Nov 30, 2019
12
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
After a lot of back and forth I think my daughter has settled on either mft or msw (she is going to college next year). She is interested in therapy, but would probably never want to run her own business.

From my perspective as an outsider, the two career paths seem relatively similar and it seems that msw provides better roi, and is more flexible in general.

As a result she is thinking of declaring her major as sw rather than psychology (her original intended major when she was not considering sw), as this will save her an additional year in graduate school.

Obviously, all is not perfect in the SW world – for example, we anecdotally here of very high burn out rates. Any insight from the practitioners in either area would be very much appreciated.
 

R. Matey

A Pirate
5+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2014
707
838
Treasure Island
Status (Visible)
  1. Post Doc
Burn out is a concern due to the high caseloads social workers typically carry on the front end of their careers before moving into management positions, but they have the market cornered on some of the better jobs at the master's level. Social Workers have been around a lot longer than LPCs and LMFTs, so their lobby tends to have more negotiating power. From what I've seen LMFTs are able to market themselves effectively as experts in family and couples relationships, but this is usually in private practice so if your daughter doesn't want her own business, social work is still probably the degree to get.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Nov 30, 2019
12
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
Thanks for the clarification. One more question if you don't mind. Is social work dangerous? More precisely, can a social worker at the beginning of her career afford the luxury of refusing a position that is deemed dangerous? (Asking this as a father; right now it doesn't play into my daughter's calculus)
 
About the Ads
Feb 11, 2020
93
84
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
Thanks for the clarification. One more question if you don't mind. Is social work dangerous? More precisely, can a social worker at the beginning of her career afford the luxury of refusing a position that is deemed dangerous? (Asking this as a father; right now it doesn't play into my daughter's calculus)

Can you clarify what you mean regarding "dangerous"?

For example, I work at a maximum-security inpatient forensic hospital, where we house the "most dangerous" patients on my unit. This may be considered dangerous, as we house manifestly dangerous patients. But, it also might not be, because "professional staff" (i.e., psychology, social work, administration) do not have many 1-to-1 interactions with patients. We actually can't without the presence of nursing staff.

That's what I think of when I think of dangerous jobs in this field. This and prisons.

However, the social work job market is pretty open in my area. So, depending on where you lived, she could have other options to avoid potentially dangerous jobs. Also, you could prevent the whole question and not apply to these positions.

Working with people, no matter your field, is potentially dangerous to some degree, ranging from unlikely occurrences to highly likely occurrences. If that helps.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

R. Matey

A Pirate
5+ Year Member
Jul 15, 2014
707
838
Treasure Island
Status (Visible)
  1. Post Doc
Thanks for the clarification. One more question if you don't mind. Is social work dangerous? More precisely, can a social worker at the beginning of her career afford the luxury of refusing a position that is deemed dangerous? (Asking this as a father; right now it doesn't play into my daughter's calculus)

There's a lot that goes into that question. It would depend on where someone worked, what their job duties were, and the availability of social work jobs in the region where a person was living. People who have worked in inpatient psych units have been harmed physically, so that is a risk, but I think the most dangerous positions for social workers are going into people's homes. I did this a number of years ago and absolutely will not do it again. Social workers have more opportunities though than any other master's level clinician so I would think the opportunities wouldn't be that limited, but again it depends on where you live.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Nov 30, 2019
12
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
>Can you clarify what you mean regarding "dangerous"?
Relatively more dangerous than what counselors and other therapists encounter. Going to environments where you are not wanted / that are by default hostile. (I understand there is always some 'danger' involved, but it seems to my uneducated eye, that social workers get more than their fair share)

>I think the most dangerous positions for social workers are going into people's homes
Yes, that is precisely what I meant - going into an uncontrolled environment without the adequate protection. It is good to hear that other options exist.
 

summerbabe

2+ Year Member
Nov 22, 2016
262
430
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychologist
Yes, that is precisely what I meant - going into an uncontrolled environment without the adequate protection. It is good to hear that other options exist.
There's everything from street outreach with the homeless to hospital jobs where you spend most of your time at a desk working out care coordination issues (getting previous medical records, communicating with family, working out post-hospital discharge placements, facilitating court commitment issues, etc).

I work at a Veteran Affairs hospital and our SW positions have very specific job duties. We have some community based programs where SWers will go to people's homes or do other things in the community, positions that are 100% in office therapy-focused (and work conditions and pay are generally indistinguishable between LCSW, MFT and LPC holders), and positions embedded in specific medical units or hospital services (ER, ICU, etc).

More precisely, can a social worker at the beginning of her career afford the luxury of refusing a position that is deemed dangerous?
Agree with previous posters that a lot will be determined by the supply/demand dynamics of the area, with less options in rural/remote regions, which mental health tends to be under-budgeted so any MH practitioner is more likely to wear multiple hats in their job, especially if it's in community mental health.
 
Nov 30, 2019
12
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
Thank you very much for your reply! Every additional bit of information helps. Could you point me to a good resource (beside BLS) that describes in detail different career avenues a social worker can take?
 

MAClinician

Masters level clinician
2+ Year Member
Mar 19, 2016
334
353
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
National Association of Social Workers

Your daughter’s best bet is to attend college, take classes in both disciplines (social work and psychology), do an undergrad field placement/internship to get a feel for some of the day to day experiences. Internship at the undergrad level will not let her do counseling but she will get exposed to staff who do those things. And if her interests change throughout undergrad that is ok too!! She might decide she wants something totally unrelated. Let her explore her interests. The other stuff will come.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Feb 12, 2021
2
1
Thank you very much for your reply! Every additional bit of information helps. Could you point me to a good resource (beside BLS) that describes in detail different career avenues a social worker can take?
The beauty of an MSW is that it is a very versatile degree. I have had an MSW for over 30 years. I have worked in a high school counseling collaborative, hospital outpatient child psych, college counseling mental health, and now in therapeutic placements. It is a well respected degree.
 

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.
About the Ads