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Inside Social Worker Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

 

Biggest Surprises


"Knowledge Insufficient...
it is of my surprise that I needed a lot more knowledge to do the job well. It is also surprised me that what I learned is not very practical." (Researcher; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Cognitive Science at UCSD in California in 2009


"Very Fulfilling...
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it for being such a stressful, complex career. I was also surprised by how many behavioral issues there are." (Residential Counselor; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, female
School: Studied Social Science at Portland State University in Oregon; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Overworked And Underpaid...
I'm most surprised about the low compensation, relative to the demands and responsibilities of the job. Even though I was warned when going into social work, I'm still shocked, and sometimes overwhelmed, by the amount of important work I'm responsible for." (Child Support Conference Officer; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Sociology at University Of Hartford in Connecticut; completed Bachelor degree in 2004


"I work for a non-profit organization. It surprises me that people without any education or, sometimes, training, can be promoted to positions of higher management. In particular, I think that Executive Directors of non-profit organizations should have a business education of some type in addition to their experience." (Director Of Social Services; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Health Law at Boston University in Massachusetts; completed Master degree in 2002


"Treatment Of My Students...
I was surprised to see how little patience people have for the special needs children of my school. They are almost always the bullied children and as some of their parents step in and try to help some do not and these children who already have a hard time being positive about their life and school are just hard pressed." (Special Education Teacher; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, female
School: Studied Liberal Studies (Teaching Special Education) at Longwood University; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"Time Working With Children...
I was surprised by how much of my job is "behind the scenes" work like writing IEPs and performing evaluations. Actually working with children makes up only about 20% of my job, I would estimate." (Special Education Case Manager; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Special Education at Saint Louis University in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"House Hours With Patients...
I was definitely surprised as to the hours working. Most people would be surprised to know about the house calls from patients that were desperate for health." (Social Worker; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, female
School: Studied Psychology at South West Minnesota State University in Minnesota; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Impact The Lives Of Others...
I was surprised to find that my career would impact as many children as it has. I was surprised to be throw into my career so quickly after graduation without struggling to find a job." (Afterschool Staff; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Delaware, female
School: Studied Human Services, Community Education, Urban Education at University Of Delaware in Delaware; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Mentors Helped Me...
I have had a few mentors along the way that has helped me become better at my craft. I developed my critical thinking and listening skills to become better at deescalating clients." (Mental Health Worker; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Social Work at Truckee Meadows Community College in Indiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2006


"The Non-Profit Agenda...
I was surprised to find that the main focus of my work was not on helping those that we were there to support and assist, but with billing and revenue. The term non-profit is very misleading because it actually operates like a for-profit business or company." (Medicaid Service Coordinator; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Social Work at State University Of New York At Buffalo - SUNY Buffalo in New York; completed Master degree in 2012


"Continuing Training Is Necessary...
I was surprised a lot of continuing education and training as an employee was necessary. Development and fundraising require special skills that aren't learned with a college degree." (Development Associate; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Political Science at University Of Washington in Washington; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Personal Growth While Practicing In The Field...
I have been most surprised by specific educational requirements to obtain licensure. This is something I wish I had been more educated about during my time in college. It's important to know that social work is an extremely varied field with many unpredictable situations. You may be surprised at the types of people you meet and the way you evolve as a person, as you see and experience people and ways of life you may have never encountered prior to your time in the field." (Social Work; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Psychology at Kent State University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree


"Heartbreaking But Also Meaningful Work...
I was surprised by the level of poverty in the area I serve. I grew up in this area and did not want as a child. Now I interact with families who need assistance and I am heartbroken by the stories that I hear. I never thought it was this bad in what seemed to me a well off community. This makes me enjoy my work even more because I am helping those in need and that my society ignores." (Income Maintenance Caseworker; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Public Administration at Gannon University in Pennsylvania; completed Master degree in 2011


"Need To Make Unpopular Decisions Sometimes...
I was surprised at how much authority I would have to take as a School Psychologist, and how to balance an authoritative position with being a member of the team. There are a lot of final decisions that are ultimately left up to me, and sometimes my solution is not the most popular. I have to go against the grain sometimes and that is difficult." (School Psychologist; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied School Psychology at Philadelphia College Of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania; completed Master degree in 2009


"Dealing With The Social Needs Of A Transient Student Population...
The transiency of our school's population has drastically increased in the past few years. How I approach parents and the prior knowledge I might draw upon in a lesson has changed as the points of references for these kids is significantly different than when I first started." (Teacher/ Counselor; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Sociology at University California Riverside in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2000


"Driving Is Great For Social Interaction With Others...
Driving around a lot has led to many long conversations with my clients." (Independent Provider; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Provider For Developmental Disabilities at Certificate Through State Of Ohio in Ohio; completed Certificate degree in 2010


"Mostly Paper Work...
I was surprised to find that I wasn't working with adolescents and teenagers hands-on as much as I thought I would be. The majority of my job revolves around paperwork and filing things properly. I would say 20% of it is actually working with the youth. Another thing I was surprised to see was the lack of males in this field. I feel like I am a minority in the social working field." (Youth Social Worker; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Social Work at University Of Cincinnati in Ohio in 2012


"How To Use Your Skills Effectively In Every Employment Opportunity...
I was surprised that in my current position as an Executive Secretary for a non profit organization that assists those in our society that has the least and needs the most. I was surprised to know that I could use my degree to get the position I am in now and still use my degree in Social Work in my current employment position and help make a true difference in the lives of others. I was surprised because although I am not working directly daily with the general public I assist in helping to run a wonderful organization that allows me the ability to still make a difference behind the scenes and sometimes I am afforded the privilege to get on the front lines at our organizational events and benefits to help one on one." (Executive Secretary; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Social Work at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"A Job Is Less Stressful When It's Fulfilling...
I was surprised how fulfilling my profession is. It also surprised me how long it took to get a burn-out, since it's very demanding." (Social Worker; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Social Sciences at University Of Siegen, Germany; completed Bachelor degree in 1978


"Emotional Decisions To Be Made...
I was surprised that my career would involve so many emotions." (Social Worker; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied Human Services at University Of Phoenix in Arizona; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Intense People Skills Needed...
What surprised me is how much attention the students I teach at a community college are. It's absolutely necessary to be a people person or pretend to be one. The students need their hands held far more than 4-year-college students do." (Substitute Lecturer; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Developmental Psychology at Graduate Center CUNY in New York; completed Master degree in 2010


"Relating With Other Types Of People...
I was surprised by how much I related to the clients I worked with. I have very little in common, on the surface, with juvenile delinquents, but once I started working with them intensely, I was able to relate a lot more and realize that everyone has the potential to do great or awful things." (Group Home Manager; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Kansas, female
School: Studied Psychology at Truman State University in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Working Harder Than Clients...
The helping fields are sometimes rewarding, but more often than not, they are highly stressful. The pay is not equivalent to the work put in." (Case Management; 2014)

Career: , female
School: Studied Psychology And Philosophy at Thiel College in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"Few Options For Community Social Workers...
I was surprised by the lack of options for social workers who are more interested in community social work or other kinds of macro social work. Most of the options for "macro" social work are only in management positions and I'd rather by on the ground working with people in communities. Fortunately, I found a job that is exactly what I was looking for, but it was one of only a few different options in this area." (Public Education Specialist; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: Studied Social Work at Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Rolling With The Punches...
I was surprised at all the math that I actually use for statistical reporting and grant writing. You really do use Algebra. I was also surprised by the fact that some people just do not want help. They do not want to make changes in their lives. That has been difficult to deal with especially when you can see so much potential in them." (Case Manager; 2013)

Career: 19 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Human Services Technology at Ohio University Of Chillicothe in Ohio; completed Associate degree in 1994


"Outside Of It's Bubble, Ignorance Abounds...
How little people know across other social science fields in sociology. Part of the problem is they don't see the need, but the interdisciplinary skills are horrendous and the fact of the matter is a social worker who has an 8th grade grasp of economics is nothing but a danger to those they are "helping"." (Social Data Research Analyst; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Sociology, Economics at Ohio University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Human Services Field, Rewarding All The Way...
I was surprised at how rewarding this career felt. I was surprised at also how natural it felt to be in this field." (Social Worker; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Family And Consumer Studies at Framingham State College in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Disappointed With The Current Research Integrity Of A University Research Laboratory...
As a researcher in the psychology field, I found it surprising by just how lax it was in the particular laboratory that I worked in. Throughout school strict requirements and expectations are taught but in practice, at least in my personal experience, they were lax and were not scientifically rigorous methods being adhered to." (Psychology Researcher; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, male
School: Studied Psychology at University Of Alabama in Alabama; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Compensation And Wages...
I was surprised how little compensation is provided for the level of accountability required. even with a masters degree entry level positions often start a little over minimum wage." (Service & Support Administrator; 2013)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Social Work at Western Michigan University in Michigan; completed Master degree in 2009


"Large Number Of And Diverse Work Settings...
Two things have surprised me. First, you can work in so many different settings as a social worker and work with so many different target populations. As a result, finding a job is not difficult. Secondly, social work is a profession that does not have the respect it deserves because too many people who are not trained social workers are allowed to call themselves social workers." (Social Worker; 2014)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, female
School: Studied Social Work at State University Of New York At Albany School Of Social Work in New York; completed Master degree in 1972


"Low Compensation Available...
I was surprised that there was not a lot of areas to work. The pay is very little in the community section. There is a lot of studies and work to make very little compensation going into the field. Nutritionist is not a very prestige name for all the work you do." (Community Nutritionist; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Rhode Island, female
School: Studied Nutrition at University Of Rhode Island in Rhode Island; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"When Treating The Individual You Treat The Family Too...
I was surprised by how much time I spend counseling the family as a whole rather than the individual with autism. I would say that 40% of my job is listening to family input and 60% working with the individual." (Autism Spectrum Disorder Aide; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in New Hampshire, female
School: Studied Special Education at Wheelock College in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"People Want To Be Heard...
I was surprised at just how much people value being heard, and desire someone who will simply sit and listen to them. I was also surprised at just how much emotional attachment can be present when helping a patient who is having personal problems." (Mental Health Worker; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Kinesiology at University Of Massachusetts Amherst in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"An Avalanche Of Paperwork Daily...
I was somewhat surprised at how much paperwork is involved with social work. I knew there would need to be some level of documentation for grants and censuses, but I had no idea that I would have to document how much shampoo I have given out during a calendar month, or how many times a client has eaten during the month." (Social Services Director; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Social Work at East Tennessee State University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Transferable Skills...
I was surprised to find that counseling skills are ultimately transferable to a wide variety of career choices, especially management positions. Advanced training in counseling helps me to listen respectfully to employees, show empathy when that is required and address issues with a caring manner." (Counselor; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, female
School: Studied Counselor Education at Georgia Southern University in Georgia; completed Master degree in 2002


"People Skills Are Necessary...
I was surprised with how much of a personal relationship I developed with my clients. Caring and empathy are definitely necessary for this job." (Recreation Programmer; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, female
School: Studied History at Fordham University in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2006


"Need Passion...
I was surprised at how underpaid my profession is. Having a passion for this field is a must." (Life Coach; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Individualized Studies Minor In Psychology at University Of Toledo in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Very Little Money Available...
I was surprised by the very low pay, even for someone with a four-year degree. I was also surprised by the very low funding that public mental health institutions get, at least in my state (which is of course the cause of the low pay). This lack of funding is a major issue for this country but receives very little attention." (Children's Targeted Case Manager (Mental Health); 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Kansas, female
School: Studied I Majored In Psychology. at I Went To The University Of Kansas. in Kansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2007


"I work at a well known youth organization in a coordinator role. Basically, I'm responsible for the teenagers in the organization and the programming we do with them. I initially thought that I would be doing a lot of direct service (i.e. working one-on-one with the teens), but my days are largely spent doing resource development (e.g. writing grants) and networking in the community with similar organizations." (Teen Program Coordinator; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Social Work at University Of Michigan in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Unmet Needs...
I was surprised as an educational resource worker to find the vast array of unmet needs of children. It is imperative to be able to locate and provide resources for children and their families in this position." (Educational Resource Worker; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: Studied Education at Eastern Kentucky University in Kentucky; completed Master degree in 2007


"High Tech Tools For A Human Service Agency...
Going into the counseling or psychology field is very broad. I learned that you can be a professional counselor or psychologist or work for any human service agency being a case manager, job counselor or related staff manager. The pay is also a lot less than the for profit business field but the rewards of helping people outweigh getting paid more in the business field." (Employment Counselor; 2014)

Career: 18 years of experience, currently based in Connecticut, male
School: Studied Counseling at Pace University NY in New York; completed Master degree in 1995


"The amount of people that are truly hurting. In my profession I have multiple roles, one involves governmental affairs that will affect people who need or receive benefits from the state. The other part of my job involves constituent issues, I serve as the "life raft" for some people trying to get in disability, some on food stamps, needing healthcare, etc. It's a rewarding job but it's also heartbreaking which is also surprising. To do what I do, you need to have a good amount of experience with the way the legislative process works but also need to have a background in sociology and social services. You also need great people skills and the ability to negotiate." (Legislative Liaison Department Of Human Services For State Of Tennessee; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Sociology With A Minor In Psychology at Union University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 1996


"Stress Management And Professional Boundaries...
I am continually shocked by how stressful the work can actually be. I started out with a superwoman cape and a desire to save the world one addict at a time. Sadly, it hasn't worked out that way. It is very stressful, and it can be hard at times not to get emotionally involved with the people I counsel." (Drug And Alcohol Counsel; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, female
School: Studied Rehabilitation Counseling at Lee College Baytown in Texas; completed Associate degree in 1999


"Child Safety Is Very Important...
I was surprised about the amount of time I had to invest in order to ensure that my clients specifically vulnerable children were safe. I was surprised that often times my hard work and long hours were not considered enough and I was not commended for my efforts. On one occasion, I had to stay at the office all night with a thirteen (13) old child who was denied access to his grandmother's home. There were no available emergency shelters." (Child Protective Investigator; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Business Administration at Florida Atlantic University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"There Is A Lot Of Time Wasted...
I was surprised at how much time was spent on the telephone to various agencies, Medicaid. There was no direct line for professionals calling about their clients and sometime we were on hold for an hour. I was surprised at how various agencies did not work well together - there seemed to be a lot of competition between them." (Case Manager; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Nevada, female
School: Studied Social Work at UNR in Nevada; completed Bachelor degree in 1993


"Interacting With Employers Is Just As Important As Counseling Clients...
I was surprised that as a rehabilitation counselor, I was expected to be contacting employers directly, splitting my time between actually counseling individuals with disabilities and having to contact employers in the field, for which I received very little training." (Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Wisconsin, male
School: Studied Rehabilitation Psychology at University Of Wisconsin - Madison in Wisconsin; completed Master degree in 2008


"The teaching field is overloaded!" (Special Education Teacher In Residential Services; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Education at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania; completed Master degree in 2010


"I Didn't Need To Know Much...
It doesn't pay much." (Research Associate; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Biochemistry at UCSD in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"Clients Aren't Easy...
I was surprised at how little therapy actually helps clients. I was also surprised at how cynical social workers get" (Human Service Worker; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Utah, female
School: Studied Child Psychology at BYU in Utah; completed Master degree in 2006


"College Was A Worthwhile Investment...
I have been surprised by the immense amount of help my schooling has provided me in the field. I am constantly reminded of how great my advantage is having been to college. As a sociologist I have experienced so many upsetting cases, which they definitely tried to prepare me more." (Social Worker; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Sociology at Chapman University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"I was truly surprised by how many people that I deal with on a daily basis don't possess even a basic understanding of our social programs work. I meet people that believe that there is no way to help their young children get medical insurance at no cost. At the other end of the spectrum I meet people who believe that you can use EBT cards to purchase items like cigarettes and alcohol. I had a client call me and scream at me for "screwing up her paperwork" because she wasn't able to buy cigarettes and beer with her EBT card. People like that are the overwhelming minority. I was surprised to find that most people I deal with are literally terrified of any government or formal institution and either have no idea that there is help available to them or are too frightened/embarrassed to initiate the process to get benefits that they need. They can teach you a lot about institutionalized poverty in college, but seeing just how hard many people struggle to keep their families off the streets is shocking. You cannot teach the reality of hardship from the perspective of those that are living it." (Social Worker; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Mississippi, female
School: Studied Sociology at Temple University in Pennsylvania in 2010


"I was surprised to learn how attached I would become to my clients. I thought it would be easy to maintain professional distance but I found myself becoming really attached to the clients I work with." (Social Worker; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Washington, female
School: Studied Social Work at University Of Washington in Washington; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"I was surprised to find that being a social worker has many rewarding experiences and is very much involved in court appearances and various situations." (Social Worker; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, female
School: Studied Psychology at Ramapo College in New Jersey; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"I was surprised to meet so many nice people on welfare who need help. I expected them to be angrier and in more pain." (Social Work; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, male
School: Studied Sociology at TCNJ in New Jersey; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career


Case Coordinator For A Day Program: "The best part of my career is the satisfaction that I receive from helping others. People with developmental disabilities are often marginalized in our society and it brings great satisfaction to provide them with outlets to assert themselves and to gain recognition in our community. The most difficult part of any career in the human services field is the current political climate in light of all the budget cuts being made both on the state and national levels. We are frequently asked to "do more with less" and there are constant fears that people at our company will be laid off." (2011)


Case Manager: "Some of the best things about my job are the interactions I have with the clients. I have an opportunity to see people succeed in life and move towards a positive lifestyle. People who I work with are usually very grateful for my services and show their appreciation. I get to witness changes in my community and participate in events and things like fundraisers that create positive change in the area. Some of the difficult things about my job are the times when I have to witness painful and traumatic events in my clients lives. Also, it's difficult to deal with the disappointment that comes when my client's needs cannot be met because of some small detail that changes their situation." (2011)


Adult Services Director For Adults With Developmental Disabilities: "The worst parts of my job are numerous: 1. Not being able to pay my staff a decent wage. 2. Not being able to hire people who really want to work in this field. 3. Telling a family how little support their son or daughter receives from the state. 4. State funding. 5. Paperwork. 6. State regulations that constantly change. Things that I like about my job: 1. Watching individuals grow and succeed at things no one ever thought they could do. 2. Finding staff who love their job and do a great job. 3. Being able to give my staff raises. 4. Helping adults I serve find their own jobs and apartments and being successful." (2010)

Career Background


Social Worker

  Schools and Degrees
  Salaries
  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Schools for This Career

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Career Video

Career Tips


"Get A BSW And An MSW...
You need to get a bachelor's degree in social work and then a master's degree in order to have the opportunity for a higher paying job. You would be wise to work for a year or two in a social services setting prior to going on for a master's degree in social work." (Social Worker; 2014)


"Keep Yourself Sane...
You will need to learn to know when to assist and know when to make your client do things for themselves." (Case Management; 2014)


"Take Care Of Yourself First...
If you want to be successful in the field of psychology it's best to deal with your own baggage first. If you don't have control over your own life, the added stress of trying to help another person out will make you near collapse." (Social Worker; 2014)


"Clear Your Debt ASAP...
Clear all your debts as soon as possible. Many of my co-workers have less career choices because they have to keep paying their student debt, meaning they can't take a more satisfying job and are stuck with the less satisfying more stressful higher paying one." (Employment Counselor; 2014)


"Learn More From Practice...
do more practical project" (Researcher; 2013)


"Being Prepared To Work With Employers Is Just As Important As Developing Good Counseling Skills...
Make sure you feel comfortable or get the necessary training to feel prepared to contact employers. If you are not comfortable working with employers directly, you may wish to avoid working for a state VR agency." (Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor; 2013)


"Learn To Balance Fairness And Sympathy...
You absolutely must learn how to connect well with your students and anticipate/respond to their needs. Be as open as you can while still being fair and professional in the way that you treat them." (Substitute Lecturer; 2013)


"Take Advantage Of Opportunities...
Be sure to decide if grad school is the right decision for you before entering the field. Develop a great resume and take advantage of volunteer opportunities in non-profits." (Afterschool Staff; 2013)


"Apply Everywhere...
Don't work here if you want money" (Research Associate; 2013)


"Hard Work And Dedication...
This field is one that needs to have your total attention. This field can sometimes call for long hours and dedication." (Social Worker; 2013)


"Love Your Career And Your Career Will Reward You...
Be available to change, always keep and open mind and a huge heart, for what is your passion. Never stay in a particular position just because it's a job. Love what you do and do the best you can each day to fulfill your duties." (Executive Secretary; 2013)


"Incorporating Macro/Policy Work...
Explore different areas of social work. Direct practice is a really meaningful part of social work, but also try to incorporate other "macro" type activities to advocate for your clients. If you work with low-income people, find local groups that fight for things like affordable housing, higher wages, and other initiatives. If you work in mental health, advocate for better mental health-related legislation. And don't just limited yourself to what you see as your "area". I work at a women's crisis center, but I also fight for access to affordable housing in my community. Like MLK Jr. said, "All justice is indivisible"." (Public Education Specialist; 2013)


"Get As Much Laboratory Experience As You Possibly Can Before You Graduate...
Make sure that you have a focus and follow that focus as you are working on your undergraduate work in Psychology. It is extremely competitive out there so you absolutely need to get in to an undergraduate research position or you will have an extraordinary amount of difficulty getting a research position after your graduation." (Psychology Researcher; 2013)


"Organization Is One Proponent To Being Successful...
They need to be organized, as there is a lot of information to get into and you need to keep records and other papers." (Independent Provider; 2013)


"Leave Work At Work...
Make sure you leave your personal life at home and your work life at work. Jobs like this can be stressful so it can be important to keep the two lives separate." (Social Worker; 2013)


"Skills To Pay The Bills...
Be sure that you have the necessary skills for your job, as otherwise you might be unknowingly out of your league." (Development Associate; 2013)


"Preparing To Help Today's Kids...
Things are not the same as when you were a child in school. Many of today's kids come from homes where the family dynamic is quite different than it used to be. They also come today with a different view on technology." (Teacher/ Counselor; 2013)


"Get A License...
ensure that you choose a degree field that is licensed. almost all states require a license to practice, and if you have for say a BS is psychology and want a human services job it may be difficult to find work." (Service & Support Administrator; 2013)


"Advanced Education...
1. Make sure you obtain a master's degree if you want any chance of getting paid decently. 2. Learn coping skills early on in your career" (Human Service Worker; 2013)


"Child Safety Is More Important Than Family Preservation...
Must be willing to put the safety of your clients (victim children) before your own needs. Protective investigation services are very rewarding when you realize that your involvement prevented a child from dying or being harmed." (Child Protective Investigator; 2013)


"Emotions Run High...
Be prepared to be emotionally exhausted at the end of the day by the stories the clients will tell you. Be prepared to feel jaded and not compassionate when hearing some of the clients speak." (Social Services Director; 2013)


"Love What You Are Doing...
Make sure that you love what you are doing, that you love the people you work with and those you serve and help." (Social Worker; 2013)


"Stay In The Know...
Never stop learning and keep up with new advancements in your field of study." (Mental Health Worker; 2013)


"What To Do...
Knowing when to step in and when to let it be is a hard decision to make. Once you figure this out your life will be so much easier." (Special Education Teacher; 2013)


"Community Resources...
Become extremely familiar with the resources in and around your community." (Educational Resource Worker; 2013)


"Benefits Of Residential...
Residential provides valuable experience in a short amount of time." (Residential Counselor; 2013)


"Find The Best Fit For You...
Make sure to network and research before deciding which institution and family you begin your career with. A bad experience is not the end all be all in this field." (Autism Spectrum Disorder Aide; 2013)


"Understand Your Time Breakdown...
Understand that the majority of your time as a special educator will NOT be spent working with children." (Special Education Case Manager; 2013)


"Career Satisfaction Is Up To You...
Always keep looking around for new jobs in the field. There is always new opportunity out there." (Case Manager; 2013)


"Earn And Maintain Credentials...
Never miss a chance to get credentials or maintain credentials. You never know when they might open a door for you." (Counselor; 2013)


"Small-Scale Differences...
Don't be discouraged by the larger systems and macro-level economics and politics that you encounter in the field. Instead, acknowledge the impact that you make in the lives of the people you work with, no matter how small. Ask yourself, "If someone else were working with this person, how might his/her life be different now?"" (Medicaid Service Coordinator; 2013)


"Humanity Is Greater Than A Payday...
Make sure you understand that you are not going to make the big bucks. Most Human Services institutions have to scrap and fight for funding. The real payoff comes when you are working with a client and you see them break through barriers they thought was possible. That is why you get up in the morning. You are changing lives." (Case Manager; 2013)


"Know What Population To Work With...
Know what population you are interested in working with, but be open to other experiences as they come. It's hard to know where your true interests lie until you get into the field." (Group Home Manager; 2013)


"Choose Certifications Wisely...
It can be a very rewarding career, and it is wise to research all of your certification options to find the path you are best suited for. At the beginning of the day you have to choose to approach your work as either a "job" or a "calling". Anyone can do a job. Special kinds of people will answer a calling." (Drug And Alcohol Counsel; 2013)


"Set Boundaries And Pay Attention To Individual Needs...
If you want to have fulfilling experience, I encourage you to open your mind and approach every person as a truly unique individual. You should be open-minded yet trust your gut instincts and set boundaries that benefit both you and those you're serving." (Social Work; 2013)


"Hedge Your Bets Intellectually...
To me it is absolutely vital in any social science field to be well rehearsed in other fields, a sociologist who knows nothing of anthropology, a historian who knows nothing of sociology, an anthropologist who knows nothing of economics, is a waste of time and resources. Do not focus all of your fire in sociology and create a barrier of ignorance you won't be able to see through." (Social Data Research Analyst; 2013)


"Developing A Thick Skin Is Vital...
Make sure you prepare yourself emotionally for dealing with tough situations. Many clients face many tough situation that can adversely affect you unless you develop a thick skin." (Recreation Programmer; 2013)


"You Must Love Helping Others...
Social work can be very rewarding if you are doing it for the right reasons. Make sure that your heart is into is, because while it is exhausting and you don't get paid a lot, it can be very rewarding if you're the kind of person who gains personal satisfaction from helping others." (Child Support Conference Officer; 2013)


"Make Sure It's Right For You...
Make sure you do your internship/practicum as soon as you're allowed to. You may get into this field and realize you absolutely hate it. It's better to figure that out while you're still early in school and can switch majors." (Youth Social Worker; 2013)


"Finding A Job...
Be sure to know what career it is that you want to go into. Research the pays and the job availability in your area." (Community Nutritionist; 2013)


"Develop Specializations...
Please make sure you have some areas of specialization such as chemical dependency counselor, marriage and family counselor etc. Continue your education as much as possible because many pay raises come from that." (Life Coach; 2013)


"Responsibilities Vary Widely Among Positions...
As a School Psychologist, you will find that the job description can vary from one school to another. I suggest you really take your time with the interview process and find out as much about the position as possible before accepting it." (School Psychologist; 2013)


"Separate Work From Emotions...
You will have to develop a professional attitude to deal with ease case without being pulled by your emotions. Many of these cases are heart wrenching and it is easy to fall in a trap of promising more services than you can deliver or play favorites with those who need the most. Instead you need to separate your work from your emotions and treat everyone fairly. You must respect others and take a genuine interest in helping them." (Income Maintenance Caseworker; 2013)


"Expect Emotional Attachment From Clients...
Make sure that you are prepared to deal with people who may get emotionally attached to you. Also, make sure that you are able to handle dealing with people who are prone to emotional outbursts and may insult you for no apparent reason." (Mental Health Worker; 2013)


"Consider This Before Pursuing Social Work...
Realize that in order to have career options as a worker in this field, you will need a higher degree beyond just a bachelor's. Also realize that it is not a career that provides much stability, good hours, or much in the way of compensation. Be sure that you really want to pursue this path before committing yourself to a degree." (Children's Targeted Case Manager (Mental Health); 2013)


"Consider A National Service Program...
If it's difficult for you to land a social worker job immediately out of high school, look at the national service programs (AmeriCorps, Teach for America, City Year) available in your desired region that touch on work you'd ideally like to end up doing. You'll gain (at least) a year of work experience and earn an education award that can go toward a Master's in Social Work or toward paying down some of your debt. You'll also experience what it's like to live in circumstances similar to the population you serve (thereby fostering sympathy)." (Teen Program Coordinator; 2013)


"Which Setting Is Right For You...
Know the things that make working for non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and larger scale hospital settings different. There are many different settings you can work in, some that you may be better suited to than others. It would be good to know this before you start applying for jobs." (Director Of Social Services; 2013)


"Classes To Take...
Pay attention in your social studies and civics classes in school. Learn how the government works. Take as many social service classes in college as you can get. I would also add a couple of psychology classes as well to help round you out before entering the field." (Legislative Liaison Department Of Human Services For State Of Tennessee; 2013)


"Are There Jobs Available...
Make sure the state you are in or will move to has a need for you" (Special Education Teacher In Residential Services; 2013)


"Make Yourself Indispensible...
Become involved in as many different projects as possible and volunteer to spearhead new projects in order to make yourself indispensable. This will enable you to meet people in other departments and to demonstrate other abilities and talents that you have. When the time comes for lay-offs or restructuring, you may be eligible to move to a different department instead of being let go. Have a working knowledge of ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), but remember that the clients are like any other person in that behavioral motives are often complex and multi-layered." (Case Coordinator For A Day Program; 2011)


"Research Available Local Services...
Volunteer at a local non-profit organization where you can learn as much as possible. Take courses on health, especially public health, and cultural diversity. Do research online about what types of services are offered at different organizations to get a grasp of what the main needs are in your area. Focus on which populations in your area are most in need. This might help narrow down what you will want to study later." (Case Manager; 2011)


"6 Tips For Social Workers...
1. Education is important. If you do not have a degree you cannot advance and your pay really does not go up that much. 2. Don't enter this field if you want to get rich. 3. Don't enter this field if you don't like to work with this population. 4. Learn to spell, or use a spell checker on a computer. 5. Have a dependable car and a good driving record. 6. Since you will be working with this population in public settings, dress appropriately, talk appropriately and carry yourself with dignity." (Adult Services Director For Adults With Developmental Disabilities; 2010)