Are You Considering Getting Your Master of Social Work Degree?
When you begin to consider earning a Master of Social Work degree, you most likely recognize that this is no ordinary career choice. In most cases, you have not come to this crossroads in search of your highest paying option or out of a need for the highest esteem in today’s society.
Rather, you have likely come to this place in your journey less as a result of a decision and more from a deep inner calling. You are most certainly a person who is longing to touch people, help others in their healing, give back to your community and to gain satisfaction and fulfillment from your work.
Being a Social Worker is a Fulfilling Career Path
Congratulations! You are about to embark on a path which has the potential to create great growth. Growth for you as a person and growth for the people who you will assist in the future.
But hear this: a job as a Master of Social Work is not for the faint of heart, the squeamish or even the naive noble healer.
During your studies as a to become a Master of Social Work and your initial years of interning and hours of supervision, you will come to know your motivations more clearly.
You may feel jaded at times by clients who attempt to take advantage of you or of the system and you may contemplate giving up due to increased demands and the emotional stress of working with people in need.
You may even experience burn-out as described by author Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D. in “High Octane Woman.”
Discovering Your Specialty and Gaining Fulfillment
However, if you are lucky and you are likely to be – you will also strengthen your own personal boundaries, skill sets, assessment of people and situations and you will experience a career full of potential, diversity in changing systems and life-giving purpose.
While deciding whether or not to pursue a Master of Social Work degree, you will consider job possibilities once you earn your degree.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common areas of focus for an MSW include:
Find Out What Speciality You Want to Pursue
It is important to explore your interests from the start through volunteer opportunities, a review of social work specializations which you have gravitated toward in the past and passions that you lean toward today.
For example, have you always had a gift with the elderly, the disabled or those in poverty? Do you relate to children, battered women, folks struggling with addiction or runaway teens?
You can begin to narrow your focus by examining your past experiences and interests or by reading articles pertaining to each of these areas and assessing which peaks your interest the most.
One area of focus which is especially important to me is that of children and families. Even before I had children of my own I taught children how to read in a foreign country. I volunteered in the day care at a homeless center and I eventually obtained my master’s degree in social work with a specialty in children and families.
You can start now to explore your own area of interest as you prepare for the challenges and gifts associated with pursuing your master’s degree in social work.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to change your mind. Once in the field of social work, continue to seek fresh perspectives, new training, and never stop learning about tools and training specifically for your chosen area of interest.
Have fun on this journey of self-discovery and service to others. Good luck! It’s not just a job, it’s an honor.