What Can I Do with an MSW Degree?

Do you want to help children and adults cope with problems like abuse, unemployment or homelessness? If so, obtaining a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree might be of interest to you. Read on to find out more about career options for MSW graduates. Schools offering Addictions & Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options for MSW Graduates

The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree should prepare you for an advanced position in family services programs, medical and mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers and government agencies. A bachelor's degree in social work, psychology, sociology or a similar major is often sufficient for entry-level positions; however, you'll need an MSW to work in schools, clinics, healthcare settings or administrative positions. You'll also need to complete an MSW as well as two years of clinical experience in order to gain licensure as a clinical social worker in most states. The Association of Social Work Boards has more information about specific licensure requirements for each state.

Important Facts About Careers in This Field

Median Salary (2014) $59,100 (for all other social workers)
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 12%, which is faster than the average for all occupations
Licensure Clinical social workers must have a state license
Similar Occupations Mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists
Work Environment Most work full-time; evening and weekend hours are fairly common

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Family Services

You will likely be required to hold an MSW to work in school programs or family services agencies. In these work environments, you'll provide children and their families with resources to help improve their daily lives. You might be asked to perform advisory duties, such as coordinating conflict resolution workshops or providing clinical assessments of abuse victims. An MSW will also prepare you to train teachers or school officials to identify and work with children dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, emotional stress or truancy issues.

Medical and Rehabilitation Facilities

You'll need an MSW to work in many medical and rehabilitation facilities. As a social worker in such settings, you'll work with people dealing with physical disabilities, illness or disease. You might be asked to provide counseling to these patients and their families, determine the needs of vulnerable populations, like the elderly, or coordinate family support groups.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs

MSW graduates may choose to work in treatment facilities, helping people dealing with mental illness or substance abuse issues. In this career, you might be called on to facilitate group or individual therapy sessions, manage crisis intervention programs and train support personnel. You may also help patients adjust to life after leaving mental health or substance abuse facilities.

Administration and Policymaking

Holding an MSW will prove particularly useful if you intend to pursue a managerial or supervisory position in a social work program. In these positions, you might be called upon to develop social assistance programs that address issues like child abuse, poverty or homelessness. Your MSW will also prove useful in research, policymaking or evaluation of existing social programs.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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