From Navy to Social Work

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sideman, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    My son has just completed one year in the Navy and is considering going back to school to get his masters in social work. He has a bachelors in business and psychology from UT-Dallas which he got before he went into the Navy. In talking with him I gather that he has no interest in the corporate world and wants to apply himself in government (i.e. social work) or work for a non-profit. Money is no issue to him but I would like to see him make a decent living and perhaps support a family some day. Any suggestions as to routes to explore?
  2. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Social work is an excellent field and depending on what subspecialty he goes into, there are a lot of options. If he does a mental health specialization, he can have a private practice very similar to a psychologist. The demand for mental health services, and ability to pay for them, will increase because (prior to the health care bill) a new law went into place requiring insurance companies to treat payment for mental health conditions the same as physical health conditions, i.e, they can no longer limit to 10 visits per year or wahtever.

    There are also lots of opportunities in government or nonprofit work for social workers, though right now, there are tremendous cuts in child welfare and child protective services, two of the largest governmental employers of social workers, and nonprofits are having problems because grants are drying up. But the demand will always be there, and in the health care sector, there's a move toward using masters-level therapists and mental health workers as opposed to Ph.Ds, because of cost savings, and social workers have among the widest scope of practice of any of the masters-level therapists. I'd say it's a good choice with a lot of flexibility and options.

    There are several good online social work programs too; if you do a search in our archive, you'll see a couple of threads discussing them.
  3. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Social work is one of the lowest paying gigs there is. It is also a high-stress job. But don't take my word for it. In a 1995 study, Howard University found that the average social worker with a MSW only makes between $30k -$35. I know that was 15 years ago but I wouldn't expect a substantial increase between then and now.

    Salaries for New Social Workers--How Much Will I Make?
  4. workingmom

    workingmom New Member

    He could be an officer in the Navy and work as a social worker, if he's interested. That's better than most non military options pay, benefits and stability wise.
  5. JBjunior

    JBjunior Active Member

    I quoted you but have something to add first. It will be extremely difficult for your son to complete the program. Most schools are going to require intensives at the least. The hard part after completing the program is going to be completing the necessary supervised experience which will be next to impossible. Some states require a certain number of hours per week and you pretty much have to devote time to get it done. I am active duty USCG and was checking into Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy and doing an online based program will take about 3-4 years as it is a 60 hour program for licensure in most states. If I was able to complete the program by doing the residencies/intensives then I would have to complete thousands of hours of clinical experience for licensure which being Active Duty would take another few years, if not impossible. It is very possible and I am passionate about doing this in the future but to make it happen within a reasonable time I would have to get out and make it happen. I don't think I could spend 4-6 years working on a program before I was done with it to be licensed. Anyway, here is the requirements for the program mentioned by the person I quoted: "To qualify for Active Duty employment consideration as a Social Worker in the Navy Medical Service Corps, you must meet these basic requirements:

    Be a U.S. citizen or a foreign citizen licensed to practice in the U.S. (see a Medical Officer Recruiter for details)
    Master of social work (MSW) from a graduate school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
    Minimum of two years’ full-time supervised clinical social work experience (post-master’s degree)
    Current licensure/certification as a clinical social worker by the jurisdiction where practicing; licensure/certification must allow the social worker to practice independently
    Be willing to serve a minimum of three years of Active Duty
    Be between the ages of 18 and 41
    Be in good physical condition and pass a full medical examination
    You may also be expected to meet certain preferred requirements:

    Experience in mental health (inpatient and outpatient) with knowledge and skills in: diagnosis, evaluation and treatment; medical social work, case management and discharge planning; family violence, including child and spousal abuse; and developmental delays in children
    Supervisory program management or other leadership experience
    Knowledge, skill and comfort in working with diverse populations from various cultural backgrounds"

    The bolded part is going to be the killer, 2 years of full-time experience, which being active duty not in that role, he wouldn't be able to accomplish.
  6. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Nothing’s changed, still pays nothing. A person with a masters in SW makes no more than a person with a BS. It’s kind of a bad deal but its and easy gig from what sw's have told me and there are too many people getting into it.
  7. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    That's a little bit deceptive, because a BSW in the US is a relatively uncommon degree. Unlike most undergrad degrees, the BSW is a very focused program that prepares one to practice as a social worker. Accordingly, many MSW programs are only a year long for students entering with a BSW (two years otherwise.)

    Additionally, while the numbers quoted for social workers may be accurate for typical caseworker positoins, I don't think the salary figures consider those social workers who are in individual practice, or who have a counseling/mental health specialization; ones who have developed a therapy practice can make similar incomes to doctoral-level psychologists, and even the ones working institutionally in a counseling session make substantially more than $30,000, at least according to what I've been told by people in the field.

    It may be true that it's considered an "easy gig" but it shouldn't be; the social workers I know who care about their job take it very seriously and work very hard.
  8. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    No doubt Chip, they lady who lives caddy corner to me on my street is a SW. She loves her work and she too takes it serious. But she makes just over the $30,000 mark and has been doing it for years and she was the one who told me how easy it was. She works for the state of Texas.

    The only way to become a social worker in Texas now is to have a BSW in it. There are no longer any alternative licensing methods like there are in other states. It is a degree that is offered in every state college, city college, private college and cc.

    No if there are many levels to social work (Texas)


    Only a LMSW can practice on there on in a clinical setting.
  9. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    Thanks for all your responses. I'll forward this information to him to see what he thinks. Thanks again.
  10. dstrains

    dstrains New Member

    I'm suprised at some of the negative responses and the fact that no one mentioned being a social worker at the VA.

    Therefore, I'd like to add that as a whole the social work profession can low-paying, but for those working for the US Veterans Administration (VA) it an entirely different ballgame. While an entry-level social worker with a Masters probably makes between 25-40k, a Master-level social worker fresh out of college will start at around 55k minimum, with a year or two experience you can be at 70k. That's a fact. And for someone such as your son who is military, that has an understanding of what our country's servicemen and women do and have been through, he would be an extremely highly competitive candidate for a VA position. If he went supervisory, he'd probably be pushing 80k.

    Definitely have him consider it.

    There's also taking a job in the UK. Different country, but they're desperate and will pay brand new social workers the equivalent of around 60k us. In some cases housing provided as well.

    Another option to consider.
  11. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

  12. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Thanks for the link..I found the whole article interesting. With all of the media attention about low pay after college I wonder if we will see a drop in enroll within the next ten years or so.

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