2 answers

What are entry level positions for students who wish to become counselors or social workers?

Asked Baltimore, Maryland

I am an undergrad and am wondering what jobs I should seek out after getting my degree. #career-choice #career-path #job-search #entry-level

2 answers

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

It is very good that you are reaching out for answers regarding your career of interest. During my years of college recruiting, I encountered too many graduates who had not gotten to know themselves or their career area well enough and found that they did not like or were not comfortable with the practical application of their major when on the job. Here are some steps that will help to prevent you from having the same problem.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • It is very important to learn how your personality traits compare with people in various career areas, especially the one in which you have an interest. Talking to your counseling office and taking an Interest and Aptitude Test would be a wise investment of time.
  • After you have identified a possible viable career area, it is very important to learn what it is like to be working in that area. The best way is to do networking and talk to people who are working in that area to see and feel what it is like to work in that area. Here are some good tips; Networking: ## https://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • When doing networking, it is a good idea to start with people with whom you have a common connection. A good group to begin with would be those people who have graduated from your school and are working in your career area of interest. You can locate them by talking to the person who tracks and works with graduates of your school. Another good source of information would be professional associations to which people in your career area of interest belong. One of the major ones is the National Association of Social Workers. Your academic advisor or the reference librarian at your local library should be able to provide contact information. Another good source of such associations would be this site: Professional Associations ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ##
  • Here is a site that will allow you to see that range of possibilities for someone like you who wishes to enter this important helping career area: ## http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marjorie-hansen-shaevitz/post_9154_b_6865002.html ##

Sheryl’s Answer

Updated

Your entry level should combine your caring for people (which is why you want to go into Social Work) with an area that truly interests you.

I have a degree in Social Work ( later went on for technical training, eventually ended up in IT -- long story). My first job out of college was EXACTLY what I wanted. I had a vision and went for it... I got an entry-level position as a case worker for Big Brothers & Big Sisters. It was a fascinating job and I learned so much about Social Work, about people, and about me.

One good possibility for entry level is to take a Civil Service test for Social Work at the government level. There are several different categories you could test for, and if your score is high enough, you will start getting calls for interviews when available.

Decide the area you want to be in, such as education, government, medical, non-profit.... and then start your research and go for it!


Sheryl recommends the following next steps:

  • Google entry-level social work positions to see what's out there.
  • Perform job searches on Indeed.com, and make sure to put in your certifications and/or qualifications (such as BSW), to get different results beyond the standard entry of "Social Work".
  • Check out available Civil Service tests for Social Work to see if any are of interest to you. If so, look for study materials on line or on Amazon to help you prepare for the test. You want to score high to get the interviews.
  • Look into volunteer work in your area of interest. I took a volunteer position in a local hospital as a volunteer coordinator. Looks good on your resume and you learn!