looking to switch out of social work

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Comments (8)

AMB in Wyoming, Michigan

37 months ago

Hi

I graduated my BSW. I went into the program with high expectation and came out with so many doubts. I wish I would have listened to my gut and changed majors at the beginning, but I thought there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been constantly looking for jobs with no luck. I'm sick of competing with MSW's for entry-level positions and I have no desire to go back to school for my MSW. I recently took a job in retail, but it's not nearly enough for me to pay back the money I owe in student loans. I want to go back to school but I have no idea what direction to take. For those who have switched out, what path have you taken? What could be a somewhat easy transition? I like such a failure :(

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Mary in Randolph, Massachusetts

36 months ago

Hi there - I feel for you, believe me. You are NOT a failure. You completed a bachelor's degree. That's a great accomplishment. Truly.

I wish I had some suggestions for you as far as switching careers. I'm wondering what I can do myself. I like helping people, but you can't pay bills with meaningful work. I was googling info on what you can do with a social work degree other than social work and found your post.

I have a master's degree and the highest level of licensure in my state. I understand your frustration at competing with MSWs for entry level positions. Unfortunately, social work jobs have diminished over time as have salaries. Agencies hire people right out of school so they can keep salaries low. And budget cuts often end social work related programs. There's not a lot out there job-wise, and having your MSW does not magically open doors. Supervisory positions pay more than direct client contact jobs, but I'm not interested in management. I went to college late, went straight through for my master's and am so deeply in debt for student loans that I will never be able to retire. My monthly payment is over $600. so my best advice is - run away from social work as fast as you can! :) I know I have done a lot to help people in need, but had I the chance to redo my education, I'd pick a different path. Don't know what that would be, but it wouldn't be social work. A shame, because I'm good at what I do. Only wish there was some money to be had for working so hard every day.

I hope you find the career path that is best for you. Maybe someone will reply to your post and we'll both find a new career path!
Good luck.

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jslinfla in Delray Beach, Florida

36 months ago

You don't necessarily have to run from social work altogether.
I was able to make an easier transition with my BSW degree. I went to school online and earned a paralegal certificate. I am currently using my paralegal skills and my social work background at a Legal Aid office. I am doing this on a volunteer basis, and my supervisors love my work. This will help you put substantive work experience on your resume. Just my opinion.

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jslinfla in Delray Beach, Florida

36 months ago

You don't necessarily have to run from social work altogether.
I was able to make an easier transition with my BSW degree. I went to school online and earned a paralegal certificate. I am currently using my paralegal skills and my social work background at a Legal Aid office. I am doing this on a volunteer basis, and my supervisors love my work. This will help you put substantive work experience on your resume.

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Mary in Randolph, Massachusetts

36 months ago

jslinfla in Delray Beach, Florida said: You don't necessarily have to run from social work altogether.
I was able to make an easier transition with my BSW degree. I went to school online and earned a paralegal certificate. I am currently using my paralegal skills and my social work background at a Legal Aid office. I am doing this on a volunteer basis, and my supervisors love my work. This will help you put substantive work experience on your resume.

The paralegal piece sounds great. I'm happy it works for you. However, the volunteer part may put good experience on your resume, but it doesn't pay the bills. I'm single, my student loan is $600+/month, my car is in the shop. I need a career change that brings in more money. Would love to start a business of my own, but have no original ideas. I'll keep my thinking cap on. :)

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Ambivalent in Seattle in Seattle, Washington

36 months ago

You are not a failure! No one finds a decent job right out of undergrad anymore! Isn't the umemployment rate for new grads closer to 25%? You're not alone. There are a couple of routes you could take. Volunteering is a great idea, both to gain experience, and to see first-hand what you do and don't enjoy doing. You are wise not to rush to graduate school just because you can't find a job in your field. Unfortunately the Master's is the new Bachelor's (depending on your field), but graduate school is a huge investment and something you shouldn't do until you are sure it will lead to the sort of job you know you want.

If I were you, I would look into the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Jesuit Volunteers. You can defer your student loans, gain skills (being bilingual is a huge plus) and will certainly have life-changing experiences. Many of these programs provide tuition awards upon completion, and make you eligible for scholarships as well.

Don't be discouraged--use this time to explore and figure out what you really want. You have tons of time! =)

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toyapat in Kissimmee, Florida

7 months ago

Hi,
I recently relocated with my husband and son to Kissimmee, Florida. I have my masters degree in social work with a specialization in clinical social work. However, I have been searching for employment for man months and it has become extremely frustrating. I am at the point where I am thinking of changing careers. I am not sure how to make the transition and would like to do so without going back to school. I am already in debt with student loans. I spend day and night searching the internet for jobs. I have also been searching for staffing agencies but there seems to be no staffing agencies. I decided to relocate because i believed that it would be a great place to raid my son. I have been on two interviews and they were located downtown Orlando, which is 1 hour from where I reside and the salary did not seem to be worth the travel. Please any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you

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aros in Norwood, Massachusetts

5 months ago

AMB in Wyoming, Michigan said: Hi

I graduated my BSW. I went into the program with high expectation and came out with so many doubts. I wish I would have listened to my gut and changed majors at the beginning, but I thought there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been constantly looking for jobs with no luck. I'm sick of competing with MSW's for entry -level positions and I have no desire to go back to school for my MSW. I recently took a job in retail, but it's not nearly enough for me to pay back the money I owe in student loans. I want to go back to school but I have no idea what direction to take. For those who have switched out, what path have you taken? What could be a somewhat easy transition? I like such a failure :(

I feel the same way except I have my MSW. I took a social worker job where it included home visits. I thought I would love it. But it turned out that I was placing myself in unsafe situations. I thought "a career change" would never happen to me. I continued to search what else is out there for social work. Alot of jobs I got offered a position was either per diem, fee for service or part time work with no benefits. So now I decided to take a position as a preschool teacher which I love but I wanted to do more social work. But I needed full time work and insurance benefits. I'm still searching for different careers that have a higher pay and that it doesn't include going back for my Master's degree. I can't do nursing. So any advice would be helpful. I would just job shadow alot of thing before going back to school again. I wished that's what I did. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I hope I'm not the only person that feels this way after receiving a MSW. Ugh! The more I think about all the effort of schooling, the more it upsets me. So i try to remain positive and remind myself that you have to start somewhere in order to be happy.

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