In that busy life of yours — what with you being a mother to both your children and your significant other— you probably don’t even have the time to think about getting back into the world of work, let alone getting back into it. But, if you do ever find yourself wanting or even needing to work again, then why not put the skills you’ve acquired through years of mothering and helping others to good use by making a career out of helping to do it? Specifically, why not try making a career out of social work? For advice on how to do so, make sure to read on.
Choose your social working specialty.
Social working is a profession that sprouts off into a load of different career paths, some of which include: child and family, geriatric, school and general health care social work. And before you make any physical advances in the world of social work (by taking the steps below) you should decide which of these paths is the right direction for you to choose. You should do so because, even though you are entering the business of social work to help others, you still have to look out for yourself and care for yourself too. And you don’t want to get halfway through your career and wish you’d picked a path better suited to your preferences and skills, do you?
Educate yourself and get the necessary degrees
Like most other important professions in this day and age, the business of social work demands that you take a university course to grab yourself an entry-level position in it. Specifically, this means taking a four-year bachelor’s degree in the field of social work or maybe even one that is closely related to it. But, if you want to pursue specialist and advanced roles in the area and grab yourself a licensed clinical social worker position, then you must seriously consider extending these initial four years. Specifically, it means that you should consider embarking on postgraduate education in the form of a Masters in Social Work (MSW) degree too. Many people who want to reach the very top of the world of social work ask themselves ‘do I need an MSW degree?’ But, those who truly want to change the game and not only play should really be asking ‘can I really afford not to get an MSW degree?’ Yes, it may demand more unpaid years from you. And yes, it may be harder work. But to be the very best social worker and helper to others that you can be, you really must take such a course.
Earn certifications, if you need to
Some places require that you earn special certifications to work as a social worker within them. Some don’t. Specifically, in the U.S. there are different rules set from state to state in regards to regulations about who can do social work there and who can’t. So, you must either be willing to earn the specific certifications and licenses needed to work in the place you call home or be prepared to move to a position that will allow you to do social work with the qualifications you’ve already got.
Most importantly, get your first job!
Even if you did decide to stay on at university and take, and subsequently graduate from, a Masters of Social Work degree, you would still have to find yourself an entry-level job to start off with. Yes, this might sound like something you want to avoid doing, but it’s not. And getting yourself an entry level job isn’t all bad either as it will not only get you a job in the profession you’ve been trying to get into for many years at this point, but it will also allow to carry on your learning without the extra pressure of being a senior member of staff. What’s more, the learning you will be doing now will be real — it will be real, on-the-job learning, the type of which you can’t learn in a classroom. You will be out in the field, as it were. You will be dealing with those that need help, whether they be children, the elderly or anybody else in need of assistance day in, day out.
Just remember that even though your first social working job may not be your dream position or even in your dream field, you are still gaining necessary experience, and your foot is very much in the front door of the social working sector.
Start climbing that ladder!
It is possible to climb the career ladder within the social working industry without an MSW, but if you do have one this step (and the ones you take going up the ladder) will be easier to make. But, regardless of what degrees or certifications you have got, you should continue to take any continued and higher education, such as a counselor or staff director courses, that are offered your way by your specific employers. You should remember that loyalty induces trust, and trust induces a more natural path to success — so stay loyal to your employers. And you should always be willing to help out in areas that aren’t necessarily involved with the helping of others, such as behind-the-scenes office work.
Why not put your helping skills to the ultimate test and get yourself a job in the helping industry of social work? If you can’t stand to see others suffer at the hands of social deprivation, then why not do something about it? These are the sort of questions you need to ask yourself, and the variety of challenges you need to be setting yourself if helping others is your true calling in life. You never know, you might just find that second wind in your professional life that you’ve been waiting for for years while your children have been growing up! For more advice on how to become a social worker, make sure to check out this helpful guide.