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The Pros and Cons of a Career in Social Work

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 5:49am | by Guest Contributor

Are you an empathetic person who is a strong communicator and a problem solver too? Then you may have a yen to become a social worker! Being a social worker means that you help out the less fortunate, people who may have some kind of disability, an emotional problem, or an inability to work or pay the bills. Social workers also often work with children and the elderly. If you love to help people, then this may be the career for you. However, you should stop and think about the pros and cons of the job before you come to any final decisions.

The work itself and what it entails. As a social worker, you may be called upon to work with many different kinds of people without much notice. This can be rewarding, but it also offers special challenges as well. You'll need to be versed in the different agencies you'll need to refer your clients as well as suggestions that will help them in the moment and in the long run. You will ultimately be helping your clients identify the obstacles that stand in their way to success or happiness, and how to develop a plan or some kind of problem solving strategy to overcome those obstacles.

Demands. Because you are an empathetic person, naturally you will want your client to succeed. But your boss will also hold expectations for you, and the two are often in conflict. Ultimately, you are not able to control the way another person behaves, how many jobs are available, or the ability for your client to find a shelter. This can be damaging to your career even though you aren't able to necessarily help it.

Payment and the cost of education. Most social workers are required to have at least a bachelors degree in social work, but more and more, the best jobs are going to the people who have a masters degree. Remember, though, social workers currently make fifteen percent lower than the average job. If this is where your passions lie, perhaps you can discard this tidbit, but it is something you should keep in mind while making your decision.

Actually getting a job. There are many areas you can focus on as a social worker, and the availability of jobs depends on where you are working and in what area you specialize. Do a little research before you make any decisions, always keeping in mind that a masters degree will open more doors for you.

Making a difference. Ultimately, choosing this field and considering the pros and cons comes down to how much you care about what you do. If you are passionate about this kind of career, then more likely than not you will do whatever you can despite the fact that you will never be rich. But maybe that's okay. Being a social worker, despite the drawbacks inherent in the job, is a rich and rewarding career.

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