How a Master’s in Social Work Can Broaden Your Career Opportunities
Social work empowers people and communities through advocacy, policy development, and social change. Social workers help ensure that the needs of individuals, families, groups, and communities are met. They help people address social, emotional, and behavioral issues that they are experiencing. Social workers assist people from every background and of any age. Those who are underserved, lacking access to the privileges and resources that others have, are a particular focus of social workers.
What is the job outlook for social workers?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts that between 2021 and 2031, jobs for social workers will grow by 9%. That rate is faster than the average job growth predicted for the time period.1
What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in social work?
If you’ve earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), you’ve taken the first step in your social work career. A bachelor’s degree in social work prepares graduates for generalist work. After you earn your degree, you can pursue work in an entry-level position. But if you’re ready for the next step, a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) will broaden your career opportunities.
What can you do with a master’s degree in social work?
While a BSW prepares graduates for generalist work, a master’s in social work prepares graduates for clinical work, supervisory roles, and for work in a specific field. For instance, with an MSW, you could work in:
- Healthcare organizations
- Government agencies
- Nonprofit organizations
- Advocacy organizations
- Community organizations
- Rehabilitation facilities
- The criminal justice system
- Private practice
With a master’s degree in social work, you’ll be academically qualified for positions such as:
- Substance abuse social worker
- Mental health social worker
- Healthcare social worker
- Children’s social worker
- Family social worker
- School social worker
- Social services manager
- Program manager
- Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)
It’s important to note that in some states, you must be licensed in order to work as a social worker. Many states require you to have an MSW in order to become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), and you may also need to pass an exam or meet other criteria. Note that state licensure requirements vary—for instance, Oklahoma has five different license options for social workers, while California only recognizes the LCSW license. Be sure to determine what state you wish to work in, what licenses are required for the work you want to do in that state, and the steps to become licensed.
What should I look for in an MSW program?
First, be sure the Master of Social Work (MSW) program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Graduation from a CSWE-accredited MSW degree program is necessary for licensure as a social worker in most states, and accreditation indicates that a program has been reviewed and meets educational standards. A program with CSWE accreditation will prepare you to apply ethical principles and critical thinking to social work practice.
Second, be sure that the university itself is accredited. A reputable college will list its accreditation on its website, and you can also search for the college on the accreditor’s website to ensure that it’s valid.
Walden University’s online CSWE-accredited MSW program
Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Walden’s online Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree programs are accredited by the CSWE. Earning a degree from one of Walden’s CSWE-accredited programs academically prepares you to sit for social work licensure exams. The MSW courses are taught by faculty members who are scholar-practitioners with diverse experience working in the field.
Walden’s MSW degree program is online. That means no commuting to campus and no strict class times. You can access your coursework from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection and learn at whatever time of day works best for you. Most of Walden’s students are working adults who are balancing career, education, family, and other responsibilities. Walden’s MSW degree program is designed to enable you to gain work experience in the field while earning your master’s degree in social work.
Walden’s MSW degree program features:
Customized video and written case studies that give you the opportunity to apply current research and best practices to situations that social workers face every day.
Two Skills Labs, which you can take virtually or in person, where you’ll connect with faculty and peers while honing your social work skills.
Field practice experiences that will enable you to work with real clients. You’ll put what you’ve learned into practice under the supervision of a professional social worker.
Five focus areas, allowing you to enhance your knowledge in a specific area of social work:
- Child and Family
You can choose two courses from different focus areas or two courses from a single focus area. You can also add a third course from a single focus area and earn an optional certificate in addition to your MSW.
Three degree tracks: Traditional, Traditional Fast Track, and Advanced Standing, so that you can complete your degree on a schedule that works for you.
Four convenient start dates throughout the year so you can begin your MSW degree when your schedule allows.
Education is the first step in your social work career. Prepare yourself for a fulfilling career helping others. Choose Walden for your online master’s in social work degree program.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Master of Social Work (MSW), Doctor of Social Work, and PhD in Social Work degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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