A Celebration of Social Work

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I have a few friends who have graduated. Some have really high-powered jobs, while others work in offices or even outdoors. But nobody I know is as happy with their job as the one friend of mine who became a social worker. She really, really loves what she does, so much so that she’s got me considering a change in my own career path. Experts, what can you tell me about social work? Can I make a decent living doing it? Is it as wonderful as my friend says–worth skipping out on opportunities in more lucrative fields?


Only you can decide if a calling to social work is worth passing up other opportunities. That will depend on your own view of your professional options, as well as on the values that you hold dear. But what we can tell you is that happiness with your job is immensely important, and that social work offers rewarding career paths that give you a chance to impact the world around you.


Happiness is a complex thing. It’s something that comes from within, but there’s no denying that exterior influences matter. Money can buy happiness, or at least can buy some things that help boost happiness, but it’s also true that money alone doesn’t make you happy: everything from your relationships to your state of mind matters, too.


And considering that we spend a third of our lives at work, it’s no surprise that our careers have a huge influence on our happiness, too. And, actually, the inverse is true as well: low happiness can stand in the way of career success, which is only another reason to choose your career wisely!


If you’re looking for a rewarding career, social work certainly qualifies. Social workers can work on a wide variety of projects and in a wide variety of capacities: they may work with families, in schools, with refugees, or with mental health patients.


To begin a career in social work, you will want an undergraduate degree or, perhaps, a doctorate in social work, say researchers of online MSW programs. A graduate-level degree will give you more flexibility and the ability to take on more responsibilities, including developing plans with doctors and other professionals helping the same people that you are.


Social workers may not rival Wall Street financiers in earnings, but they can be quite comfortable. The average social worker makes over $43,000 a year, and the top earners in the profession can make $60,000 or more.


Is social work the right choice for you? Again, that’s impossible for us to say! Like all careers, it offers things that will appeal to some job-seekers and turn others off. If you’re seriously considering social work as a career, we recommend that you speak more to your friend in the business. Ask her more about what she does every day, and try to figure out if you would enjoy it as much as she seems to. You should also ask her about what sort of qualifications you’ll need to get a job like hers. Perhaps she can even connect you with coworkers and hiring managers. Good luck!


“It is a privilege to be able to bear witness to someone’s story when they may not have had the chance to tell it before.” — Lindy Alexander

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