Social Work

10 Reasons Why A Social Work Degree Is Perfect For You

10 Reasons Why A Social Work Degree Is Perfect For You
As long as your career doesn’t become a never-ending odyssey of self-help, you’ll find yourself in the company of other professionals whose personal paths are similarly intertwined with social work. Image from Unsplash
Nedda Gilbert profile
Nedda Gilbert August 17, 2018

"Choose a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life." – Confucius

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Many aspiring Master of Social Work (MSW) students wonder if they really have what it takes to enter the social work profession. The job is not without its rewards, but it can also be stressful, emotionally taxing, and physically demanding. Working conditions and pay can be just as daunting at times.

The fact is, entering this helping profession is not for everyone. It takes a certain kind of person to become a social worker. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree just to get started—a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) if you don’t plan to get an MSW. For many of social work’s most compelling professions—including clinical practice treating mental illness and other emotional challenges—your social work education will have to include an MSW.

Are you cut out for this path? Here are ten reasons why you should choose a career in social work:

1. You want to help others

Social work gives you a professional platform with which to engage your inner helper. An MSW degree will allow you to help people from all walks of life with all kinds of problems. Are you genuinely concerned about the mental and physical well-being of others? If not, this is not the job for you.



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2. You have deep insights about people and about what makes them tick

You’re interested in feelings, behavior, and overall mental health. You’re perceptive about what motivates people. You know that people’s lives change when they are empowered, and you find the work of helping them rewarding.

3. You had a rough childhood, or went through a challenging period of time yourself.

Many social workers enter the profession after personally experiencing some adversity. Some survived difficult circumstances and now want to help people in similar positions; their experiences inspired a lifelong passion to advocate for child welfare or human rights issues, or simply to perform public service. Others want to continue their journeys of overcoming as part of their day-to-day jobs. As long as your career doesn’t become a never-ending odyssey of self-help, you’ll find yourself in the company of other professionals whose personal paths are similarly intertwined with social work.

4. You need to live a purpose-driven life

Sure, some of your friends are off to glamorous careers or riches. But those things won’t satisfy you. You need a sense of meaning and a job that makes an impact to feel fulfilled, even if that job is less financially rewarding than others.

5. The principles and values of social work line up with your own

You may have been raised to believe in the good of others, or in doing good work yourself. Perhaps you want to live an ethics-driven life of integrity. As licensed professionals, social workers are not just do-gooders; they adhere to a high level of standards and ethics as defined by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

6. You’re excited by all the career possibilities

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of social work is projected to grow by 16 percent over the next decade. That figure leaves a lot of other professions in the dust, and positions you for numerous employment opportunities. You could start off in the medical social work field, for example, switch to providing counseling, and then go into administration or return to case management. As a social worker, you have the option to reinvent yourself while staying true to your profession—whether you’re helping someone manage mental health issues, acquire necessary health services, claim victim rights, or overcome substance abuse challenges.

7. You are committed to social justice

Becoming a mover and shaker is in your blood. You possess a sensitivity to those who are marginalized and victimized. You won’t stop until the inequities in the world are righted. You are primed for a mezzo- or macro-level social work career.

8. You understand and appreciate that social work has broad applications for other fields

Licensed social workers are positioned to work in many fields and organizations. Some non-traditional areas of social work include tech, human resources, fundraising, philanthropic giving, diversity leadership, high school counseling, and college consulting. You won’t be confined to one limited career path when you earn your bachelor’s and/or master’s degree in social work. A social work degree delivers BIG career options.

9. You need to be engaged and feel alive in the work you do

A mundane desk job just won’t cut it for someone with your energy. Whether you choose to counsel individuals in private practice as a clinical social worker or champion social change as a community organizer, you want to be immersed in and committed to every moment of your working day. You are a full-time carer and doer.

10. You’re not just compassionate, you’re resilient and resourceful

Doing whatever is necessary to get the job done is your signature style. In the face of adversity, you are steely and strong. And you know how to stand up to injustice. You have strong feelings about what is right with the United States and the ways in which it can be made even better. You have the skills and commitment to do whatever it takes to reach the level you need to reach to be effective: by completing all necessary degree programs and certifications, earning your licensure, even pursuing a PhD if that’s what it takes to achieve your goals.

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About the Author

Ms. Nedda Gilbert is a seasoned clinical social worker, author, and educational consultant with 25 years of experience helping college-bound and graduate students find their ideal schools. She is a prolific author, including The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and Essays that Made a Difference. Ms. Gilbert has been a guest writer for Forbes and a sought-after keynote speaker on college admissions. Previously, she played a crucial role at the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company and was Chairman of the Board of Graduate Philadelphia. Ms. Gilbert holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University and is a certified interdisciplinary collaborative family law professional in New Jersey.

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

To learn more about our editorial standards, you can click here.


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Categorized as: Social WorkSocial Work & Counseling & Psychology