PSR worker looking for career change
January 5, 2013 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Hi There. I am currently working in Idaho state as a PSR Worker. I do skills training in the public school system and with kids in the community. I enjoy working with children tremendously. I would do PSR forever, but it pays very little and there are no benefits (I work for a private agency) and I would like to find a career path that offers better pay, health insurance and a retirement plan. It would be a plus for a broad field. I am not disagreeable to the idea of pursuing additional education. Any suggestions for occupations with similar skills and duties that pay decently? (30K/year starting is totally acceptable) Thanks for reading this post and have a great day.

Other info:
1. I have considered getting an MSW, but I am concerned that low pay would not justify the student loans I would accrue in the process if obtaining the degree/credentials.

2. I have considered pursuing a career in teaching, but I am uncertain whether large class sizes would be something I could handle effectively. (If there are jobs in teaching with small groups of elementary aged kids, let me know and I will research this some more.)

3. I have considered nursing as well, but it seems like the field is becoming flooded with new candidates, making the jobs difficult to find.
posted by neanderloid to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Speech Language Pathology! I am in a post-baccalaureate program right now to prepare me to go to grad school in SLP. Most SLPs work in school settings, though there are lots of other options. I love working with kids but don't want to be a classroom teacher, and there are options from working with kids who just need a little help with their Sylvester the Cat S to kids on the autism spectrum or with other developmental delays (you can also work in medical settings, with people who've had strokes or brain injuries, for instance; or with infants who have swallowing problems). There is currently considered to be a shortage of SLPs; there are five colleges wthin communting distance of my home that offer masters degrees in SLP and all of them report 100% in-field placement rates. Admission to the programs is competitive; my first-choice program, for instance, gets about 80 applications a year and admits 20. And I can tell you from just one semester of post-bacc coursework that it's not an easy path. Salaries start, IIRC from when I was doing my research, in the mid-50s. Median salary is in the mid-70s.
posted by not that girl at 7:19 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you feel like you have the skills for it, special education teachers are much more in demand than elementary education. Class sizes are generally much smaller, say, 15 students maximum, instead of 35. You can add certification for specific populations, such as autism, cognitive impairments, blind, etc.) Cross-categorical certification allows you to teach grades K-12, and you can choose self-contained or resource (kids stay with you all day, or different kids all day). Here in Arizona, at least, you can complete programs that will certify you for both elementary and special education so you have more options and can move around in a district or school once you are hired on.

It does take a certain skill set that not everyone has, so I would talk to others working in the field before you make a decision.
posted by lemonwheel at 7:22 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Check out occupational therapy as well.
posted by deadcrow at 7:39 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm a speech pathologist and I love what I do...but it's not for everyone. It's a challenging program and a Masters is the minimum you need to work. As not that girl said, the programs are extremely competitive.

Another option might be working for your local Division of Vocational Rehab helping people learn job skills. That would've adults, though, not kids.
posted by christinetheslp at 7:39 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Look into the various occupations that deal with visually impaired children. The education is sometimes covered by grants and can often be done at a distance. The only thing that would give me pause is that, although there seem to be good jobs available, they are geographically spread out quite a bit so moving in order to get a job might be necessary.

Good luck!
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:46 PM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure what PSR is short for. But I know multiple people who have a MSW.

You seem like a good hearted person. Avoid social work with children.

As not that girl posted - SLP is probably a good field for you.
posted by BenevolentActor at 4:41 AM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks folks, this info has been exteamly helpful thus far. I really appreciate it.

FYI: PSR Stands for Physosocial Rehabilitation . . . It's a social service offered though medicade. No every state has it. It's a bachelor level occupation.
posted by neanderloid at 4:45 PM on January 6, 2013

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