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Licensed clinical social worker: How I got my job and where I'm going

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so in 2008 when I graduated with my bachelor's of science and psychology and I started applying for jobs they quickly realized that a lot of them wouldn't hire you without experience which I had none so I had a really hard time finding a job so I ended up working as a waitress for I think two more years after that before I started volunteering at Aviva Children's Services and that I really enjoyed doing so through the contacts that I had made at Aviva I was told that there was a job opening with Child Protective Services and I apply it and I got the job so I did that for maybe two and a half years until I realized that it was super hard work and not very great pay and so I decided to work towards my master's degree which I did in Social Work and I graduated in 2013 since I become a licensed clinical social worker and you have to obtain your masters in social work I ended up with my undergrad in psychology and so I needed to complete the full program if you end up actually getting a bachelor's in Social Work than the master's program it's shorter so with a bachelor's in psychology my master's program was two years although I went part-time so it took me three years after graduating in order to become licensed you do 3,000 hours of direct client work and you receive supervision by somebody who's already licensed for a certain number of hours and then you study for your test and you take your test for licensure so the test is approximately four hours long it's a hundred and twenty questions um and if you pass and you've met all of the hours requirements then you were given your license and it depends on the state as well so in Arizona there's there's two different types of licensure so in Arizona you got an alum s of you licensed master social worker before you can start working towards your clinical license in Colorado that license doesn't exist so here you just go straight for your clinical license without ever getting a license prior to that so we graduated my master's program and actually ended up working at the agency that I interned with while I was still in school and I did that for almost one year before I decided to move to Denver so I ended up moving here and applied for several jobs although because the licensing structure is different in the two states I was technically considered unlicensed which made it even more difficult for me to get a job so I applied several places I did get one offer before I got the call back from the mental health center of Denver so the reason that I was given this position I mean other than I think I interviewed well um is because I'm bilingual so that was a really key in helping me get a job that would provide supervision so that I could obtain my license because finding a job that provides that is pretty difficult so the typical career path for a therapist or a licensed clinical social worker there are many but I think probably the most popular is to work for community mental health work for an agency until you can get licensed and then a lot of people go on to open their own private practice I think that I I want to continue doing this work because I really enjoy it but I think that I would want to strive towards having more work-life balance so maybe in the future work a little less enjoy life a little more but still continue doing this work I'm a piece of advice that I would give somebody who was just starting this work would be to look into the emotional toll that it can take to learn about self care what it means to really take care of yourself so that you can continue to do this work and to learn about the importance of supervision which is sort of the support that you receive from a supervisor while in the job something I wish I had known was how much paperwork is actually required because it's a lot and although like I'd mentioned it is necessary to keep track of everything that you're doing sometimes it's overwhelming I think pitfalls in this line of work would include maybe not learning to compartmentalize taking your work home letting it affect you in your personal life and there are definitely ways to avoid that but I think for new therapists it happens more often than not I think that's really important to consider before choosing a career in social work but it is incredibly rewarding
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