A Social Work Career Later in Life

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Thank you for encouraging others. I was awarded my MSS at age 60, my LCSW at 62. Most of my work has been focused on supporting cancer patients and caregivers, as well as geriatric patients in interdisciplinary settings. Returning to get my Masters and this new career - best decision ever!

Kath 33 days ago


I stumbled across your page by accident. I am 60 years old and in my second year of the Social Work program at Ryerson University in Toronto, ON, Canada. I had previously taken Sociology courses but felt I needed a program that was more job-focused. I will be 62 when I graduate with my BSW. I am hoping to attend grad school afterwards but am not 100% sure of which area I wish to focus in. I was very touched to read your story and those of the others. Congratulations to all of you!

Katherine Stewart 40 days ago


Thank you so much for sharing this! It really changed my perspective!

Alicia 66 days ago


I'm so glad I read this article and the comments! I will be 50 in November and am in my 2nd year of college with aspirations of having a masters in social work by the time I am 55. This gives me hope and encouragement! Perhaps some of us could stay connected with each other for continued encouragement throughout our journey!

Lisa 152 days ago


I thought I was too old to start at 48. Glad I discovered this article.

Michele 13 days ago

Never too late

Hi Ms.
Hi Ms. Babrove. I loved your article. I am 67 years old and going into my advanced year in the Social Work Master's program at Wayne State University in Detroit. I am very excited about this because for one thing retirement will never be on my radar and second I see it as a whole new beginning to a brand new chapter in my life. I have been working in healthcare for 30 years, mostly in psychiatric hospitals and I have to admit that I wish I had done this a long time ago but on the other hand, the new start is very invigorating. I don't feel my age at all and I'm told that I don't look anywhere near 67. I guess those are both plusses. Anyway thanks for the great article. I really connected with it. I'll be looking to reading more from you. John Lynch

John 278 days ago

Thank You

I'm glad that my article was meaningful to you, John. I wish you the best. It sounds like your next chapter will be a fulfilling one for you and that you will help many people along the way. Phyllis

Phyllis Babrove 266 days ago

mature student

I will be 54 but intend to work within social care for many years and i bring with me vast life skills not only through personal experiences but also as a foster carer.

shaz 278 days ago

foster carer looking to train as a social worker

Hi Shaz. I'm 37 this year and am debating training as a social worker in the future. I've been a foster carer for 8 years. Did you feel your experience as a carer carried merit in your application to train as a social worker?

Michelle Thomas-Troake 24 days ago

To Michele

Michele, I don't know if Shaz will see your question, but I think any such experience would be considered positive.

SocialWorker.com 24 days ago

Adult learner

I too am a later blooming student. I went back when my twins were sophomores in high school. Now I am almost 2 years of completing my bachelors while working full time.

Alicia Sefcik 278 days ago

Another non-traditional student

I am 45. I will be graduating with my BSW at 47. I also have a learning disability. It's good to see some positive and empowering words about being an older student. Thank you. I really needed to hear this.

Gayle 279 days ago

I'm a non-traditional, too!

I had never gone to college. I had my son at 47, and when I turned 50 I decided to give college a try. I just graduated this past May at the age of 55 earning my Masters in Social Work. Living proof that, "it is never too late"

Louise DeCosta-Bacher 279 days ago

Even older

I am older student. Sometimes I feel like giving up but this has encouraged me tremendously. Presently I am about to finish my Bachelors degree at the age of 54. I hope to continue to get my Masters.

Karen Marshall 279 days ago

A Social Work Career Later in Life

I am 51 and graduating with my MSW. Don't give up! I spent my life raising kids. Now it's my turn! I forget how old I am sometimes.

Kelly 9 days ago

Older Student

I was 45 when I started college for the first time! My husband, who I had planned to grow old with and travel, died over a year before I started to school. My children were almost grown and I needed to look out for my financial welfare. I achieved two Associate Degrees (Office Systems Technology and University Parallel); a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, two Master's degrees (Masters of Education in School Counseling and Masters of Science in Social Work), one Education Specialist Degree (Administration and Leadership) and eventually my Doctorate of Education in Counseling Psychology. I surprised myself with going as far as I did but have no regret that I did. I worked on both Master's degrees at the same time traveling for two hours one way four nights a week. I did my doctorate degree at a university in Florida traveling 12 hours one way every six months. I got a School Counseling position when I was 51 yrs. old and presently after 14 yrs. still working on this job ... I hope to work four more years in this position. I worked part-time at a Mental Health Hospital as a psychotherapist for 10 yrs while still working as a school counselor. My husband and I have a private Christian Counseling Service (Appalachia Christian Counseling) and hope to work at this for many more years to come. It is never too late to achieve your dream if you want to. I do not want to seem as if I am bragging since I give God the credit for giving me the strength and energy to go to school and to work toward the degrees I mentioned above. I feel God has brought me this far and He had this work for me to do! My first husband died with HIV/AIDS that he contracted through HIV/AIDS contaminated blood products for hemophilia. I was exposed to this disease numerous times with unprotected sex since we did not know he was infected with HIV/AIDS until 10 yrs. after he apparently was infected (another story of a cover-up by government and pharmaceutical companies). Somehow God protected me and I did not contract this horrible disease and I feel God had this work for me to do in which I plan to keep going as long as I physically can. I hope to help many people through counseling that are going through difficult times and tragedies in their own lives. God blessed me with a wonderful husband three years after my first husband's death. My present husband is a minister and felt that his ministry was more in the counseling field ... when we got married and he moved to my area he attended a Christian university in the area and acquired his degree in Christian Care and Counseling in his older age (he is a year older than me). He is a licensed professional counselor and presently does seminars at conferences. We pray God will give us many more years together to work with our clients who needs help tremendously. Hope this will encourage others to go for your dream no matter how old you are! Thanks, Dr. Joyce Lawson Noto

Dr. Joyce Lawson Noto 279 days ago


I have been a full time teacher for 15 years, but have recently felt drawn to the social work field. Its hard to consider giving up what I have done for so long, and hard to consider the financial investment of going back for a degree. Thanks for your article. Difficulties as there may be, I can't ignore the part of me that wants to grow.

Christina 279 days ago


I got MSW at 52. Halfway through I had to take time off to care for my elderly dad, until his death, but I I got back the next year and finished. Best decision ever.

Deb Hereld 279 days ago


thank you for this article. I went back to school at age 51. I received my associates in 2011, bachelor's in 2012. I will be receiving my MSW in August of this year, i will be almost 58! I am a little scared. I know that I can do the work but i hope that a company will open to hiring me for my first social work job. Like you I wasn't planning on being a social worker. I wanted to be a counselor but a speaker came to my school and I realized that I have always been a helper and I want to be able to do just that. Thanks again for the article.

Vanessa 279 days ago

Yes yes yes!

I will be 61 in July, and I have a Ph.D.. And I am starting the ASU Online MSW program in August! I am so excited and can't wait to get started! Thank you so much for this validation!

Doe Daughtrey 279 days ago

A Social Work Career Later in Life

How great is that! I go to ASU and am just finishing up my MSW.

Kelly 9 days ago

Even older

I'm 63 and just finished my MSW. Thank you for posting this article.

Melissa Hubbert more than 1 year ago

With Appreciation.

I sincerely appreciate this piece, because in the next couple of months I will be a 48 year old BSSW graduate.
Recently I've been wondering if my age will be a deterrent in me finding a job, however I am still going forward on Faith, in the Fall I will begin my graduate studies. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
With Appreciation

Rhonda Glasgow more than 1 year ago

In Masters Progam with Young uns.

I am so glad I read this story. I am in my second semester of my Masters of Social Work. I have a bachelors in Sociology and completely loved that study but have always wanted to be a social worker.
Lately, I feel so out of place because I am always the oldest in the class. Most are in their 20's or very early thirties. I am 46. I have recently been wondering if I am too old to start this dream of mine. Your story really helped me know I am not alone in this and there are others out there.

Pam more than 1 year ago

Another Older student

I am also an older student in a sea of younger students. I stayed home with my children, and started my undergraduste degree when the youngest started college. We even took a course together! Today I am 53, in a masters in clinical psychology program, and I am thinking that an MSW may be the way I want to go (instead of a PhD or PsyD in psychology). I find it hard, sometimes, to be the one student in the room that is old enough to be everyone else's parent. I have children older than many of the students. It is also hard to be starting a career so much later than my fellow students. I appreciate this article and the related comments--it Is nice to know there are others out there grtting a later start and doing well with it.

Laura V more than 1 year ago

I'm with you!

I am just finishing my BSW, the doing the MSW two year part time advanced standing program at 52 currently! There are challenges, but also so many good things that come with our life experiences! I know I will be able to make a difference in my "short" time I serve. You too!

Dan more than 1 year ago

Keep going

Hi Pam, I'm 52 and graduated with my masters three years ago! I felt the same but embraced the age differences. I still meet for occasional lunches with these young woman. Keep going...you'll be glad you did. Best wishes 😊

Lisa more than 1 year ago

Update on career path

Hi, I am in my mid 50's and thinking of taking a similar career path. I have a masters in business administration. Would you mind sharing how this profession has been for you since you started your job? I am very interested in helping people but what are the difficulties or challenges you've encountered so far and was it easy to land a job after you graduated? Did you have choices and how soon were you working? Thank you !

Lisa 87 days ago

Social Worker's Heart

I did somewhat of the same thing. Started college when I was 35, going through a divorce and learning how to be a single mom. It took 11 years from a HS diploma to LMSW, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was my "correct path". I have worked for Head Start, a small mental health agency doing home visiting and now I am in a FQHC working with all ages. I am nearing retirement age now, and still don't want to quit. Maybe I won't! Have been considering private practice as an option. I think I would be very bored NOT helping people...after all, it is my passion. Bless you for following your Social Worker's Heart and helping to create change in the lives of people!

Adele more than 1 year ago

Thanks for the encouragement!

I am 45 and in my first semester of graduate school, having finished my BA 23 years ago. Sometimes I have to fight off feelings that it's too late. I appreciate your story!

Deb Farnsworth more than 1 year ago


Thanks for sharing your story. I started in Social Work later in life as well and can relate to others. Please continue to inspire others. Best of luck!

David J. Ortiz more than 1 year ago

True professional

I had the pleasure of working with Phyllis at several schools. She has always been a true professional, has helped many many people, and I wish her the best in retirement.

Jeanue more than 1 year ago


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