Undergrad college student: What jobs are good for me?

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Julie Jenson in Massachusetts

55 months ago

I am a sophomore and right now a psych major. I want to get a BA in psych however i do not want to become a psychologist because people say psychologist don't make much really and i'd be in all of that debt trying to get a PH.D and I don't know if i'd want that much schooling if I won't make much. So I thought I would get a BA in psych and then get my masters in social work and then get a license and if that didn't work out before even getting my license and i didn't like social work then i would do my best to get into nursing school and combine my degrees of social work and psych and either do case management or just regular nursing.

I am not good at math or science at all but i want to make good money. Is it possible for somebody who isn't good at math and science to work hard and do well at a job that involves math and science? I wanted to do social work because i want to counsel people and help people but it seems underpaid. Where i live on salary.com it says that pay with a BA in social work(which i don't need since i have a BA in psych) is $49,460 annually..With a Masters the pay is $58,229 annually and with a license its $52,584 annually. This doesn't make sense..why do licensed clinical social workers make less than someone with only a Masters degree? Is this accurate?

anyways can you throw out some ideas of what I can do for a career choice where i help people. I saw somewhere on here people mentioned occupational therapy helps people and you make more money. What exactly do they do and how much do they make, and how long is the schooling?

Sorry for all of the questions i'm just overwhelmed and stressed with needing to figure out a major soon!

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onesw in Vancouver, British Columbia

55 months ago

The information you have does seem a bit inaccurate. As a general rule, licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) do make a bit more money than non-clinical MSW-level social workers. Exact figures are very much dependent on your location and your area of practice. Here are some ballpark figures for Massachusetts social workers: www.indeed.com/salary/q-Social-Worker-l-Massachusetts.html

I'm a social worker and work in a hospital. As far as I can tell, even though nursing doesn't involve tons of math, it might not give you the level of satisfaction you're after, since the profession is (quite often) very practical/hands-on. Most floor nurses don't have the time to engage with patients emotionally, and in order to get into a nursing position that is not specific to bedside nursing, you need to have been in the field for quite some time.

Occupational therapy is a great fit if you're looking to help people achieve physical/functional goals, and to assess homes for equipments needs, etc, but emotional support is (again) secondary in the profession. You're not really counselling patients/clients. Furthermore, while OT is a bit more lucrative than social work, it's not exponentially better, and it's definitely far less financially rewarding than psychology.

I guess law might be an interesting choice, particularly if you pursue public interest law. Then again, unemployment rates for lawyers are sky high at this time, and so you might face a bit of instability even though your income might be high in the long-run.

What it all comes down to, I think, is whether you place more value on income, or on your level of satisfaction at work. I can tell you that although I don't make oodles of money (~54,000), I'm very, very happy with my career and wouldn't want to do anything else with my life. When you spend most of your waking life at work, it's really important to be doing something you're passionate about - at least that's what I think.

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onesw in Vancouver, British Columbia

55 months ago

Oh, I should also add that even though social work positions don't pay great, a lot of the jobs are very stable, especially in the public sector. I don't know what it's like in the States, but I know that here in Canada, I will always have a job, and have a pretty sweet pension plan and benefits. You wouldn't really have those things as a lawyer or a psychologist, especially if you're in private practice where the $$$ are.

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