5 Areas of Concentration for a Master of Social Work Degree

If you’re interested in pursuing your Master of Social Work degree, then it’s important that you take the necessary time to fully explore the various concentrations that are available in this field. Most students confirm their primary choice of concentration in the first semester of their beginning year, and your courses and field placements during your second year are determined by this choice. There are five major areas of concentration that you may consider, and here is a bit more information to help ensure that you make the best choice for your education goals.

1. Children, Youth and Family Services

This concentration prepares students to utilize evidence-based approaches to encourage the healthy function of children and families across a diverse population. Your course study and field placement will teach you the proper ways to assess each individual and effectively address the critical needs of children, youth and families. Students who embrace this particular concentration will qualify for careers in child protective services, the juvenile and family courts and various public and private child welfare agencies.

2. Adulthood and Aging

Students can expect to examine issues that surround adulthood and the aging process from a variety of perspectives that include cultural, spiritual, psychological, biomedical and socioeconomic. You’ll learn to effectively assess the needs of each adult and senior while properly intervening when needed and offering preventative assistance. Choosing this concentration will train you for a career in hospice services, supportive services for family caregivers, adult protective services and the prison system and other community correction programs.

3. School Social Work

This concentration will prepare you to provide proper academic, behavior and mental health services, promote a positive school experience that is conducive to learning and provide access to school and community resources. You’ll be taught all of the specialized skills necessary to allow you to work productively with students, families, school professionals and the community on a daily basis. You can also expect to learn the best ways to utilize creativity, persistence and flexibility to solve a variety of challenges that may occur in a diverse student population.

4. Health Care

Through coursework and field placements, students will learn how to assist individuals who are dealing with a myriad of chronic diseases and other illnesses. You’ll learn effective ways to deal with other health-care professionals to provide patient care while mobilizing a support network on the patient’s behalf. This concentration will prepare you for a career at acute, chronic and long-term care centers, hospitals, outpatient or primary care facilities, public health centers and on home health-care teams.

5. Mental Health

The curriculum for this concentration works much the same as general health care, but students are specifically prepared to provide, coordinate and administer community-based services for individuals and families who are dealing with a variety of mental-health issues. You’ll learn how to assist individuals, families and groups in learning healthy ways to deal with problems of an internal, interpersonal and environmental nature. You’ll also be responsible for services for individuals who are dealing with addictions. This concentration will prepare you for a career at community-based behavioral health agencies, public health centers, out-patient centers and hospitals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all areas of social work are a growing field throughout America. Choose your concentration carefully based on your main areas of concern and interest, and you’re sure to have the opportunity to make a good living while helping others when you graduate with your Master of Social Work degree.