LPN to social work or RN?


  1. Should I go to school for RN or social work?

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      Social work

1 member has participated

I became an LPN in 2013, and I have not exactly fallen in love with nursing. I want to do something I have passion for and I have always wanted to go to school for a masters in social work. That was my plan before I became an LPN, but now I am wondering if it is worth it.

I already have a TON of student loan debt, as I was undecided on a major, took out huge loans. I have two years of college gen Ed credits which I'm sure will transfer to the university of my choice. However, I am wondering if going through all those years of school and putting myself into more debt will even be worth it.

I HATED nursing school and I cannot imagine going through it again to become an RN. I feel like I would enjoy the social work studies much more. However, I don't know if the salary for a entry level social worker will be worth the years of schooling it will take. I know the job options are probably much less than the options for an RN.

I know there are many areas to explore in nursing but I feel like I just want to get out. I work in home health and don't hate my job now but would like to do something more challenging that interests me more.

I don't know if I will stay an LPN, become an RN or go the social work route. I feel so lost at this point in my life because I want to have a profession that I love. I don't know if that's asking too much, if I am just being naiive by wanting more fulfillment.

Any thoughts?

JustBeachyNurse, LPN

1 Article; 13,952 Posts

Specializes in Complex pedi to LTC/SA & now a manager. Has 13 years experience.

Entry to practice for social work is a master's degree. That's a lot of school and cost for education


4 Posts

It's definitely hard to venture out of nursing once you've invested so much time and money into it. I do think that the amount of nursing jobs far outnumber the amount of jobs in social work. If you're able to get into an RN bridge program at a community college, that could be completed possibly without inquiring any further debt. Maybe you should explore other RN possibilities? Maybe you'd like critical care if you're looking to be challenged more. If you like speaking with people and helping others, maybe you'd like case management? I have a good friend who works as a RN for a major insurance company and says this is the first time she truly feels like she's been able to help patients.

There are a lot of options when you are an RN, that aren't available to LPNs. Personally, I just couldn't handle adding more and more debt to change careers. However, if that's the only way you think you will be happy, I guess you have to. Best of luck!


185 Posts

Specializes in School Nursing.

I am an LVN. I wanted to try something other than school nursing- so I tried a job at a drug/rehab type program. My main duties along with nursing was some social work type stuff. It didn't work out for me, but I am glad I tried something different. Maybe check with your local area for a job close to that line of work, just to see if it is what you like.

Good luck

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

If money is a concern, I have met some social workers who were educated at the masters degree (MSW) level, yet earned less than many LPNs/LVNs.

Becoming a social worker would entail a staggering amount of tuition dollars with the potential of a steep pay cut.

Specializes in Psychiatry, Community, Nurse Manager, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

You are qualified to do social work as a nurse. Plus, you get paid more for it.

Don't go to school for social work. Get a social work type job right now.

If you want to do therapy, go for the psych NP.


351 Posts

Has 31 years experience.
If money is a concern, I have met some social workers who were educated at the masters degree (MSW) level, yet earned less than many LPNs/LVNs.

Becoming a social worker would entail a staggering amount of tuition dollars with the potential of a steep pay cut.

Absolutely, what TheCommuter said. We have MSW's where I work, and they earn less than the LPN's. I know this may not be your only concern, but it's something to consider.

Good luck with whatever you decide!


84 Posts

Specializes in Long Term Care; Skilled Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

If you feel you're not interested in nursing, definitely go into a field you're passionate about. Social Work and Nursing are both wonderful fields and there are differences in salary, duties and many other things.

Clearing some errors:

1. Entry level social work being a Masters; Most states have Bachelor level social workers. I'm currently getting my Bachelor of Social Work at this time. To be a hospital social worker, most places do require a Masters Degree, but a lot of programs within hospitals will hire BSWs as well as county agencies, nursing homes, and non-profit organizations. Our training is in that of a generalist practice and that allows us to do quite a bit.

2. Nurses are qualified to do social work. They may work in case management, but there is so much more to social work than case management. Social Workers obtain licensing/certification that requires boards and different education than that of a nurse. Also, their case management is a bit different than that of a social worker.

Good luck with whatever you choose. Both are admirable fields and necessary in the health field.

Has 10 years experience.

Ditto I haven't fallen in love with nursing either. Not my first day of lpn school or my first day of clinical. I stuck it out because the army was investing their time and money in me. Plus it pays the bills. I struggle with the whole fulfillment angle too. You are definately not alone. But at least you know this now. I received my lpn back in 1996 and waited till now to pursue something i enjoy. I do know that the social workers at my job get paid less than the lpns.