Happy Spring (though I’m not really sure Kentucky has figured out that it’s spring, yet)! Spring is a time for growth so I wanted to talk about the ways that I have been growing as a social worker and what you can expect at this stage in your career. I have recently begun clinical supervision for my clinical license (LCSW- Licensed Clinical Social Worker- in the state of KY- other states may use different terminology). We’ve talked before about the career paths that clinical social work can lead to but, now I have some inside knowledge to share!
First, let’s talk about how I got here. Most social work programs (undergrad and graduate) offer multiple career tracts. There may be more specific tracts offered but, they often fall into the categories of “Family and/or Community” Social Work, or “Clinical” Social Work. I’m not sure about your experience but, when I was in graduate school, “Clinical” social work was all the rage. There were seemingly few students who chose the “Family/Community” tract. I even remember getting a few confused looks from other students when I confessed that I was in the “Family/Community” tract! Mental health was (and is increasingly, still) all the rage. Advisors and students alike would tell you, “That’s where the jobs and money are”. There concerns were justified. The term “mental health” was everywhere and those who provided mental health services were in demand from schools to hospitals, to prisons, and everywhere in between.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t second guess my decision at times. I even did an internship with a community mental health agency. But, ultimately, I decided to stay in the family and community tract. For me, it was important to understand how families and communities worked. With that knowledge, I felt I could take my career in any direction I so chose. And, I think I was right! What I’ve learned is that career tracts in school are great for helping you establish a career philosophy and a lense through which to see the world. They are not, however, the end all and the “be all” of your career decisions. As, I mentioned earlier, I recently began my supervision for my clinical (mental health) license (By the way, you can usually qualify for supervision and to sit for your clinical license no matter what tract you chose in school- though there are often some on-the-job requirements so make sure you check your states list of qualifications). I did not know, in grad school, that my career journey would lead me here- to more clinical work- but I’m glad it did. And nothing that I learned in my Family and Community tract was a waste. I’ve been able to use it all to inform my current job and I’m sure I’ll continue to use my education in my future (hopefully as an LCSW!) career! Next month, I’ll get deeper into what clinical supervision actually looks like.