(Closed) Calling All Social Workers!

posted 5 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
4640 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I am a Social Worker, but in Australia…. so my info will not be valid for you. ( I work for AU Federal Government in Welfare and compliance, but have a background in Palliative care and also volunteer management).

So, thought I would give you a *bump* for US peeps to respond!

Post # 4
Member
691 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

My job means I work with social workers daily. A lot of it is mundane stuff like connecting families with agencies to help parents learn really basic skills (like keeping their house clean and getting their kids to the doctor). Some of it is heavier like working with parents who repeatedly lose custody of their kids, or working with children who have been abused. Some of it involves being an advocate for foster kids or helping someone get their GED. 

 

 

Edited so as to not insult: it’s not great money, it’s emotionally draining, and almost everyone you talk to will at some point talk about getting burned out on being overworked and haunted by cases. But it’s also extremely rewarding when you can help people. 

 

 

 

Post # 5
Member
4640 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@SnurfMurph86:  Not bad money here in AU. (I am on about $85,000 per annum, AU dollar is just a bit higher than yours). But I agree about the draining part… vicarious trauma knocks at every turn.

Post # 6
Member
691 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

That’s great for AU, here in the US most I know started in at around $30-$35K and hope to reach the low $40Ks. Which isn’t the worst, but for the hours and demands of the job it’s not great. You could be a manager for a local restaurant and make more. But people don’t take this career path (or work with non profits) for the money.

Just checked a government site, and you make twice the median salary of a social worker here in the States… 

 

 

Post # 7
Member
4640 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@SnurfMurph86:  Wow. That makes me sad. I do work in a specialised area, but checking data for AU the average wage is $67,000, so there would be a lot over here at my salary level.

** edited to add, I totally agree money is not everything, but gotta be honest, I would NOT do my job for 30-40 thousand a year. I would choose a far less stressful position.

 

 

Post # 8
Member
691 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Olivepepper:  Not to bash the US or anything, but In My Humble Opinion that is pretty typical here, to severely underpay the most valuable jobs. I don’t think I could tell you of a teacher I know who is able to work near or in a major city without needing a job on the side. I think I read somewhere once that our starting salary for airline pilots is $24,000 a year? It sucks because these jobs are something that people are rightfully quite proud of being able to accomplish but if you don’t feel like you are being truly valued for the meaningful work you do, it can be burnout central very quickly.

Actually one of my good friends has her Master’s in social work, but now works with non profits basically self contracted. She would only go back to what she was doing before if she were married and not the only source of income.

Post # 9
Member
4640 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@SnurfMurph86:  Wow.

We ARE very, very lucky here in Australia.

Post # 10
Member
817 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013 - Mansion House at the MD Zoo

I would not recommend it. I work with a number of social workers, and echo what others have said about burnout and low salary. In order to practice you need a masters plus hundreds of hours of “supervision”–basically training/mentoring with a licensed SW. There are 3 levels of tests that you need to take and pass before you can work independently, and even though you can practice under supervision after taking the first one it can be very difficult to find someone who will put their license on the line for you and take the time to do supervision wiht you–in the private sector you would generally need to pay them.

Once you are licensed, you have a number of different avenues to go down. Working in private practice or in a larger clinic setting providing therapy (does not pay well, but is the traditional SW role), doing case management/discharge planning in hospitals (set hours and salary, but again not a ton of money, and you’re basically calling around to nursing homes and home health agencies trying to get people out of the hospital, having a joint RN helps), working in in-patient settings doing group and 1:1 therapy, things like that.

There is also a mindset taught in SW that is not terribly similar to how a life coach works and In My Humble Opinion can lead to burnout. SWs are taught to bend over backwards, do what the patient needs, don’t tell them what to do but help to guide them to reaching their own decisions….. It can be very frustrating when someone is doing something that is so clearly bad for them, but you can’t just say, ‘hey, this is a terrible idea, you need to do X or Y instead of Z.’ People burn out very quickly, and most of the SWs I know who are practicing and love it are also in some kind of therapy themselves. (Note, this is not a bad thing, therapy is an incredibly valuable tool, but do you want a job that’s making you clinically anxious/depressed/etc?)

I’m happy to share more if you want to PM me. I looked into going back for my masters at one point but ruled out SW as not cost effective vis a vis student loans and not an area I want to get into. If you do choose to, you can probably go into school with a Comm BA. You may need to take a couple psych intro classes, but if you have a minor you may have already taken them.

Post # 11
Member
5544 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

I’m a nurse but we have a social worker on our floor and it is a little different than what most people think of with social work. She does a lot fof getting families hooked up with rehab,  or nursing homes and hospice in my floor’s case, getting people who don’t have the insurance to pay for it with groups who help get wheel chairs and make houses accessible and a whole lot of getting people with mental.illness into the local public psych facilities.

 

She deals with so much red tape and mostly I see her on the phone with other agencies social workers trying to make the bureaucracy work for our patients.

 

Our social worker has for sure a bachelor’s in social work,  I think a lot of places you may be over qualified with a masters because the agencies can’t afford to pay high enough to pay off a masters degree. But I’m not sure about that.

I have a friend who just graduated with her bachelor’s in social work and she is in the school system locally,  she both loves and hates it. A lot of work and heartache if you can’t compartmentalize the work from your life because at her school,  its dealing with a lot of abuse and neglect and poverty. 

 

Post # 13
Member
3465 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I think it depends on where you work and what area you practice in. I’ve talked to a number of social workers in the child abuse sector that LOVE their job, but they have a lot of different responsibilities so they don’t really get bored. I’m applying to grad school for social work within the next year, but it’s not for everyone 🙂 just depends on what you like!

Post # 14
Member
1848 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I also like the fact that it seems pretty easy to take a break from to be a SAHM  and get back into when the kids are in school.

 

That probably won’t be true at all. Sorry. It’s not easy to “take a break” from Social Work. Things stress you out, the things your clients will tell you can and will traumatize you. If you’re a Case Manager, you probably won’t be working regular hours. I have a friend who works for the major state equivalents of CPS/DYFS/DHS, and he sometimes doesn’t get home until 10PM. It’s not an easy job.

 

Edited so as to not insult: it’s not great money, it’s emotionally draining, and  almost everyone you talk to will at some point talk about getting burned out on  being overworked and haunted by cases. But it’s also extremely rewarding when  you can help people.

This.

 

 

 

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