Master's in Social Welfare Vs Social Work

Both Master of Social Welfare and a Master of Social Work programs prepare students for social work careers. This article discusses a comparison of these programs as well as careers for which graduates may qualify. Schools offering Addictions & Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Master of Social Welfare vs Master of Social Work

Master of Social Welfare

Master of Social Welfare programs typically take around two years to complete, but may have advanced standing options for students with an undergraduate degree in social work or social welfare. Entering students should have a bachelor's degree and may need a specific undergraduate GPA and some prerequisite coursework in statistics and behavioral sciences. These programs contain coursework and required field practicums in various social welfare settings and may allow students to choose a program concentration such as child welfare, communities, and mental health. Courses included in social welfare programs may include research and statistics, social welfare policy, foundations of social work, and human behavior. Graduates of social welfare programs may qualify to work as social workers in roles such as child protective services, family resources, and mental health therapy.

Master of Social Work

Master of Social Work programs prepare students for practice in social work through coursework and significant fieldwork, and enable students to choose a concentration area such as family, mental health, and children. Entering students are required to have earned a bachelor's degree, which may be in any field, but those with a degree in social work can often take an advanced standing route to their degree. Traditional social work programs consist of around 60 credit hours, and advanced standing tracks (where available) typically consist of 30 to 40 credit hours. Many social work programs include courses in social work policy, social justice, research, diverse populations, human behavior, and psychopathology. Graduates are prepared for a variety of roles in social work as well as careers such as behavioral and mental health counselors.

Degree Program Program Length Program Requirements Related Careers
Master of Social Welfare 2 years *undergraduate degree *Social Worker
Child and Family;
Resource Coordinator
*Child and Adult Therapist
Master of Social Work 2 years *undergraduate degree *Social Worker
Child and Family;
School
*Mental Health Counselor

Master of Social Welfare and a Master of Social Work Jobs and Salaries

Child, Family, and School Social Workers

Child and family social workers may help families apply for assistance such as food and housing as well as protect children from unsafe environments. School social workers help students succeed academically and socially by working with students as well as parents, teachers, and school administrators. Graduates of both social work or social welfare programs may qualify to work in these positions unsupervised and may have an added advantage if they focused their program in children and families or school social work.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Mental health and substance abuse social workers assist clients who may suffer from addictions and/or mental illnesses. They may provide referrals to support programs, consult with clients, and manage client cases. Many of these positions are considered clinical social work positions and require applicants to have a master's degree in social work or social welfare.

Social and Community Service Managers

Social and community service managers direct community groups and social service programs and may also manage social service providers (including social workers). Duties vary with specific positions but can include overseeing administrative operations, assessing program effectiveness through data analysis and applying for program funding. Some positions require a master's degree in fields such as social work or social welfare, and most also require some experience in social work related careers.

Social Work Teachers, Postsecondary

Postsecondary teachers who teach at community colleges often need at least a master's degree in their field of teaching. Graduates of a social work and/or social welfare program may be qualified to teach students in social work subjects. The specific duties for teachers may vary but typically include creating lesson plans, grading rubrics, instructing and advising students, and may also include research and curriculum development.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors may provide counsel, advice, and referral services to people who suffer from behavioral and mental problems as well as those suffering from addictions. These roles typically require a master's degree for unsupervised practice as well as applicable experience. Although both social work and social welfare programs provide applicable knowledge and practice, graduates who focused their studies in mental health or a similar area may be the most qualified for these positions.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $46,270 7%
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers $44,840 18%
Social and Community Service Managers $65,320 13%
Social Work Teachers, Postsecondary $68,300 8%
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $44,630 22%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master of Social Work and Master of Social Welfare programs are very similar. Both programs may typically be completed in about two years and prepare students to work in the social service sector through courses and fieldwork.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Louisville

    Campus Locations:

    • Kentucky: Louisville
  • Howard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
  • University of Connecticut

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Storrs