Few professions encounter as many stereotypes as modern social work. Unfortunately, many of these beliefs, besides their overwhelming inaccuracy, may also inspire doubt in individuals considering pursuing this as a career. Below, we'll explore some of the more common myths and show how rewarding a career it actually is.
Not a "Real" Job
Contrary to what some think, full-time workers often require a Bachelor's degree in Social Work (BSW), or a related degree such as psychology or sociology. For those in a clinical field, a Master's in Social Work (MSW) is often mandatory. Most workers do so full-time, and encounter other professionals without significant training and experience is rare.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for this field in 2016 was $46,890. At a median hourly rate of $22.54 / hour, this role is quickly becoming a popular choice for new graduates wishing to combine noble work with quality wages. Beyond this, the Bureau also notes that the field enjoyed a 15% increase in demand last year, far above the average occupational growth.
Offers Few Career Options
In reality, this occupation offers a huge career progression across a range of work. These advocates encounter a vast array of areas, from child welfare, substance abuse, and counseling to disability advocacy, public health, and human rights. The government is not the only employer for these workers; universities, hospitals, and non-profits are always on the lookout for teachers, consultants, or advisors.
Workers are Bureaucrats
Most social workers operate with relative autonomy in their work. Due to the nature of the work, they often require (and enjoy) flexible schedules to provide services to their clients. Those who work in a clinical setting often open their own practices; more and more counseling services provided by Licensed Social Workers (LCSW) can be found when searching for therapists, an area formerly dominated by psychologists and psychiatrists.
If you've been questioning whether this is a career for you, we hope this list will help in your decision. This profession is a phenomenal field for individuals wishing to combine a passion for service with the desire for a solid career, and as we've seen above, the profession's rewards go far beyond helping others!
If interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health section of our blog.
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