Masters Social Work (MSW) programs prepare students to assist families, children, and people with disabilities with overcoming daily problems and serious conflicts. Graduates of these programs are also trained to identify at-risk youths and adults, so they can advocate for their best interests within the educational and legal systems.
Social Work Education and Training
Applicants who wish to join MSW programs are typically required to have a Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) or closely related area from an accredited university. However, many schools also accept applicants with Bachelors or advanced degrees in sociology, psychology, and other related fields. The expected grade point averages (GPA) of new entrants vary between schools, but an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 will usually suffice. Some schools also require their applicants to submit scores from the Graduate Record of Examination (GRE).
Graduate students typically take a range of courses covering research methods, welfare policies, and professional practice. The courses a student takes will depend upon their area of concentration. Common concentrations include individuals, families, and groups; organizations and communities; child welfare; mental health; gerontology services; and management and planning.
Students can expect to gain an advanced knowledge of psychology and hands-on experience during a work placement. To obtain the MSW degree, students must complete two years of full-time graduate study and an internship at a school that has been approved by the Council on Social Work and Education (CSWE).
Careers in Social Work
Graduates of MSW programs can obtain employment in hospitals, schools, government agencies, family services, and care homes. Jobs in this field are highly demanding, since most workers will be working directly with children, terminally ill patients, people with disabilities, or at-risk adults and children to help resolve issues relating to abuse, housing, homelessness, serious illnesses, and drug abuse.
As populations continue to grow, the demand for skilled social workers is poised to increase rapidly, providing graduates with stable job opportunities in schools, hospitals, care homes, and the legal system. With an MSW degree, graduates can qualify for jobs in medical, educational, and clinical settings as well as community agencies. The masters of social work degree programs lead to careers in human and social work. Graduates with a masters of social work online or campus degree work in child welfare, gerontology and other sectors.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Growth
Typical entry level positions pay between $25,000 and $34,000 annually. However, MSW graduates may be able to command higher salaries ranging from $29,000 to $35,000. The current median salary for all workers is between $31,000 and $52,000, with the higher end occupied by those who have several years of professional experience.
Professionals who work for elementary and secondary schools, hospitals, and local governments usually earn considerably more than social workers who are employed by outpatient facilities, family services, and substance abuse facilities. The pay gap between these workers ranges from roughly $10,000 to $20,000 annually.
The number of jobs available in this field is expected to grow by 16% by 2018, which is higher than the national average. The fastest rates of growth are projected to occur in geriatric, mental health, substance abuse, and public health services. The number of jobs in rural areas is also expected to increase drastically. Unlike BSW holders, Masters of Social Work graduates will have access to the full range of jobs, including careers in schools and hospitals. Many employers outside of schools and hospitals are increasingly requiring their job applicants to hold at least an MSW degree.
Social Work Programs
Founded in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national public research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher learning.
Home to more than 58,000 students from all 50 states and 125 different countries, Rutgers’ mission is to prepare students to become productive members of society and good citizens of the world. That’s made possible by a faculty and staff of over 13,000 members, which includes an Abel Prize winner, Guggenheim Fellows, MacArthur “Genius Award” Fellows, Pulitzer Prize winners, and many more.
- Online Master of Social Work
- The Master of Social Work (MSW) program offers four concentrations: Advanced Clinical Practice, Military Social Work, Social Work in Healthcare, and Social Work with Children and Families.
- The MSW coursework is offered online, with two in-person Social Work Skills Labs to prepare for real world application and state licensure.
- Students may choose from three completion options: Standard, Accelerated, and the Advanced Standing option for students with a BSW from a CSWE-accredited program.
- Master of Social Work - General Program
- Master of Social Work - Addictions
- Master of Social Work - Children, Families, and Couples
- And more...
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
- MSHUS- Organizational and Social Services
- MSHUS- Family and Community Services
- MS in Human Services
SocialWork@Simmons is an innovative, online Master of Social Work program offered through the Simmons School of SocialWork, the nation’s oldest school of social work. Complete your MSW in as little as 15 months with this CSWE-accredited program. No GRE required.
- Master of Social Work
The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.
- Master of Social Work
- Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
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- M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy
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Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.
- Certificate in Trauma
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