Have you been asking yourself: What can I do with an MSW degree? What are the professional possibilities open to social workers?
As the phrase implies, social workers almost always work extensively with other people. While they can play a wide variety of roles in a good number of settings, there are some key skills required to become a successful social worker. These include empathy, an interest in helping people and the ability to communicate well. Many in the profession are also interested in social justice.
Most professional social workers have MSW degrees. However, there are some positions open to those who have a bachelor’s degree in social work. These jobs tend to pay less, to involve less responsibility and to include fewer options for career advancement. For example, a support person at a shelter for runaway teens might be a person with a BSW.
While in school for an MSW degree, students are required to select a certain specialization. The most important decision is whether to focus on the macro or micro level of social work practice. The macro level involves the larger social picture and focuses on broad patterns. The micro level focuses on working directly with clients in one-on-one or small group settings.
What Can I Do With An MSW Degree At The Macro Level?
Social workers who specialize in the macro level have a broad range of career choices. They might work to advocate for certain social policies. They might find themselves helping to manage and implement new programs for a non-profit agency. Some also choose to use their skills and expertise to start their own organizations. One final possibility is to work as a community organizer and attempt to facilitate and empower an oppressed group creating their own desired changes.
What Can I Do With An MSW Degree At The Micro Level
The roles available to social workers who choose a micro level specialization tend to be more focused. Many of the jobs in this arena involve mental health counseling. In most states, social workers with an MSW are authorized to provide psychotherapy.
Social workers can provide counseling in a wide range of settings though. Some work in private practice, either or their own, with other social workers or with a group of other mental health professionals. Some work in mental health clinics funded by state or county governments. Hospitals, nursing homes and other residential institutions often hire social workers to serve as support staff for their clients.
Micro level social workers can also work as case managers for social service agencies. In that role, they are responsible for helping individuals to understand their needs and the resources available to them. They may also be tasked with staying in regular contact with clients in order to measure their progress and connect them with appropriate professional supports.
What Can I Do With An MSW Degree In The Field Of Research?
Social workers of all types can be involved in research. Social work is an inherently interdisciplinary field. As such, researchers can examine everything from the effects of policies on various communities to the usefulness of specific interventions in a mental health context.
An MSW degree is one of the most versatile degrees available. There are almost as many answers to the question “What can I do with an MSW degree?” as there are people asking the question.
Related Article: Do I Need A Master’s In Social Work?
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