Charting the Path as a Professional Social Worker

There’s a universal image of social workers that most people have, which entails carrying around thick, heavy paper files and a clipboard, going from door to door. Now, if you work for a state agency and you mainly service clients in their homes, you just may end up spending a lot of time in the field. At the same time, social workers have a wonderful opportunity to service the public in a number of ways, from helping veterans that are experiencing mental health issues find permanent housing to working with single parents who want to properly care for their children and get into online MSW programs at Case Western Reserve University. Although this is not the type of career you want to get into if you plan on jet setting across the world, performing social work can be even more fulfilling for yourself and others, on an extremely personal level.

Reality vs. Myth – What Social Workers Actually Do

As a social worker, your basic job description will be servicing the public, usually in a specific sector. For instance, you may provide youth service with students attending public schools, or you may work for a private agency that provides domestic violence survivors with support services. Social workers work in the health sector, meeting with clients who may have experienced a traumatic loss or a serious health condition. The really good thing about being a social worker is the fact that after you complete your online MSW, you can go in pretty much whatever direction you want, and there is a very large demand in this field. If you are patient, you will find an opening in the specific sector that you prefer.

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What are the Limitations of Social Work?

In short, you can’t solve your clients’ problems for them. Some clients are going to require a lot of aid, and you may be a witness to them making decisions that are not to their benefit. An example of this includes working with parents who struggle from addiction that repeatedly fail to take court ordered parenting classes in order to regain custody. Elderly clients who may not be proficient with computers may need lots of assistance setting up email addresses and filling out simple applications, so you have to find the balance between helping and hindering them.

How Far Can You Go in the Social Work Field?

Many social workers are perfectly happy to retire in the same positions as they started in, but there is a generous amount of room for growth. It is easier to end up as the director of a program or as the head of a non-profit agency if you have both education and experience. Simply put, if you really are making a big difference in the lives of your clients you should be able to take big steps in your career on a regular basis.

Although high salaries are associated with some positions in social work, that’s not why people spend years going to school. Feeling an urge to better help society progress is at the root of every social worker who initially showed interest in the community. Not all of your clients will thank you for your assistance, but if you see their lives improving you will know that your work was not in vain.

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Written by
Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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