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Job Opportunities for MSW in Direct Practice Graduates

Friday, September 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Earning a master’s degree in social work is challenging but exciting. Once complete, your degree will give you a boost toward your ideal career. While some social work and human service positions require only a bachelor’s degree, the majority of job opportunities that involve direct practice in social work require a master’s degree.

Benefits of a Master’s Degree in Social Work

Bachelor’s degrees in social work prepare graduates to go on to earn an advanced degree, so they typically provide a general social work education, including the theories and practices necessary to the field. However, a Master of Science in Social Work (MSW) degree offers the practical knowledge and hands-on experience social workers need to truly advance their careers and practice. As a result, employers are much more likely to hire someone who has earned an advanced degree such as an MSW.

In addition to improving your job prospects, a master’s degree in social work gives you additional experience and advanced tools that will be useful to you in your career. This means you can be more confident in your abilities and better serve your clients.

After completing your MSW degree program, you will be able to work with clients struggling with a variety of problems, including medical complications, mental illness, poverty, unemployment, criminal records, addiction and interpersonal conflicts.

A master’s degree in social work will also increase your potential salary. According to the National Association of Social Workers’ 2009 Compensation & Benefits Study, “Those who did not progress beyond a BSW typically earn $15,000 less than their colleagues with an MSW.”

Family & Children’s Social Services Agencies

If you love working with children, then direct practice in social work at a family or children’s social services agency may be an excellent fit for you. Child welfare agencies such as Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) are always looking for competent and compassionate social workers with advanced degrees.

Working for a children’s or family social services agency affords you the opportunity to make life-changing differences in children’s lives on a daily basis. You will be able to provide protective services to children at risk of abuse or neglect and provide parents with access to parenting classes, addiction counseling, anger-management classes and financial support services that can dramatically improve family life.

Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

Social workers are also in high demand at substance abuse treatment centers. Direct practice in social work can give you the opportunity to work with adults and teens struggling to break free from addiction. Substance abuse social workers often work in rehabilitation facilities, juvenile detention facilities, non-profit organizations, prisons and private practices. Overcoming addiction is a challenge that requires a great deal of support. With a master’s degree in social work, you can help clients overcome legal, family and health problems in exchange for a better life.

Health Services Organizations

Public health services organizations serve large segments of the population and, as a result, always need social workers. Public health social workers work in hospitals, affordable or free clinics, hospice programs, home healthcare organizations, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Social workers in health services organizations serve as patients’ advocates, they help patients understand their conditions and treatments, and they connect patients with valuable resources and services that can facilitate the healing process.

Mental Health Programs

Mental health is gradually gaining more attention in the media and in the eyes of policymakers. This means more local, state, and federal funding is going toward helping mentally ill citizens. New and growing facilities need dedicated social workers who can help people struggling with mental health disorders. A master’s degree in social work will prepare you to manage mental health cases compassionately and efficiently. This may involve connecting patients with trained mental health professionals, providing moral support and counseling, facilitating groups, and providing case management to ensure at-risk patients take their medications and attend appointments as necessary.

As a social worker, you can expect a career characterized by countless opportunities to improve others’ quality of life. With a master’s degree in social work, you will enjoy more job opportunities and higher earning potential. No matter where your passions take you, your master’s degree in social work will carry you through.

Learn about UTRGV online MS in Social Work — Administration an Community Practice programUTRGV online MS in Social Work — Direct Practice program


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