1995, worked for 2 years in the field, and then switched to teaching at the elementary level. I am now interested in working in the social work field again. However, it has been so long since I have received my degree and worked in the field and I find that I don't have the experience that the jobs require. I worked in the foster care field and many of the jobs require counseling experience, knowledge of substance/drug abuse, mental health etc. What should I do?

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Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts

46 months ago

Dan in Tallahassee, Florida said: Hi,

If you have a BSW you will never make much, wages for BSW's have actually gone down the past ten years (in most cases, not all). If you have a MSW with clinical concentration, the average start wage in the US is over $50,000. With the baby boomers, geriatric care will be the next big thing for social workers. Again, to get a livable wage it requires that MSW. If you want great benefits, decent pay, and opportunities, you need to think medical SW and government employment. The VA system hires more social workers than any other in the country, and the pay well. The military has a shortage of social workers and are desperate to hire/contract any good sw'er with a MSW. They have such a shortage they started training soldiers to get their MSW rather than wait to find qualified civilians. They have less sw'ers now than they did ten years ago and now is when they really need them.

The key overall is having that MSW clinical degree if you want a decent wage, either that or luck.

I have been contemplating all of the issues that I have seen addressed on this site about social work. I have always been a social worker and worked at jobs somewhat related to the field, but didn't have the money or opportunity to get the MSW and LICSW until later in life. I do enjoy the work, but I am BURNT OUT also. Currently I am a Program Manager and work in the field of substance abuse. I would love to band together with other SWs to start some kind of a for profit business I believe they call it social enterpreneurship. If anyone is interested in this concept and is in the area, please let me know. I don't think that SWs get enough support from other SWs. It would be great to get together with other SWs in the area, offer supportAnd I agree about the management. I don't have any support or guidance from any of the administration. They simply don't respond when I ask a major question that affects my job. I am hung out to dry.

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Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts

46 months ago

Dan in Tallahassee, Florida said: Hi,

If you have a BSW you will never make much, wages for BSW's have actually gone down the past ten years (in most cases, not all). If you have a MSW with clinical concentration, the average start wage in the US is over $50,000. With the baby boomers, geriatric care will be the next big thing for social workers. Again, to get a livable wage it requires that MSW. If you want great benefits, decent pay, and opportunities, you need to think medical SW and government employment. The VA system hires more social workers than any other in the country, and the pay well. The military has a shortage of social workers and are desperate to hire/contract any good sw'er with a MSW. They have such a shortage they started training soldiers to get their MSW rather than wait to find qualified civilians. They have less sw'ers now than they did ten years ago and now is when they really need them.

The key overall is having that MSW clinical degree if you want a decent wage, either that or luck.

I have been contemplating all of the issues that I have seen addressed on this site about social work. I have always been a social worker and worked at jobs somewhat related to the field, but didn't have the money or opportunity to get the MSW and LICSW until later in life. I do enjoy the work, but I am BURNT OUT also. Currently I am a Program Manager and work in the field of substance abuse. I would love to band together with other SWs to start some kind of a for profit business I believe they call it social enterpreneurship. If anyone is interested in this concept and is in the area, please let me know. I don't think that SWs get enough support from other SWs. It would be great to get together with other SWs in the area, offer supportAnd I agree about the management. I don't have any support or guidance from any of the administration. They simply don't respond when I ask a major question that affects my job. I am hung out to dry.

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

46 months ago

Getting burnt out happens and I believe most social workers quit and join another profession, part of that is the lack of support. Social workers also tend to not seek out support. In the business world you join several business support groups, you get involved in many training's etc. but in social work you only join NASW that gives little to no support. I tried to start a network of sw'ers designed to provide support, improve clinical skills, finding employment, learn how to start a practice or an agency, etc., only got one response out of 200. Part of the problem I think is that MSW programs do not teach anything other than working for a non-profit agency. You are expected to fall into the CPS, govt job, follow the robot type of thinking. Once you get some experience and find you don't like that type of job, realize you have no real support, you don't know what to do. You were never taught how to start a business and probably never made enough money to take the risk. Decide what your passion is and then create a business around that passion.

I'm all for banding together as a group and believe that you could be very profitable. I have several ideas that I've gone over the last year and would be willing to discuss those if you are interested. I'm not in your area but in this age of social networks and the internet, a support network and business doesn't have to be in the same town.

The biggest salary and most fulfillment I've had in social work was when I owned my own company providing social work/counseling services. If more social workers started doing their own business demanding higher compensation, the profession would gain more credibility and average pay would go up for all.

Anyway, there are options and ideas to start a profit business in social work. Let me know if you are interested in talking further. Support wise,I can actually see a national network for social workers being developed.

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Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts

46 months ago

Looking in Hood River, Oregon said: Hello everyone,

I received my MSW in 1995, worked for 2 years in the field, and then switched to teaching at the elementary level. I am now interested in working in the social work field again. However, it has been so long since I have received my degree and worked in the field and I find that I don't have the experience that the jobs require. I worked in the foster care field and many of the jobs require counseling experience, knowledge of substance/drug abuse, mental health etc. What should I do?

I say go out there and apply. You can work for an inpatient tx facility. There you can gain experience in substance abuse/and mental health. Best of luck!!

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

46 months ago

Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts said: I would like to talk further. How do I get in touch with you? Thanks.

Send email to therapyinc@embarqmail.com

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

46 months ago

Looking in Hood River, Oregon said: Hello everyone,

I received my MSW in 1995, worked for 2 years in the field, and then switched to teaching at the elementary level. I am now interested in working in the social work field again. However, it has been so long since I have received my degree and worked in the field and I find that I don't have the experience that the jobs require. I worked in the foster care field and many of the jobs require counseling experience, knowledge of substance/drug abuse, mental health etc. What should I do?

Right now it may be difficult to find a sw job without the experience however, experience as a teacher may be helpful. Apply to foster care agencies and school districts to start with . Be willing to get bottom jobs in mental health such as inpatient, clinical associate, etc. Many non-profit drug abuse agencies, especially those that get state money will hire someone starting out. You won't get paid much but you'll get good experience that will lead to better jobs. Keep applying and try networking with other local social workers. You could also try contacting sw'ers in private practice and ask if they will help you, perhaps act as an intern for awhile. If you don't have your LCSW, find out what it takes to get it, this one thing makes a huge difference. Many agencies cannot hire an unlicensed MSW due to their contract agreements. You may also take a few classes in substance abuse to show you at least have the book knowledge. Lastly; get creative and create your own job. I've done that a few different times. Good luck.

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Looking in Hood River, OR in White Salmon, Washington

46 months ago

Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts said: I would like to talk further. How do I get in touch with you? Thanks.

Thank you for your comments. My email address is coloradosteph7@hotmail.com. My name is Stephanie.

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BellaLuna

46 months ago

I have been in the field for 5 months and do intensive home-based therapy with juvenile delinquents and their difficult to engage families. Let's just say it has been awful. I have been through the scariest parts of town well into the evening hours and have been terrified for my personal safety so many times, I have lost count. Sunday nights I would become so sad because I knew what my week had in store, and often, I would cry Monday morning because I felt just couldn't face it. I have no real supervision and feel I am struggling to keep my head above water everyday. I recently decided, this is no way to live. I am leaving the field to do sales, and while I am nervous, I realized that I'd rather have peace of mind and make a liveable wage, than bust my butt "trying to make a difference" while my own personal safety is on the line. Any words of wisdom or advice would be so very welcomed and appreciated!!

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Tam in Cottonwood, Arizona

46 months ago

I just came across this forum by accident. What a wonderful place! I've been a sw for 10 years (starting in my 50's) and so far have been a psychiatric sw in a state hospital, a military PTSD sw, a dialysis sw (not making $45/hr, for sure), a substance abuse counselor off and on since 1988, and a few other sw jobs in other places. I quit my last job for a medical problem that was cleared up in a few months, but like others on this site, I have been making decisions about my sw career over the past year. For all the same reasons stated, I have tired of specific environments - while I have continued to loved my work, I've grown disappointed in some of the workers in the field. I agree we are given a set of skills and a certain amount of passion as sw'ers. Being creative and stepping outside the box allows us freedom to go for what we know we can achieve, and letting the experience behind us push us foreward. This is a process and sometimes I even do treatment plans for myself so I can accomplish the small steps I need to go through to get closer to my goal. I too am looking to open my own office and work a little less than 40 hrs a week with the person I trust, myself. I know nothing about the business end, but I can learn. I plan to revisit this site because this is a connection that is inspiring. My positive thoughts go to those who are questioning themselves and what got them to where they are, and where do they go from here. Thank you!

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CJ in Park Ridge, Illinois

46 months ago

I started this thread 13 months ago. A lot can change in a year, thankfully. I especially want to thank Dan in FL, a frequent poster here, and someone I've exchanged a few emails with. He's an optimist and we've had some good discussions about the future of the mental health field.

After a year of being out of work after a layoff from a social services agency, I found a job 2 and 1/2 months ago with an EAP (employee assistance program), by which I mean it is not part of an insurance company. I work in their access center and do a combination of phone counseling, scheduling in-person counseling for the therapists who do that, and other types of assistance-supervisory referrals, managerial consultations,etc The things I like about it are that I am in a pleasant environment and work regular daytime hours. I'm never on call and right now I don't even see clients in person. Oh, and for the first time in my social work career, I'm being decently paid. :) The things I don't like: the stress of fielding call after call at times. That can be very draining, and I've also got to stay on top of other work I'm doing in the meantime. I am free to take breaks whenever I need to, though, I don't feel pressured to shorten my lunch hour, and my boss isn't the type to breathe down anyone's neck.

There are a number of therapists at the company who began in the call center but then moved into seeing clients in person while still being employed by the company, or starting businesses of their own and taking referrals as affiliates of the company. It's nice to know that this is a place it seems that I can 'grow' with. Also, I have read that some EAPs have begun to use e-counseling in certain situations, and my boss is working towards making this happen for us as well. So I just wanted to let everyone know that while I'm not in love with this job, it's the best I've had in my career and on the whole I like coming to work! That is a big first for me.
-CJ

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TE in Cottonwood, Arizona

46 months ago

CJ in Park Ridge, Congratulations on your recent employment, and in a position you seem to be enjoying. Sounds like you will be able to expand if you want to. Your post comes across as a happy person. I have been unemployed for a year and am eventually going to become independent, after I pass the LCSW exam, however, am looking for work that is in a less stressful environment and am going to be moving out of state. Are you independently licensed at this time? How did you obtain this position? Was it through an agency, or on-line, or? Thank you for any feedback

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socialwkr in Missouri

46 months ago

BellaLuna said: I have been in the field for 5 months and do intensive home-based therapy with juvenile delinquents and their difficult to engage families. Let's just say it has been awful. I have been through the scariest parts of town well into the evening hours and have been terrified for my personal safety so many times, I have lost count. Sunday nights I would become so sad because I knew what my week had in store, and often, I would cry Monday morning because I felt just couldn't face it. I have no real supervision and feel I am struggling to keep my head above water everyday. I recently decided, this is no way to live. I am leaving the field to do sales, and while I am nervous, I realized that I'd rather have peace of mind and make a liveable wage, than bust my butt "trying to make a difference" while my own personal safety is on the line. Any words of wisdom or advice would be so very welcomed and appreciated!!

I am sorry to hear about your experience! Your safety is definitely important, and you have to take care of yourself and do what is best for yourself ultimately. When we start getting to the point that a job is taking such a negative vibe.......where we just dread going to work and are afraid, it is definitely time for us and okay for us to re-evaluate our situation. You have a very intense job and without good supervision support and an added dangerous environment........sounds pretty stressful just reading what you do.

If you enjoy the field, maybe just a change of position may be what you need?? For example, a position where clients came to an agency versus you going into the home?

I definitely wish you the best!!

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socialwkr in Missouri

46 months ago

I would be interested in joining a support network for social workers online. I know it is very important. I stopped my membership for NASW because of the expense and with no real service. I think it is over $200 a year? NASW creates all these new "specialty certificates", then charge social workers an arm and a leg to apply and maintain them. NASW makes more profit this way. I called them when I was a member about state regulations for social workers in nursing homes, and they told me they did not know the requirements and referred me to the Department of Health & Senior Services. Local NASW offices should know these issues and advocate for social workers, in my opinion for the amount of dues you have to pay!

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

46 months ago

Social Work support network? Anyone else interested? I've spoken to a few on this forum who were interested, if others are interested, please voice it. If there is enough of an interest, and you can ask other sw'ers at work etc., we may create a support network. I'm talking about something more along the lines that NASW should be without the cost. Research info, active forums, counseling for social workers ( both BSW & MSW), job/employment support, private practice trianing, etc.

So if interested, reply with your support and interest. The other factor is that it will cost money to get things set up and running. So the next question is what would a reasonable fee be? $180 + like NASW is way to high, we'd run it solely as a service, not to make an income.

I can see this as a national network that could take away some of NASW's business. Social workers need real support and this may be a good option.

Tell us what you think.

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socialwkr in Missouri

46 months ago

I would be interested in joining a social work support network!

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RG in Clifton, New Jersey

45 months ago

Hello All,

I work for CPS in NJ. Thought of pursuing my MSW but I'm not really sure. I'm very burn out and sad. I really wanted to be a nurse, but not sure if I can hack it.

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socialwkr in Missouri

45 months ago

RG in Clifton, New Jersey said: Hello All,

I work for CPS in NJ. Thought of pursuing my MSW but I'm not really sure. I'm very burn out and sad. I really wanted to be a nurse, but not sure if I can hack it.

CPS is tough work and easy burn out for sure! My hat definitely goes out to you and all the field workers who often see the negative side of social services. Thanks for being in the trenches!

Ironically, the grass is never greener on the other side, I have been checking out some of the nursing boards and they have a ton of stress & burn out too!

Happy New Year to you, and whatever you decide for your future......just do what you love and feel passionate about!

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Hopeful in Plymouth, Massachusetts

44 months ago

Hi Everyone!! Hi Dan: hope you're well. We have talked about this before, I would LOVE a support network. I would be very interested in working on in my neck of the woods: from Plymouth to say Bostonin helping to make the network happen. I am still trying to find another job right now. Things have gotten revamped again at my company. They have added clinical supervisor to my role of Program Director. I don't have anyone to give me supervision and it makes it tough. What I would really like to do right now is to get a FFS job and look for another full-time or possibly start a private practice. I run an outpatient clinic and most of the time I'm on my own. I only get attention if some crisis or problem comes up and then it's a call to me to fix it. Dan: can you give me your email again?? Let's get this started!

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Burned Out in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

44 months ago

Social Work is a joke - I've leaving the profession to become a nurse. Better pay, more respect, and not having to deal with finding drug users, alcoholics, and dead beats free housing or other government handouts.

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socialwkr in Missouri

44 months ago

Burned Out in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: Social Work is a joke - I've leaving the profession to become a nurse. Better pay, more respect, and not having to deal with finding drug users, alcoholics, and dead beats free housing or other government handouts.

As in all fields, there will be pros and cons. The nurse forums have nurses also talking about the cons of their field too. As some of the nurses on there are saying....better pay BUT.....they still have a lot of stress in their work environment as well. Some of them are leaving the nursing field. Some nurses are also talking about the difficulty in finding jobs.

I guess the lesson for myself is that we must do what we are passionate about. Because in all things, there is no "perfect" of anything.

If you are burned out as a social worker..........just realize that you will be a burned out nurse too lol

Check out the nursing boards!!

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, but just realize I have never heard of a stress-free nurse either! They get worked too death, especially in health care settings like hospitals. And some Dr's are just mean in how they interact with nurses and other medical professionals.

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Dan in Tallahassee, Florida

44 months ago

Hi all, I'm still alive but overloaded right now with new clients, paperwork, and family crisis. I receive email from this board at therapyinc@embarqmail.com for those interested.

For burned out in Pittsburgh I think we can all relate. The key is finding what part of social work you truly have a passion for and follow it. Social work is very broad with lots of various jobs, some "suck" and wear and you out while others are exciting. Finding what fits you best can take time. Unfortunately today most of the rewarding jobs and pay require an MSW. If you don't like working with the deadbeats and drug users, find a job where you don't. I didn't like working with child protection state jobs but I enjoyed private agency foster care and adoption. This may be a good time to evaluate what you really enjoy and then figure out how to get there. You don't have to be stuck in one type of service. As far as nursing, you find the exact same complaints. Again it depends on what type of nursing and who you work for. Pay all depends on your specialty, experience, and employer. Some nurses barely make it while others have a 6 figure income. Social workers can also obtain that 6 figure income. Part of that key is stop thinking the program dogma you were taught in college. Most colleges prepares social workers for government social service jobs that burn you out quick. Find a new perspective and be creative in finding what you enjoy doing. The money will follow. It may be a good time to take a break for awhile ( I did) and then come back and find your passion.

Good Luck.

Sounds like we need to find time to create that support network.

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cshults

43 months ago

Hi. I'm 25, graduated last May 2010 with my MSW, and seven months into working for a Community Mental Health Center. I have realized that I do not want to be a social worker in any capacity. Does anyone have any advice on how to switch careers or what fields hire MSW's that aren't specifically social work jobs? Please help...this is so disappointing.

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V in Lancaster, Texas

43 months ago

cshults said: Hi. I'm 25, graduated last May 2010 with my MSW, and seven months into working for a Community Mental Health Center. I have realized that I do not want to be a social worker in any capacity. Does anyone have any advice on how to switch careers or what fields hire MSW's that aren't specifically social work jobs? Please help...this is so disappointing.

I agree with you completely...I two have my MSW and no longer have a desire to work in SW in any capacity. What im about to say.....you might not want to consider but its what im doing. I did some research and it turns out you can become a nurse with an assoc. degree...for some reason I always thought you needed 4 yrs of college....so with that information i seriously started thinking..... did i really want to be a nurse for the next 30 yrs?? The answer was no...too labor intensive...so i have picked the next best thing. This summer I will start a dual masters program in hospital administration/mba. In the city of dallas hospital admin. make an avg of $115k a year. This position will give me a chance to still help people...but make an income that affords me the ability to pay back my student loans.....and improve the quality of my life.

Now let me answer your question directly...the following ideas dont require additional education and they are non social work things you can do with a Msw: grant writing, research, policy, teach(including college level), become a development director..ie fund raising, recruiting, and college adviser....just to name a few. Good luck!

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socialwkr in Missouri

43 months ago

cshults said: Hi. I'm 25, graduated last May 2010 with my MSW, and seven months into working for a Community Mental Health Center. I have realized that I do not want to be a social worker in any capacity. Does anyone have any advice on how to switch careers or what fields hire MSW's that aren't specifically social work jobs? Please help...this is so disappointing.

Sorry to hear about your experience. As you know, you can do a lot of different things with your MSW degree. There are individuals who are managers, directors, grant writers, the list goes on and on with their MSW degree. It may just be you are burned out and need a little you time to relax!

Just think and relax, meditate.......find what you are truly passionate inside about and go for it.
And don't discount the experience you have gained from your current position......and market that! Social work is very broad, and finding your area of interest is important. That is why social work programs have the block internships and such. There are individuals who love working in different settings, and there is enough to go around!

If you visit other job forums on here, you will also find disenchantment I have learned (nursing boards, pharmacy boards, guidance counseling boards, etc).

Good luck to you.

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