3 answers

After you graduate from college with a major in psychology, what are some some steps that you can take in order to get a job as a mental health/ substance abuse social worker?

Updated San Francisco, California

Hi I am Grace,
I am currently a sophomore in high school but I am very interested in this field of study. I just wanted to know some steps that it takes to actually become a social worker because a lot of people go to college to major in psychology but never put it to use. So it is a waste of time to go study and major in something that you are not going to pursue. I wanted to make sure I know what to do after I get the degree and where to find a job like that. Anyways thank you for taking your time to answer my question. #psychology #social-work #mental-health-counseling

3 answers

Kristen’s Answer

Updated Naperville, Illinois

I advise that you work on this before graduating. Look for part time entry level jobs at hospitals and/or community mental health centers while still working on your degree. This will give you a head start when you are applying for jobs after graduation. You will have job experience in the field. Also, complete an internship while in college. Internships can lead to employment after graduation if positions are open and you have worked hard and done a good job while there. One last thing, create a network of professionals in the field that you can later use for referrals and guidance. Keep in touch with professors that you connected with, reach out to supervisors at work for advice, and stay connected with classmates. I continue to receive referrals in my private practice from those I went to grad school with and worked with in internships and previous positions. Hope this helps you. Good luck!

Updated
Thanks Kristen, this is good advice for my needs also. :)

Heather’s Answer

Updated Syracuse, New York

I agree with Kristen above. I would like to add some information as well.

Start getting your feet wet in variety of organizations such as, The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities or something along that area. It is always better to find a job, but if you can start volunteering somewhere, that will definitely be better than nothing at all. It will help you gain network and professional recognition for what it is you hope to become. Start finding internships because those internships will help land you to a job even if it isn't in that company. This person may know this person who will know this person who gets you a job. In today's world, it is all about who you know, so start rubbing elbows with many different people even if he or she are not part of the mental health field. You never know who he or she might know.

Linked In is a great place to start building your professional reputation by creating networks.

Another thing to think of on top of everything I said above is look into what your state requirements are to become a mental health or social work field because most states require a masters degree. Getting your degree in Psychology would not be a waste of time, most people who graduate with their bachelors do end up going for their masters to narrow down their focus. I have my Bachelors of Science in Psychology and am currently finishing up my Masters in School Counseling.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any further questions. Good Luck Grace!!

Yandira’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

Hello Grace

You are right about going to college for 4 years and spending money and not pursuing a job related to it. If you ar truly interested in the AOD (alcohol and other drug) field start by interviewing someone who is doing it-entry level and expereinced the good/bad/ugly of the job. Visit your state's website on it as well as NASW (national assoc of social worker) find a local chapter, contact the president and go to a meeting.

There are jobs - from prevention to treatment- just go out and explore.

Good luck!!!