Career Possibilities With a Masters in Social Work

Social work is a very rewarding field that allows you to help improve the lives of others. And while you can find jobs with a bachelor’s degree, most advanced positions in the field require you to have a master’s degree. In the United States, it takes two years in a master’s degree educational program plus 900 hours of fieldwork to complete a masters in social work. While earning this type of degree takes time, after you do, you’ll be eligible for a number of great jobs in the social work field and will have the opportunity to work in a number of rewarding positions. Let’s take a look at some of your career possibilities with a master’s degree in social work.

Social Work Specialties

At the master’s degree level, many students opt to specialize in one area of social work. Some colleges offer tracks, tailored for people to pursue a specific specialization, but even if your school only has a general social work program, you can take classes and pursue an internship in the specialty that most interests you. Some of the most common specialties include:

  • Clinical/direct practice
  • Advocacy
  • Policy analysis
  • Human service management

When you graduate with a specialty, it is often easier to find a job in that field.

Working with Clients

The direction your career takes often depends on the type of clients with which you want to work. Some of your options include children, families, senior citizens, mental health patients, and veterans. Even in an educational, advocacy, policy analysis, management, or research position (rather than in a clinical role), you typically will work with a specific type of person or group of people. This is up to you and what type of position you are most interested in pursuing.

Combination Degrees

When you earn a master’s in social work, you also have the option to go through a dual degree program or combination degree program. In this option, you’ll be preparing for a broader range of career possibilities when you graduate. For example, you could double-major in social work and law, which better prepares you to work with policy or give legal advice when working with patients. The combination degree is also a good option if you’re coming to social work from another field, like business or non-profit management. With most dual degree programs, they allow you to complete two separate degrees simultaneously in less time than it would take you to complete them both independently. This is another way to make yourself stand out in the field as well as to qualify for a wider range of jobs.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to stop at just earning a master’s in social work. While this is considered a terminal degree for those who want to practice in the social work world, you can also earn a doctorate if you want to take on leadership position or are interested in a job in academia. Most students who pursue their doctorate in a particular area are interested in becoming experts in their field, teaching at the collegiate level, or want to get into more in-depth research. This again depends on your career goals and interests.

Most Popular MSW and MPA Degrees

Completing your Master's in social work or public administration can be very rewarding for getting ahead in the social work field. Online Master's degrees are perfect for working professionals or people with families to complete course work at their own convenience. Please see our colleges below that offer online class for MSW degrees.

University of Southern California — To become a successful social worker, one need look no further than the University of Southern California Master of Social Work program. The curriculum will both develop your leadership skills and enable you to influence the world around you for the betterment of your local and global community.

Walden University — The Walden University MS in psychology - social psychology provides the chance to gain real world experience as a social worker. These experiences can be gained from a community agency, a healthcare setting, an educational agency, or a social services agency.

Our Lady of the Lake University — Our Lady of the Lake is a private, Catholic college located near San Antonio and is one of the few colleges offering an online program for a Master of Social Work degree. This program focuses on social services leadership and advance direct practice with an emphasis on service to Hispanic families and communities.

Capella University — The MPH in Social & Behavioral Sciences from Capella University features a dynamic public health curriculum. Graduates are prepared for positions in social work, public health or social welfare organizations. A MS in Social & Community Services furthers your ability to influence positive change in your community.

Saint Leo University — With Saint Leo University's Masters of Social Work online program, students can quickly advance their careers from the convenience of their home. This program can be completed in two years and is an inexpensive choice for working students. Saint Leo's online programs are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Kaplan University — The MPA program at Kaplan University offers a curriculum whose classes will help you create a positive effect on social and ethical issues. Through interactions with staff, faculty, and your peers, the degree will prepare you for careers in social work, public administration, and public management.

Post University — The Masters of Public Administration program from Post University focuses on the private and military sectors in addition to the public sector usually covered by other MPA programs. While students interested in social work will learn the administrative and organizational skills needed for their career, this broad focus can help improve their versatility and even job prospects.

Click here to learn about more Master of Social Work colleges.

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