Becoming a Social Worker: the Pros and Cons

Social work, like all careers, have both good things and bad things about the job. It is important for someone who aspire to be a social worker to see if, for them, the good of the job outweighs the bad. Here are some pros and cons of being a social worker.

Pro: You can do a lot of good

One of the biggest pros of being a social worker is the opportunity to do good for your community. As a social worker, you can help someone recover from addiction and claim back their lives, provide parenting classes, or help those without parents find good stable homes. These are all extremely positive impacts to a person’s life.

Con: You will see some incredibly heart wrenching situations/ make lots of difficult decisions

Often, social workers are dealing with individuals or families during the hardest periods of their lives. This means you will hear some devastating experiences or stories of people’s lives. It can also mean you could have a hand in making decisions that makes a situation even more devastating. This is especially true if you have to separate children from parents, or recommend psychiatric help.

Pro: You can work with just a bachelor’s degree

As long as you have the appropriate license, you can start a career as a social worker with a bachelor’s degree. If you are unsure about social work, many employers also hire for positions related to social work with a bachelor’s in sociology or psychology. This is because social work is a very interdisciplinary subject and crosses topics like sociology and psychology.

Con: You may need closer to eight years of education and training

Jobs that allow for more responsibilities, higher pay, and greater independence in social work usually requires one to get a master’s in social work. This can take up to three years of study: two years of courses and one to two terms of clinical experience. Sometimes, up to two years of supervised work experience is required as well.

Pro: You can work with many different individuals in many different places

With a wide range of responsibilities and the opportunity to work with so many different individuals who all come from a variety of different backgrounds, there is not a dull day when it comes to being a social worker. As well, due to the many differing specialties in social worker, one can work in a variety of settings — from hospitals to education institutes such as elementary schools and universities.

Con: The pay may not be worth it

As of May 2016, the average annual salary for social workers across the board was $46, 890; the lowest 10% earning less than $28,800 while the highest 10% earned more than $78, 510. This can seem rather poor after eight years of education and training. As well, depending on your job description, it can also seem like the pay is less than what you are worth.

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