My Friend Danielle works as a School Social Worker. This is such a great and fulfilling career! Social work can take you into so many different fields… you should check it out!
Q: What is the title of your profession?
A: I am a School Social Worker
Q: What do you do?
A: The goal of social work within the school setting is to help children have the most successful day at school- be it socially, emotionally, or academically. Social work services may consist of short-term individual counseling, small group counseling, and/or classroom support.
The social worker serves as a liaison between the school and home, as well as a link between parents and community resources. Typically school social work services are primarily limited to students that have social work as part of their Individualized Education Plan (IEP’s).
Q: Have you always worked in this field?
A: Yes! I did case management services for adults with severe mental illness for five year before moving on to get my masters in social work. After finishing up my masters I began working in the school with children.
Q: Why did you choose this profession?
A: I have always known that I wanted to help people in some fashion. In high school and through college I worked at Pine Tree Camp- A camp for children and adults with physical and mental disabilities. It was here at camp that I knew I had a passion to work with people with disabilities- I just didn’t completely know how yet.
Q: How would you define your career?
A: I would define social work as a challenge where you take the small steps and view them as huge successes. It is tiring but extremely rewarding at the same time (does this answer this?)
Q: Did you go to college or trade school for this profession?
A: Yes I went to college for this profession. My undergraduate was in Rehabilitation Services at the University of Maine at Farmington. This undergraduate program is wonderful for people that know they will need to further their education with a masters but don’t know completely what profession that they want. It is a great base for working with people with disabilities. Many of my friends went on to graduate school in speech, OT, PT, etc. I decided to further my education in the field of social work and completed my masters degree from the University of New England.
Q: How long did you go to school?
A: Your graduate degree can via in length depending on whether or not you go full time or part time. If you go full time it will be two years of graduate school beyond your four years of undergraduate work. I was in a three year program that UNE offers because I continued to work part time throughout my schooling.
Q: Do you use your degree in your job?
A: Yes I definitely use my degree in my job. I wouldn’t be able to provide the services I provide without my degree. I also had to complete a licensing exam in order to get my State of Maine license to provide social worker services to people. I currently am a Licensed Master Social Worker Clinical Conditional. This means that I must have supervision from a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) until I have enough clinical hours to sit for another licensing exam for my LCSW.
Q: Can your degree be used for any other profession?
A: My degree can be used in other facets of social work. For example I could provide social work services in the community providing more direct therapy’s I could be working in a hospital. I could also be doing social work more on a macro level working for agencies in development and a supervision capacity.
Q: Do you have to do continued education courses?
A: Yes, I have to have 25 continuing educational credits biannually. So every 2 years I have to have taken classes/conferences to further my knowledge and education. This is extremely important in helping me stay current and knowledgeable in my profession and field.
Q: Do you need to be board certified?
A: Yes- I had to take an exam after finishing graduate school to get my LMSW- and now I’m waiting to get enough clinical hours to sit for my LCSW. I have to reapply for my certification with the board of social work every two years.
Q: What is a day in the life of your job? Does it change day to day?
A: My job doesn’t change daily in the sense of what my expectations are, however, it changes daily because I’m always putting out fires or dealing with kids that are having significant issues and this changes daily. I am always working with teachers, kids, administrators, and family’s and frequently working with other community professionals.
Q: What do you think makes a person successful in this career?
A: You have to want to work with people with disabilities and you have to be flexible and learn to think outside of the box. You have to be kind and willing to take the small baby sets as successes.
Q: Do you have to travel?
A: I currently don’t have any travel associated with my job.
Q: What is the typical schedule?
A: I LOVE MY SCHEDULE! It was what initially attracted me to doing social work within a school. I wanted to still work but also be available to raise my children. I wanted a balance. I currently work three days a week throughout the school year with summers, vacations, holidays, and snow days OFF!
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your career?
A: Helping children find success in their lives is the most rewarding part of my job.
Q: What do you dislike about your job?
A: I dislike my pay- it is awful!
Q: What advice would you give to someone that is considering a career in this field?
A: Be sure this is what you want. Spend a day with different social workers or within different helping professions to determine if it ultimately is what you want.
Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you?
A: YES! I love my profession. I don’t know if I’ll always stay within a school but that is the great thing about my job. I have a license that I can use in many different facets within the social work field. But right know the school is the perfect setting for me and the balance I am creating for my family with being a part time worker and part time stay at home mom!
Q: Are you having fun?
A: I am having a blast!
Q: Do you receive a pension or a company sponsored 401k?
A: I work under a teachers contract- each school can do this differently. Some school social workers are contracted into a school and work for a community agency. But I work for my district under a teachers contract. I do put into the Maine State Retirement System.