You can work and remain gainfully employed as a social worker with a bachelor’s degree. However, if you wish to really further your career and work in a clinical setting, then a masters in social work (MSW) degree is essential.
Through a master’s degree, you can specialize in a particular area and even advance to clinical settings. If you’re ready to advance your social work career, then it’s time to hit the books again.
Here are some major benefits of going back to school for a master’s in social work.
1. You Can Specialize
A masters in social work degree will help you move from a general grey area of social work into a very specific work setting. And it doesn’t have to be clinical!
You can transition into a career as a substance abuse counselor or a school counselor. You can become a family social worker and help family units overcome their major challenges.
Our Lady of the Lake’s online MSW is one of only three social work master’s degree programs in the country with an emphasis on service to families and children in the Hispanic community, the fastest-growing demographic nationwide.
Learn more about OLLU’s online MSW >>
It’s not required to specialize when you graduate from a master’s social work program. However, it will absolutely help you blaze a trail towards the exact form of problem-solving that you’re interested in.
2. You’ll Be Ready for Clinical Work
Perhaps you are someone who has always dreamed of owning their own social work clinic. Maybe you’d like to practice independently someday. A master’s of social work degree will set you down the right path towards both of these goals.
Through a masters in social work degree, you will be a qualified professional ready and able to become a licensed clinical social worker. Though it might take another 24 months to complete, you’ll have the chance to work alongside professionals in the field.
Benefits of Clinical Work:
- You’ll be paid higher because you will have more responsibility on your plate.
- You’ll be able to focus your efforts on helping clients improve their mental health.
- You’ll be qualified to offer clients complete diagnoses.
Through clinical work, you’ll make general assessments and practice a variety of therapy-based techniques. You will be the most qualified person in your field to administer help and aid people in overcoming issues.
In a unique collaboration, Widener University’s Center for Human Sexuality Studies and The Center for Social Work now offer an MSW/MEd dual degree. This is the only dual-degree program offering Clinical Social Work and a Human Sexuality focus, allowing you to pursue graduate education in both areas.
3. Money, Money, Money
As mentioned, you will be paid higher. This is a fantastic incentive for getting a masters social work degree. Salaries for clinical social workers will open the door for a much higher salary than a general social worker.
As in many fields, if you have a master’s behind you-you are simply qualified for higher pay. A social worker in the medical field in a clinical position can bring home around $70,000 a year. One without an MSW degree would only make $50,000 according to the national average.
Social workers are very underpaid considering the kind of work they do and the number of people they help. With recurring high stress levels on a regular basis, they still only bring in a median income of about $43,000 a year.
Most social workers enter the field because they are passionate about helping other people. However, with your master’s you can certainly make a little more money.
4. You’ll Gain More Skills – Inside and Outside of the Curriculum
While studying for a master’s degree in social work, you aren’t just being prepared for a career in social work. You are also developing life skills that will come in handy later on.
You can learn skills that you’ll be able to rely on for the entirety of your career and personal life. Moreover, you’ll sharpen your communication skills. Your verbal and written communication abilities will improve too — this is especially true if you choose an online modality for your degree. (For example, most online courses require weekly discussion posting so you will have to learn to communicate via chat room instead of being able to verbally make a point. Working in groups with team members across the country also requires additional planning and organization.)
When getting your masters social work degree, you will learn how to better organize your life and your time. These skills will send you speedily down a path to career success.
The degree will also help you deal with the emotional rollercoasters and the stress that you’ll encounter during your time as a clinical social worker. Basically, you’ll become mentally stronger and ready for challenges.
5. You’ll Gain Experience
It sounds cliche, but you will truly gain invaluable experience in the field with a master’s degree. You’ll acquire the skills and expertise needed to deal with emergency situations and greater responsibility. You’ll enrich your own life and the lives of others through your experience.
Most programs will require you to complete a certain number of intern hours in a professional clinical setting. You will most likely complete your practicum hours in a government agency or a clinic. This will provide you with a hands-on experience that you’ll only get while pursuing your master’s degree.
A masters social work degree will instill professional work experience in you before you ever even hit the field. You can use this to impress your future bosses and wow them during interviews. With your knowledge, you will certainly land a secure and good job right after graduation.
6. You’ll Be the Best Candidate with a MSW Degree
The truth is, a master’s degree will help you get ahead.
As you finish your studies, you will have gained one of the biggest benefits from getting your masters: you’ll be the best choice. With this degree, you will open doors professionally that would never have been opened before.
From education institutions to administrative responsibilities and hospitals, you will have your pick of jobs. It will put you a step ahead of other candidates competing for the same position.
The online Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) at Winthrop University incorporates a powerful approach known as empowerment practice. This approach involves promoting social justice through affirming the strengths and capabilities of people, valuing human diversity and implementing system changes at the micro, mezzo and macro levels.
Once you’ve taken the test and have become a licensed professional, you can slowly start moving up the ladder while boxing the competitors out. You put in the time, now you’ll get to reap the benefits.
7. The Social Work Field Is Expanding…
The world of social work is increasing with new positions and people confronting financial hardships. There is an increasing need for social workers. Finding a job in this area is better than it has been in years past.
Some are even calling social work the 21st-century law degree.
With your degree, you will be able to fill new positions and grow with the needs of the booming industry. There will never be a shortage of work in this field.
8. Fulfilling Work
Social work: an industry built on the principle of improving the lives of others. It’s a vast and challenging field that deals with a wide range of human issues.
Each day spent helping another person is a good day. And the work you’ve chosen to do with your life is good work. Sure, you will come home a little stressed, but you’ll rest easy knowing you are doing your best to help others.
With the most experience, studies, and knowledge in social work, you can change the field for good. Everyone looks to those who have the most experience in their field. Especially with your masters social work degree, you will be in positions to influence the lives of both adults and children. Furthermore, you’ll feel fulfilled as you help general social workers down their path to helping others.
9. Trophy Time
Getting a master’s degree in any field is a huge achievement. It takes quite a bit of commitment, self-discipline, and effort to get where you want. However, once you have it, you will be glad you put the work in.
For many people, getting a master’s degree comes down to a more fiscal decision. However, the cost-benefit analysis will bring different results for each individual. It also depends on the degree in question.
Consider programs that cover some or even all of the tuitions costs associated with the degree. There are grants you can qualify for as well as other scholarship programs. These will help you get the level of education you are seeking.
You will have conquered a massive feat and personal goal. Once you have a masters social work degree, you’ll feel as if you can do anything.
For more tips on advancing your career in social work or learning more about a specific path in social work, check out our career page.