Nov 23 2016
Maybe when you were younger, you had a burning desire to change the world. If you dismissed it as your own naivety, then perhaps it’s time to unbury it and let it out for fresh air as you decide on a future career choice. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a vocation in which you can positively affect both individuals and the larger community. Consider becoming a conflict resolution specialist, or pursuing some of the newer expanded possibilities in the social work field. Once you’ve received additional education, you’ll be more ready to step into a new, meaningful role.
More Conflict Resolution Professionals May Be Needed
If you’ve heard of mediation or arbitration, chances are good that the person charged with working out the dispute was a professional conflict resolution specialist. Individuals with these skills may be in higher demand per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS predicts that employment in the field could grow by as much as 9 percent by the year 2024. That’s a much faster rate than average projected job growth over the same period.
Earning a master’s degree in the discipline is a vital step to finding employment. To that end, many higher learning institutions are either creating or retooling their conflict resolution curricula. One example is Abilene Christian University (ACU), which offers its Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation through its distance education platform. While professional mediators use the skills that they learn in these programs, the resulting degree may also open the door to other occupational options such as human resources, counseling, activism and social work.
Not Your Grandparents’ Social Work: New, Meaningful Occupations
The core ideologies behind modern social work trace their roots back to the 19th-century founders of this field. As social conditions, technologies and laws change, so do the variety of issues that social workers seek to address. Ensuring that educational programs shift along with the times, institutions such as Case Western Reserve University discuss innovative new career options. New realities are calling for new forms of leadership, so graduates from Master of Social Work or Master of Science in Social Administration programs might find themselves working as a public policy advocate, or a diversity and inclusion manager.
Things to Consider When Returning to School
Like any other investment, funding your education will require some careful planning. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll want to start with the financial aid department of the school that you’ll attend. Begin by filling out the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) and make sure you gather important documents to help you complete the process. It also doesn’t hurt to find out if your employer has a tuition reimbursement program, and if you qualify to receive funds from it. Finally, don’t discount scholarships and grants. Many of these have unique eligibility specifications, so inquire with financial aid.
Don’t Give Up Doing Good
“Bloom where you’re planted” is a common axiom, and you want opportunities to do exactly that in your career. Social work and conflict resolution are both fields that are ripe with possibilities to invoke positive changes. Earning an advanced degree is one key to seizing new opportunities, so starting your schooling now is a wise idea.