Masters in Social Work
An online masters degree in social work prepares graduates to help others in a clinical or direct service setting. Clinical social workers provide therapy and counseling to children, men and women, families, seniors and veterans. They often work with other healthcare professionals to provide clients with treatment programs to combat substance abuse, mental health issues or behavior issues clients may be experiencing.
Graduates who chose to work in direct-service settings after obtaining a masters degree in social work online typically work for city, county, state or the federal government providing services to those in need of help. Services offered include assistance with in-home care for the elderly, food stamps, health care, welfare assistance or assistance for the abused. Direct service social workers also create and work with a variety of community programs to help those in need.
Social work is a rewarding career that allows you to help improve the quality of life of individuals, families, or even entire communities. Professionals in the field deal with many problems and situations; they may work to address poverty or deal with abuse and neglect in a home. While this can be very satisfying work, it can also be stressful and challenging. Depending on what area interests you most, there are different types of social work to get into. If you prefer to work with families and children, you can work in family services or even in schools working with children, parents, and teachers, addressing issues in the home or at school. These social workers act as the intermediary between families and schools. Another route you may want to pursue could be in medical and public health, where you will work with families or individuals dealing with illness and disease. The focus of your degree will depend largely upon which area you wish to pursue. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most entry-level social work positions, but earning a master’s degree is essential if you wish to work in health and school settings, or if you have an interest in clinical work. Here you can learn more about these different degrees to find which best suits your needs and interests.
Why a Masters in Social Work
After graduation, the social worker must take an examination to be licensed to work as a social worker. The Association of Social Work Boards is an association comprised of the various regulatory boards that oversee social work across the United States. The standards for the examination were jointly developed with help from the American Educational Research Association, the National Council on Measurement in Education and the American Psychological Association. Students will take an exam based on practice experience and education. The five categories of examination include clinical, advanced generalist, masters, bachelors and associate.
Masters in Social Work Courses & Areas of Study
The curriculum for an online masters degree in social work doesn’t differ strategically from that of a regular master degree in social work except for the student studying classwork online instead of on-campus. Graduate students are often asked to choose the track on which they desire to focus: clinical or direct-service. Most students typically choose the clinical track, but more are opting for the direct-service focus today. Direct service often involves working with a variety of community or governmental programs. Students take classes in human behavior and modification, social work, social policy, human biology, general psychology and more. After graduation, students who get jobs in government might undergo additional training offered by the specific agency.
Masters in Social Work Career Opportunities
The job outlook for those in social work is expected to grow faster than the average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS reports an expected growth rate of 25 percent from 2010 to 2020. “Growth will be due to an increase in demand for health care and social services but will vary by specialty,” states BLS. This means that many new jobs will open up for students pursuing a social work degree. This includes jobs in the private as well as the public arena.
Online Masters in Social Work Degrees
The benefits the graduate receives after receiving an online masters degree in social work far outweigh the rigorous coursework and study that can take up to two years. Some colleges and programs offer accelerated results and students who wish to hunker down can complete their masters degree in as little as 16 to 18 months. Most programs, however, are two year programs that also include internship requirements. While students can certainly be licensed as social workers after obtaining a bachelors degree, more job opportunities are available to those who have received a graduate degree. A bachelors degree prepares students for many entry-level positions, while the graduate with the masters may receive a position at a higher pay grade.
Masters in Social Work Education & Admissions Requirements
Obtaining a masters degree in social work begins with the student receiving an undergraduate degree. Some students receive a Bachelor of Social Work degree, but many colleges don’t make this particular degree a requirement to receive a masters degree in social work. In fact, many colleges accept students with a bachelors degree from a variety of liberal arts programs. For undergraduate degree coursework to apply toward a masters degree in social work, the student must have attended an accredited college. The undergraduate has many options to choose from, as there are currently over 200 accredited programs including masters degree in social work online programs and programs that require physical attendance on campus to obtain a master degree in social work.
Masters in Social Work Accreditation
Attending an accredited school is important when the graduate wants the work they do to count. It also is beneficial when taking the AWSB examination. An accredited school must meet curriculum and quality standards in order to be accredited. The accrediting body for the field of social work is the Council on Social Work Education CSWE. Accreditation is first obtained by the school, and then some of its particular program tracks or coursework may also be accredited. There are more than 700 schools and programs from baccalaureate to in-candidacy programs recognized by the CSWE currently. When searching for a masters degree in social work online or a master degree in social work, make sure that the school has the proper accreditation.
Top Ranked Social Work Degrees
When looking for a college or university to obtain your degree, take into consideration what top rank institutions have to offer. Top rank schools cost more but they also set a higher precedence for your education. By obtaining a Social Work degree from a top rank institution, your degree program is automatically validated as being of superior quality. The Master of Social Work program is offered by several top ranking institutions in the country, as substantiated by the U.S. News and World Report for 2012. By choosing this degree from one of the high ranking schools, you can obtain a world class education to enhance your future.
Social Work Professional Organizations
Many professional organizations exist for social workers depending on the focus of the social work, religious or cultural background. Professional organizations focus on continued education, networking and updates to practices and more. Some of these organizations and associations include the National Association of Social Workers, the Clinical Social Work Association, Latino Social Worker’s Association, the School Social Work Association of America, Clinical Social Worker Federation, Association of Oncology Social Workers and many.