What Do You Want To Do With Your Social Work Degree?



The question I get asked most often is what else can I do with my social work degree. I don’t want to do therapy, I don’t know how to get into macro social work, I am burned out, and don’t want to work with this population anymore, what else can I do with my social work degree?

Social work is expansive and diverse. You can do anything that you want to do with your social work degree because your social work skills are highly transferable. What do you want to do?

“Nicki, that’s the problem. I don’t know what I want to do?”

Many people don’t know what they want because they’ve been discouraged from dreaming and told to select something safe and practical. Others don’t know what they want because they haven’t been exposed to certain things. Still others don’t know what they want because they have been guilted or shamed into playing small and warned not to be greedy.

We don’t subscribe to any of that over here any longer!

  • You can do work that feeds your heart, mind and wallet.
  • You don’t have to be overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated.
  • You always have the option to change course. Try it and if you don’t like it try something else.
  • You deserve to be celebrated and supported.

Let’s use the 3 pillars in my Strategic Career Management framework as a sample to help you answer the question. Strategic Career Management is the lifelong process of investing resources into your career to maintain or increase your value in the workplace, undertake work that is personally satisfying, strive for work/life balance, and achieve financial security. My pillars are clarity, credibility, and congruency.

  1. Clarity (lack of knowledge) – Know your triggers
  • What are you interested in or enjoy doing?
  • What is it that you don’t want to do?
  1. Credibility (lack of belief) – Confidence + competence = credibility
  • What do you do easily or do well?
  • What are you complimented on or regularly asked to do?
  1. Congruency (lack of alignment) – Honor your unique journey
  • What are your professional needs and desires?
  • What are your personal goals and values?

When I say that you can do anything with your social work degree that you want, you can only achieve it if you believe it. Let’s take this a step further. Ask yourself what you believe is possible for you and available to you. That might be worth journaling about.

REMINDER: Sometimes you need to work more on your mindset than your skillset.

DOWNLOAD: Social Work A to Z Lists

If you need or desire additional support and encouragement, APPLY to my On My Terms leadership coaching program to move beyond the limitations and misconceptions of the social work profession and step into your power as a leader and trailblazer.



Nicki Sanders, MSW, supports high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing careers that feed their hearts, minds, and wallets. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams, volunteer recruitment and retention, and social impact programming. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.

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