Career Options-Caseworker
May 25, 2012 10:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm realizing more and more how much I want to become a case worker. The only problem is that I pursued a degree in communications and not social work. What are the next steps in terms of reaching my goal and obtaining a job as a case worker?

I'm only two credits away from completing a degree in communications, my degree focuses on communicating with others in various settings rather than the media type of communications.

I have always been interested communications, but I'm realizing more and more that a job as a case worker is the type of job that I would really like to have. I've read about this type of position and it just 'clicked' with me because it felt like such a great fit based on my interests and type of personality. This career has always been something that I was interested in, but I had to rule it out because my marks weren't good enough to change majors and pursue a degree in social work.

I'm considering getting a second undergraduate degree, but I fear that I will be extremely burnt out and don't want to spend that much time in school.

I'm unsure about my options though. Is further education the only way that I can pursue a degree as a case worker? What are the next steps in terms of reaching my goal and working as a case worker?
posted by livinglearning to Education (8 answers total)
Did you do any work relevant to the field at all? My ex had a case worker-y job without having done coursework or a degree directly relevant.
posted by naturalog at 10:10 PM on May 25, 2012

What province are you in?
posted by Yowser at 10:27 PM on May 25, 2012

This might be location-specific, but in NYC you can definitely get a (very low-paying, difficult) job as a case worker with a college degree. Some demonstrated interest in helping other people is helpful, so get out there and tutor or volunteer or something that will show that you're not just desperate for any job. Ideally you have an area of interest like children, the elderly, mental health, and you volunteer in that and then get a job in that.

Oh and a second language, especially a language common in local immigrant populations is a HUGE plus here in NYC (and I imagine in many areas of Canada).
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:42 PM on May 25, 2012

This might be a good situation for the famous informational interview. (I've never done one myself, but whenever career path changes come up, they are invariably mentioned!) I think social workers are probably the type of people who would be happy to sit down with a keen college student for 15 minutes and discuss ways to get into the field. That could also help you to get an idea of what the job situation is like in your geographical area.
posted by snorkmaiden at 11:56 PM on May 25, 2012

I work in a field that has case workers (Mental Health) and have a couple suggestions -

- Read the job descriptions and/or job flyer of the various government and non-profit agencies in your geographic area and you will get a sense of what is needed. Often you will find that a degree in social work OR a college degree plus two years experience in the field can be substituted.

- If that's the case, get an entry-level position (assistant social worker, community mental health worker) then work really hard for two years after which you will meet the minimum qualifications.

Where I work, demonstrated ability weighs more heavily with those doing job interviews than a degree alone.

Good luck!
posted by eleslie at 6:45 AM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the helpful answers so far!

An additional question- what types of job could I get with a communications degree that involve helping others?
posted by livinglearning at 9:21 AM on May 26, 2012

Also, in response to the first two questions-

Naturalog-No, I don't have any relevant experience in this area although I am trying to get a volunteering position in the area. And, Yowser, I sent you a memail because I don't want to disclose that information since my program is not very common in Canada. Thanks again!
posted by livinglearning at 10:14 AM on May 26, 2012

Speech-language pathology might be a career worth exploring. I believe it takes a master's degree everywhere, but if you're planning on going back to school for another bachelor's degree, it might make more sense to do a master's instead. Plus the burnout rate on caseworkers is supposed to be astronomical.
posted by jabes at 12:52 PM on May 26, 2012

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