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Thinking About Being A Social Worker

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Thinking About Being A Social Worker

Postby Fionan » Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:02 pm

I'm a 37 old woman, currently a computer programmer looking to change careers. I'm very interested in social work. I don't know a lot about the field yet.

I do know I want to help people solve their problems. I enjoy working on difficult problems that may require research to solve. I like having to think logically and my clerical skills are very good. Given that, do you have any suggestions for types of social work that might be good for me to explore ? Any suggestions on how I might get more information would be welcome.  

I have a bachelors degree in Computer Science, and I'm willing to go back to school if I have to, but I was wondering if it would be possible to get a job in social work with just the degree I have, and no social work experience. Do you think that would be easy to do ?  
Fionan
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:30 am

Thinking About Being A Social Worker

Postby Winwodem » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:34 pm

Dear Jody,

First of all, I applaud your willingness to rethink your life's course and even be willing to consider returning to school.  It's not easy for "non-traditional" people to do.

Let me answer your last paragraph first:  NO.  Oftentimes, people think the field of social work is easy, when it is one of the most difficult fields, as most professionals in other fields will even attest to.  Social work is not just about research.... that's academic, and there's not much clerical skill involved, but insight, empathy and the ability to analyze with confidence.  Malpractice insurance is high and many of us go to court a lot, either to testify on behalf of something/someone or because we've been sued due to one of 2 reasons:  either there's been an illegal issue but MOST OFTEN, a breach of ethics(and either will remove one's credentials).  Knowing all that, one can become quite intimidated when counseling, assessing and/or charting because a social worker's charts are mandated to be available for life of the client(meaning at any time they can be cited).  Every social work position requires formal education from an accredited school of social work because one cannot practice without it simply because you wouldn't know the theories which propel the practice(which keeps your practice ethical and legal).  If one is a clinical social worker, one MUST know if the agency is eclectic, Freudian, psycho-dynamic, cognitive, cognitive-behavioral,rational-emotive, etc. because you will have to perform your therapy/counseling as well as do your charting in the model used.  How would you know that without the schooling? Plus, one cannot even perform basic charting without formal social work credentials. A clinical social worker also performs cognitive assessments/testings, as well as other clinical testings to obtain baselines and chart changes from the baseline. There are treatment plans involved as well as care plans. Knowing what to look for when assessing mood, behavior, cognition is something formally trained.  And then there's knowledge of medications, esp. psychotropics, and knowing if the medication affects behavior and mood.  That's a course in itself.

Lots of people think the field is easy, as I've said before and that's because they don't know what goes into becoming a social worker.  As a result, the field does not get the respect it deserves. You have a degree in Computer Science because one was needed to perform your job.  Why would you think Social Work is any easier and not requiring its own degree reflecting expertise? There are medical doctors who ask social workers how to better do "something".... so one must also be able to teach and communicate well. Everyone thinks they can do it, and as a result, you find people practicing outside of their scope. Burnout in this field is high:  average of 2 years in each job because of(1)what is required and(2)their unpreparedness for it. Coursework in adult and child psychopathology, family dyamics, abusive family systems, statistics and measurements, theory, are all required in order to even gather a foundation of what the field will require.  There are, however, administrative social workers who do not have a clinical practice, but they still need to know theory and assessment procedures as well as proper documentation measures.

Social workers working with CPS or APS are always in harms way as they enter dangerous environments... we de-escalate/mediate violent/volatile issues immediately, are mandated reporters 24/7, and are basically "policemen without badges and guns"(said by a policeman, actually!).  Each agency one works for requires different acquired skills(such as knowledge of restraints and what the law requires regarding them in usage and charting).  There are hundreds of books written on the field of social work for the very reason of its intense diversity and the knowledge required to practice it.  We change lives..... hopefully, for the better tho in some cases not, as highlighted in the media, but always forever.  It can be a scary endeavor but one, I believe, very worthwhile.  Social work has been instrumental in founding many national and international programs and is a vital aspect of everyone's life.

I would suggest you use the net to contact schools in your area that offer accredited programs and gain an idea of what will be expected from you in order to get a sw degree.  There may be some credits from your old classes which are usable.

I hope this has been of help to you. I wish you the best in your career choice.

Minnie R. Dabney, MSW. QMHP  
Winwodem
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:25 pm

Thinking About Being A Social Worker

Postby dubh35 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 7:38 am

I'm a 37 old woman, currently a computer programmer looking to change careers. I'm very interested in social work. I don't know a lot about the field yet.

I do know I want to help people solve their problems. I enjoy working on difficult problems that may require research to solve. I like having to think logically and my clerical skills are very good. Given that, do you have any suggestions for types of social work that might be good for me to explore ? Any suggestions on how I might get more information would be welcome.  

I have a bachelors degree in Computer Science, and I'm willing to go back to school if I have to, but I was wondering if it would be possible to get a job in social work with just the degree I have, and no social work experience. Do you think that would be easy to do ?  
dubh35
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:25 pm


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