Considering a Long Career in Social Work? 5 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Bachelor’s Major

Career in Social Work deals with the welfare of society. Social workers educate and empower disadvantaged people to create better-living conditions for themselves. They help people work through difficult circumstances where they might be dealing with mental illness, abuse, poverty, unemployment, and other serious issues. Social workers receive training to help underprivileged people develop plans and strategies that can allow them to improve their lives.  

If you want to build a career in social work, you must acquire a degree that equips you with the proper knowledge and suitable expertise.  Typically, a degree in social work offers specialization in modern social problems, psychology, social work research, economic justice, etc. Choosing a major is a crucial decision for most college students. 

A carefully chosen major can pave the way towards a high-paying job and a fulfilling career. It takes two years to graduate with any master’s degree in the US. However, choosing the right major during your bachelor’s degree in social work can reduce this time to a year. Various universities across the US offer online social work degree masters level to students. Prospective students should read this article further to learn how to decide on a major during their bachelor’s degree.

Focus on Your Interests

Make sure that your interests align with your college major. Otherwise, you will end up ruining your college experience. Choosing a major based on your interests will make your overall study experience easier and enjoyable. For example, a social work major should be extroverted and have a strong interest in helping and dealing with people because that will be a primary part of their career.

Some people are passionate about only a single subject or career path, while others can be interested in multiple disciplines at the same time. Moreover, you may develop new interests after starting or even halfway through college. Focusing on your interests is crucial but should not be the only factor to consider when choosing your major. 

Compare Your Strengths and Weaknesses 

Make sure that your skills and abilities match the major you plan to choose. An honest analysis of your abilities will elucidate whether a major is suitable for you or not. Majoring in social work or related subjects is a bad idea if, throughout high school, you consistently got low grades in social science subjects.

Like your interests, your talents will grow and change during your degree. For instance, if you have weak communication skills, you can strengthen them over time. However, if you are sure that you are not skilled enough for a specific major, do not pursue it. Only choose a major if you are confident about doing well in most of its coursework. This confidence will mark your  success in school and post-grad life.

Income Potential

Remember to research the earning potential of your major. The US Bureau of labor statistics can provide you with an authentic salary figure for your potential major. According to PayScale, some majors like engineering and computer science offer a higher pay scale than other majors like education and social work.

However, these low-paying majors have a high degree of income variability. It essentially means that the most qualified social workers and educationists can make as much as and even more than an engineer. You must remember that focusing only on the salary potential for choosing your major is not ideal. Further education and internships during your bachelor’s degree can enrich your resume and make you a more sought-after candidate in the job market; thus, increasing your chances of securing a high-paying job.

Chances of Employment

Not all majors have equal employability. You will want to major in something that offers you more chances of employment. It is wise to check the job growth projection of the major you are considering. Moreover, check out the job placement statistics of others who have chosen a similar major before you. You can also research industries facing shortages because ample employment opportunities will be present there. According to the US bureau of labor statistics, the employment opportunities for social workers are estimated to grow 12% by 2030, with about 78,300 openings projected each year.

Keep in mind that some majors clearly define your job title or career pathway after graduation, like computer science. However, majors like social work offer you a wide variety of job and business opportunities and help you fit into more than one job role. Therefore, consider all the jobs your major will allow you to apply for before deciding your major.

Your employment chances also depend on the school you graduate from. Graduates from Ivy League schools have a higher employment rate than students from less-selective schools. Moreover, job markets and employment statistics are not absolute. They are subject to change in the future. So when choosing a major, focus on the skills you will gain from that major. Work on developing your skills and ensure that you have a strong resume to make yourself more eligible for employment.

Research Your Potential Majors

It is advisable to start researching your potential majors early on. You can explore even during your high school years. Shortlist some majors you would be interested in pursuing, then research about each of them to make a final decision. Here are some points to help you make an informed decision:

  • Read up on your potential interests. Skim through articles, books, blogs, vlogs, or other channels to learn about the majors you are interested.
  • If you are short on time, instead of reading, listen to podcasts. Nowadays, educational podcasts are available on almost every topic. Use them to shortlist the potential majors you are interested.
  • You can indulge in activities related to your future major during summer breaks. Consider taking related classes at a community college, applying for internships, volunteering to work in places related to your interests.  All these experiences will give you a good idea about whether a certain major is suitable for you or not.
  • Several local colleges have classes and activities open for the public. Consider attending those to know what sort of work you might have to do and assess if you will be interested in doing that in the future.
  • Most importantly, try interview professionals who majored in something that interests you. Ask them about their struggles, the upsides of their careers, the path they took to get there, the subjects they studied, and the school they graduated from. 

Take Away

A college major shapes your post-grad life and often defines the course of your future career path. Selecting the right major is crucial because it can make or break your career. Deciding on a major can be stressful, so we hope that this article will help you make an informed decision and make the decision-making process easier for you. Choose your college major wisely because it determines your future employability, pay scale, and overall job satisfaction. 

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