Lifehacker’s Career Spotlight: What I Do as a Social Worker

We all like to think that we do what we can to make the world a better place and help people in need, but some people choose to make a career of it. Social workers labor tirelessly to help those who need it, without much glamour or glory.


To learn a little of what the daily work of a social worker is like, Lifehacker spoke with Kate Abramson, who currently works with the Lung Cancer Alliance.

Tell us about your current position and how long you’ve been at it.

My name is Kate Abramson. I have been a social worker for seven years. At the start of my 7th year—lucky seven—I joined Lung Cancer Alliance as the Support Services Manager.

What drove you to choose your career path? Why social work?

Ever since I was a child I had that clichéd desire to “help people.” My parents were very active volunteering with social service agencies when I was younger. When I found out that a big aspect of social work is advocating for those who don’t have a voice and working on their behalf to make positive change happen in their lives, I knew this was the path for me.

How did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need? Did you need any licenses or certifications?

Most social workers have a Masters in social work from an accredited school. Each state has its own individual licensing exam and process. After graduate school, you take an exam to be a licensed graduate social worker (LGSW). Two years later while working in the field under the supervision of a social worker, you take another exam to become a LICSW.

The six years I spent at a community mental health center working with mentally ill and medically compromised individuals prepared me to counsel the types of patients I encounter in my current position; lung cancer survivors and their families dealing with a variety of health issues as they battle a disease.

Continue reading the rest of the interview on

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