By | RankCastle Publishers
Social work is one of the most rewarding careers today. You get to help people in need and make a difference in their lives. It’s also one of the fastest-growing careers in the U.S. At present, the field employs over 700,000 people. Between 2021-2031, employment in this field is set to grow by 9%.
The job pays well too. The median salary for social workers in the U.S. is over $50,000. On an hourly basis, these workers are paid around $25 an hour. Thus, it’s a career option worth choosing, especially if you enjoy helping others and want to do so for a living.
However, before you start this career, there are some things you should know.
Social Work is a Tough Job
On the surface, social work may seem like a cushy job. After all, you get to work with people who are often going through tough times in their lives. However, it’s not all fun and games.
While most of your clients will be thankful for your assistance, some won’t be so pleasant. In fact, many of them might lash out at you when they’re upset or frustrated. That can be scary.
Don’t let fear stop you from pursuing a career as a social worker. If this is what you want to do with your life, don’t let anything hold back your dreams. If getting yelled at by angry strangers is something that could potentially make you unhappy or stressed out, you could opt for a different career path. However, should you choose to be a social worker, know that it’s something that comes with the job.
You must have certain academic qualifications
To become a social worker, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW). After that, you can choose to get a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW). Some states require that the bachelor’s degree be related to psychology, sociology, or social work. However, most states are okay with a BSW.
The MSW program you attend need not be in-person. You can attend any accredited online MSW program as you see fit. Make sure you are aware of the courses they offer and how those will impact your education and career.
You Must be Highly Resilient
You are going to face many challenges in this field. Some will be of your own making, and others will arise from external circumstances beyond your control. You need to be able to handle stress and bounce back from failure because there will be plenty of both along the way.
You also need to know how to deal with rejection. A social worker’s job is never done. Thus, there might be days when you feel like giving up or falling short of expectations because there are no silver linings on a cloudy day at work.
You Should Have Time Management Skills
There are many things that you need to keep in mind before you start your career as a social worker. You should have time management skills, organization skills, and self-discipline. In addition, being able to prioritize tasks is also very important for success in this field.
If you are not able to compartmentalize different areas of your life, then it could be very easy for your personal life to get affected by work-related stress. This can lead to depression or other mental health disorders, which will make it difficult for you to do well at work.
You Must Have Patience and Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is a key skill for all social workers and allows you to understand your client’s perspective. Empathy can help you build trust with your client by showing them that they are not alone in their struggles and that someone else cares about their wellbeing.
You Need Excellent Communication Skills
This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re starting out as a social worker. Communication is key for building rapport with clients and colleagues, as well as for communicating with other professionals and agencies involved in a client’s care. Your ability to listen attentively, understand what the other person needs from you, respond empathically, and communicate effectively with a range of people will be crucial for your success on the job.
Social work is a very rewarding career, and it can be the perfect way to make a difference in people’s lives. However, it can be difficult too. Last year, several children’s social workers quit their jobs because of how demanding their work was. Besides, not all social workers get to work in top-notch conditions.
Thus, before embarking on this path, ensure that you know yourself well enough to confirm that your skills align with what is required for success. Otherwise, this career option might end up becoming a burden on you.