I like to keep up to date on the opportunities for Social Workers in the states as I am not completely sold as to whether I am staying or returning home. A couple of weekends ago I was scrolling through some jobs, just having a look at the qualifications and whether or not I met them. Much to my surprise, in terms of my development as a Clinical Social Worker, it was utterly depressing to find out that my time here (6+ years currently, possibly will be as much as 8 when I return home) will quite literally count for nothing.
I take responsibility for this as I made the completely inaccurate assumption that the profession and education was on par with the states AND that all the hoops they made me jump through to prove I was my education was up to scratch meant that I would be on an equivalent level….uh, no.
With a Bachelors Degree in Social Work I would have been qualified to do the job of a Social Worker in the local authority. With a Masters Degree in Social Work that has a clinical focus, I would be qualified to enter the mental health field. And, that is how it is here. If you are looking to continue your Clinical Social Work career (and I think I mentioned this in a previous post) I suggest the following types of roles:
– Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) worker – you’re basically a therapist
– Community Mental Health Teams (usually based in hospitals and falling on the side of “adult” Social Work) – you go out into the community and hospitals to asses people
– Multi-systemic therapy teams – you’re working with high risk youths in short term interventions
– Functional Family Therapy teams – these are relatively new and it appears they are based in and commissioned by local authorities
The worst part of it, I believe, will be making sure you get the clinical supervision you need because I don’t know that the degree they have here for Psychologists or Psychiatrists would qualify. I am positive that the Social Work degree doesn’t, unless you can find a Licensed American Social Worker here that will provide supervision for you.
This isn’t meant to discourage anyone. It is meant to ensure that you are giving your attention and consideration when moving over. You need to make sure you are aware of the rules in your state for maintaining your license so you can source the same type of support while you are here. It is a cautionary tale. I should have given better consideration to where I wanted my career to go before committing myself.
Another piece of advice, if you’re thinking about loan forgiveness, you can only count your time here toward it if you are working for an American company – yes I was heartbroken. I have to say that living here has definitely changed my world view. It has opened my eyes to so many different cultures and ethnicities. It has given me a better understanding of others. It was still a good decision for other reasons….any further moves will have to be planned better, me thinks.
Thanks for riding along!