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Masters in Social Work

Students studying to pursue their Masters in Social Work explore theoretical and practical ways to solve complicated social problems. Admission requires the completion of a relevant undergraduate degree, such as psychology. Some courses you may take include human behavior, racism, social change, social work practice and social policy. In addition to this general coursework, you will also be required to complete a hands-on component like an internship or seminar. The entire purpose of the program is to help students better understand the issues in their local community and the tactics for solving them.

Social workers take a certain caring personality. If you are interested in helping others and solving problems, but feel you do not have time to further your education, you can realize the possibilities by exploring the option of taking online classes. You can complete courses on your own time and at your own pace when you have the flexibility of independent study.

Graduates of Social Work Master's Programs are prepared to fill counseling positions to aid in solving the emotional issues of cultural minorities, children, adults and families within the community. Their job titles can consist of social workers, counselors and therapists. You may choose to specialize in a particular area like mental health, substance abuse, and neglected or abused children. You will be required to have licensure, certification, or registration to become a social worker. This process can take two years or 3,000 hours of clinical experience. Based on reports released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field of work is projected to increase in need by about 18% between 2008 and 2018. As of 2008, a graduate from a master's degree program in social work could expect to earn about $40,000 annually.

Additional Social Work Grad Schools

Washington University at St. Louis The Master of Social Work (MSW) usually is offered with several areas of specialization; at Washington University there are five: the MSW in Children, Youth & Families, MSW in Gerontology, MSW in Health, MSW in Mental Health, and MSW in Social & Economic Development. Field placement in a social services agency or nonprofit program consumes much of the second year of the two year program.

University of Chicago offers the MSW with just two areas of specialization. The MSW in clinical practice prepares students for counseling roles; the MSW in Social Administration focuses on program management and advocacy. There are several choices for program enrollment: the full time day program, part time day program, 15 month accelerated program, and extended evening program.

Case Western Reserve University refers to their master's program in social work as a Masters in Social Administration. Regardless of the title it is one of the well-known programs in the nation and meets all of the social work licensing requirements for the State of Ohio. Areas of specialization include Community & Social Development, and Direct Practice, which offers further specializations in such areas as drug & alcohol counseling, children & families, adult mental health, and aging social work.

University at Albany is one of the flagship campuses for the State University of New York (SUNY) and offers social work programs in the nation. This program also has two primary areas of specialization; the MSW in Clinical Practice or the MSW in Organizational Management, which is also known as MACRO: Management Efficiency, Advocacy and Empowerment, Community Building, Resource Development, and Outcome Evaluation.

Fordham University offers MSW program in two locations, with campuses in Manhattan and in West Harrison, NY. There are two basic academic tracks: the MSW in Clinical Studies which trains students for working with individuals and groups, and the MSW in Administration which focuses on program management and policy. There are also specific specializations for work n Children & Families; Substance Abuse; Social Work & Law; Older Persons and their Families, and Global Service.

Social Work Professional Associations

National Association of Social Workers is a large organization with a national office and fifty six chapters across the country. The organization offers continuing education through online webinars and publications, operates a research foundation and has an extensive online library of current materials.

Clinical Social Work Association provides informational support and a networking platform for clinical social workers, the professionals who provide sixty percent of the mental health treatment in the U.S. Information on practice innovations and such issues as malpractice insurance is available on the website.

Society for Social Work and Research was founded in 1994 as an advocacy body for research in the social services field. The organization collaborates with other research bodies providing support for research initiatives. Many of the members are faculty at various schools of social work; the membership is drawn from 45 nations.

American Counseling Association is a national organization of counselors and counseling educators. They offer a number of educational options including podcasts and publications. There are four geographical divisions within the organization and state chapters within each division.

Social Work Accreditation

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation as an accrediting organization for undergraduate and graduate degree programs in social work. It is the primary accrediting agency for social work education in the U.S.

Association of Social Work Boards is an organization of state licensing agencies for professional social workers. Every state requires licensure for social workers; many have several types of licenses. This organization tracks all of those licensing requirements and any reciprocity agreements that may exist between states.

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) accredits counseling education programs at the university level and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation for this role. Counseling licenses that overlap with social work may require a degree from a school with accreditation from this body.

Academy of Certified Social Workers is a certification body established by the National Association of Social Workers in 1960. This does not replace a state license, but rather provides a credential from the nation's largest organization of professional social workers that is available to applicants with at least two years' postgraduate work experience.

Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education is a body established by the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy for the purpose of accrediting graduate programs leading to the MFT master's degree. It is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.

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