What degree would I need to be able to help the homeless, the mentally ill, abused young children, and women?

PsyDuck90

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Help in what capacity? You can accomplish this as a therapist, lawyer, medical doctor, etc. Also, while also intersecting often, those are generally broad categories.

What are your ideal job responsibilities?
 
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Candylicious

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Help in what capacity? You can accomplish this as a therapist, lawyer, medical doctor, etc. Also, while also intersecting often, those are generally broad categories.

What are your ideal job responsibilities?
Being able to talk with them and help them with resources. But I want to know that I am actually helping them. I know so many people go into this field for the money. But that's not the case for me I really do like helping others.
 
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R. Matey

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Four years of college plus another two to three years for graduate school or law school if you decided to go that route. I spent a few years as a mental health counselor before going back to graduate school to become a psychologist. I found the work frustrating due to the lack of positions available for mental health counselors that paid decently enough to live on. I will also say there were times that I have wished I became a doctor or lawyer when I worked with at-risk populations because they often needed medical and legal help, and as a counselor, I could only connect them to resources that were often already overburdened. So, I’d say it depends on the population you want to work with, what you want to do for that population, and how long you want to be in graduate school.


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PsyDuck90

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Jan 23, 2018
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Being able to talk with them and help them with resources. But I want to know that I am actually helping them. I know so many people go into this field for the money. But that's not the case for me I really do like helping others.
If you want to help with resources, social work does a lot more case management type of stuff than mental health counselors and psychologists typically do. There are some joint BSW/MSW programs out there that are about 5-6 years start to finish for both degrees. Then, you can go on to get your clinical license to provide counseling as well.
 

Sanman

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Being able to talk with them and help them with resources. But I want to know that I am actually helping them. I know so many people go into this field for the money. But that's not the case for me I really do like helping others.
Really, who?

Honestly, a Social work degree would give you the most flexibility, but the cheapest degree possible (free is best) is the most important thing. You can't help the poor if you are right down there with them because of student loan debt.
 

MamaPhD

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Being able to talk with them and help them with resources. But I want to know that I am actually helping them. I know so many people go into this field for the money. But that's not the case for me I really do like helping others.
Social work could be a good fit. But maybe you can volunteer at a community services organization and get a flavor for the other kinds of professionals who work with vulnerable populations.

Regardless of profession, a lot of the time it will feel like you're working, and trying, but not really helping. So it is also important to basically like the work you're doing.
 
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Candylicious

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Social work could be a good fit. But maybe you can volunteer at a community services organization and get a flavor for the other kinds of professionals who work with vulnerable populations.

Regardless of profession, a lot of the time it will feel like you're working, and trying, but not really helping. So it is also important to basically like the work you're doing.
I've thought about Social Work but I would need
Really, who?

Honestly, a Social work degree would give you the most flexibility, but the cheapest degree possible (free is best) is the most important thing. You can't help the poor if you are right down there with them because of student loan debt.
Free? I don't think I'd be able to get a degree for free.
 

sb247

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Being able to talk with them and help them with resources. But I want to know that I am actually helping them. I know so many people go into this field for the money. But that's not the case for me I really do like helping others.
Ah, the trick is you care soooooo much more than everyone else?
 
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Candylicious

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Social work could be a good fit. But maybe you can volunteer at a community services organization and get a flavor for the other kinds of professionals who work with vulnerable populations.

Regardless of profession, a lot of the time it will feel like you're working, and trying, but not really helping. So it is also important to basically like the work you're doing.
I'm going to do Social Work in my state I can become a social work tech with an associates degree in mental health or social work. And with a Bachelor's degree, I can work as a Social worker. Yes, I know most people get a Master's Degree.
 
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Candylicious

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Ah, the trick is you care soooooo much more than everyone else?
I just know I love helping people especially those who are mentally challenged or who can't help themselves. I guess I'm a humanitarian I like helping animals as well.
 
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People go into social work for the money? How old are you? You even out of high school?
 
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foreverbull

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I would suggest spending time as a case manager (I think it only requires a bachelor’s degree in pretty much any social science). Or working/volunteering at a community non-profit. You will get to directly serve the population and see how that feels first before choosing a grad school.
 
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Most case managers are BSN with plenty of experience (at least the good ones).
 

foreverbull

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Most case managers are BSN with plenty of experience (at least the good ones).
Hmm... a friend of mine did case management with a BA in psychology for awhile before going to grad school. Perhaps this varies by region and/or setting.
 

Sanman

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I've thought about Social Work but I would need

Free? I don't think I'd be able to get a degree for free.

I'm not sure what stage you are at regarding your career, but there are scholarships and funding sources at every level if you look for them. If you cannot do that, low cost public institutions are your friend, especially if you can commute to them. Free is possible, I had full scholarships offered to me for undergrad and I went to a fully funded grad program.
 
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I'm still in school myself, so this is just advice based on what I have seen! I do agree that social work sounds like the best route. They are generally more community and resource based than one-on-one intervention. I would check the course offerings at the schools you are looking at. Often there are psych courses tailored specifically to diversity, sensitive populations, and gender studies. Having background knowledge of all the populations you are interested in will be crucial. As far as working with intellectually delayed populations, I have seen specific courses for that as well but usually tailored more towards education. In my area at least, I often see job postings for those certified as an Applied Behavior Analyst to work with those individuals. It's always a good idea to check out job posting websites and look for descriptions that fit what you're interested in and checking the degree/education requirements!

Not sure why everyone is being condescending about your desire to help, especially if you may still be in high school/just beginning college. That's the most important aspect of going into this field. Maybe not so much for the money, but many people go into psychology because they believe it is a quick and easy bachelor's to acquire but lack actual passion for it. These people can, and likely will, do more harm than good in their positions, and they are not uncommon. Also, you absolutely can help the poor even if you are financially struggling yourself. You're not giving them money out of your account... you're locating helpful resources and providing them with the tools to become stable themselves. In fact, I believe that gives you more perspective from which to empathize and more credibility in having dealt with a similar situation yourself. It could likely make you more prepared for the populations you want to face. It's no secret the mental health field is undervalued and therefore underpaid, but financial security is not an indicator of an ability to connect people with helpful resources and guidance.
 

MamaPhD

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Not sure why everyone is being condescending about your desire to help
The majority of people who have responded to this thread are not being condescending.

To add some perspective, most people who go into healthcare and helping professions do so at least in part out of a desire to help others. As such, "I want to help people" is such a common theme in admissions essays that it doesn't help distinguish one applicant from another. To put it less tactfully, it's a cliche. As others have pointed out, there are myriad ways of helping others. I think the spirit of most of these comments is to encourage the OP to dig deeper and to articulate why they are interested and well suited for a career in their desired field.

Also, you absolutely can help the poor even if you are financially struggling yourself. ... In fact, I believe that gives you more perspective from which to empathize and more credibility in having dealt with a similar situation yourself.
This speaks to another common statement by applicants, which is that their own struggles and challenges will help make them a good professional in the field. While this may be true, a well rounded applicant is also cautious of generalizing their own experience to that of others. What separates a mediocre statement from a strong one would be an explanation of how one's personal situation has prompted them to examine broader principles, patterns, systems, theories, etc. that would possibly apply to their work in said profession.
 
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