I am seriously considering going back to school and getting my degree in Social Work. Anyone a) currently in the field and b) have suggestions for federal tuition assistance/loans/grants? I've always wanted to do something to help children that were in the foster care/children's home system, and have finally decided to get off my arse and do something about it.
(and I am sure there are a ton of people surprised by this!)
I am currently my second year of college and will be graduating with a social service worker diploma this year.
I chose the college program because the tuition is lower, and the focus is hands on, not analytical as the MSW program is. The difference between SSW and SW is in some situations, pay, but most places will hire either. I also will be out working in 2 years, as opposed to 4 years with your MSW.
I'm in Canada, but I qualify for student loans and I get a grant as I am "low income" household. I would check and see what is required to work with children, you may be able to get away with an SSW diploma instead of an MSW.
I'm not a social worker, but I'm an attorney who has represented a lot of parents in child abuse and neglect cases. In my state, a parent charged with child abuse or neglect by social services has the right to an appointed attorney in family court, just the same as accused criminals in general sessions court.
So I work with lots of social workers.
If I were you, I'd be concerned about finding a job in this economy. My local Depts of Social Services have all cut staff and are overworking the heck out of the ones who are left. In fact, the DSS in my county is running on a deficit now and can't even hire a director.
Programs for the poor are the first to be cut.
However, as far as the work goes, I have great admiration for most of my caseworkers (even though we're always on opposite sides in court. ). Many of them find their work very rewarding.
CHS- i had no idea! Was going to call you anyway... will do it this afternoon!
I know the economy stinks but the issues aren't going to go away. It isn't always going to be so horrible of a job market... I already have a BS, and my alma mater has a BSW program so I would only have to do the specific classes for the degree, so it wouldn't take a full 4 years to finish.
I am seeing the economy turn around here. Yes it is a slow process but I have been out of work for over a year and in two weeks was offered two positions. I think by the time you're done school things should be "almost normal" again.
My case load is not overwhelming at all. My co-workers and boss are awesome. Yes it would be nice if it paid better but the feeling of making someone's life so much better is worth more than a big paycheck to me.
CHS - that's what I am looking for. The feeling that I have made someone's life better in some way. So, is your basement available for rent?? I don't think the one I used to live in is an option any more!
If I talk to the school on Monday and they say it's going to be a 4 year process, I will look into the SSW option - I didn't even know it existed, so thanks JustABay!
My daughter is a case manager for a Mental Health company. She sees children between 3-18 yr whose parents want some sort of federal/state money for meds etc for their kids. She likes what she does - she has BS in Psych with minor in Bio. Pay is not great, turnover with coworkers is high. Can be very frustrating with parents and children who won't cooperate. Hours can be long as well. When she starts her family she will quit because she says there is no way she can do this and deal with child. DH is a football coach and not home much during the season.
She spends a lot of time setting up appointments going to the home or school just to find that they are not there or are unavailable. She can't call the schools to find out if they are there that day or not.
I have my MSSW and currently work as a service coordinator (case manager). If you are truly passionate about the work then social work is an excellent degree to have. There are lots of ways you can use the degree, however right now the job market sucks. It took me a year after graduation to find a job and I'm working a bachelor's level job at the moment.
A lot of the job market will depend on where you are - there's tons of social work schools graduating social workers here every year so there's fewer jobs but in other parts of the country there aren't as many and there's tons of jobs.
Pay is low like everyone said but once you get liscensed, the pay grade greatly increases.
Why do you have to go back to school to get a BSW if you already have a bachelors degree? I don't have a bachelors in social work and went through the masters program with no problem (it was a 2 year program).