What You Should Know About This Degree
While we’re eager to see more social workers in the field, there are a couple details you should know before pursuing a Master’s in Social Work.
In order to earn CSWE accreditation, every program requires fieldwork experience – at least 900 hours of it if you don’t have a background in social work. If you’re in a traditional 9-5 job, you’ll need to check with your employer and degree program to make sure you have time to fulfill your fieldwork requirement. While the 900+ hours are spread across the entire program, they are almost guaranteed to take place during standard business hours.
Your Master’s in Social Work will prepare you for licensure at the macro-level in most states, but if you want to work primarily with individuals (micro-level social work), a MSW is only the first step. The next step is at least two years of supervised work experience before you can be licensed as a clinical social worker. Clinical social workers can establish their own practices and provide therapy to individuals, unlocking some of the higher income brackets for social workers and providing specialized care.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Online MSW programs:
- Does this program offer the specialization I’m interested in? This depends on your personal career choices. If you’re not sure, reach out to individual professors to ask about the nuances of each specialization to determine whether it’s the right path for you.
- Does my home state authorize this school for online education degrees? State authorizations vary both by state and by degree program, and not all states recognize the authority of others to administer online education. Be sure to research this subject thoroughly before applying to a particular program.
You must also consider how you will finance your education. We recommend that you research options such as scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and tuition reimbursement from your employer.