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Why Social Workers Should Consider Getting a Master's Degree

Obtaining a Master of Social Work degree only requires two years. You may apply for MSW programs with a bachelor's degree in any discipline, although related degrees to give you an edge.

Students pursue courses at home while they continue working part-time. Required practicum or internships can usually be completed within the student's own communities.

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Introduction

You love being in the field of social work, but you feel like you've approached a dead end. Getting more education is one way of advancing to higher level positions, but you don't want to spend years pursuing a doctoral degree and writing a dissertation. A Master of Social Work degree may be the right option for you. Once you have the MSW, you can pursue careers ranging from administration to counseling and community organizing.

Obtaining a Master of Social Work degree only requires two years. You may apply for MSW programs with a bachelor's degree in any discipline, although related degrees such as sociology, psychology or political science give you an edge.  If you already have a Bachelor of Social Work degree, you may only need one additional year to obtain an MSW. You may decide to return to school full time to obtain the degree faster. 

MSW Careers

Obtaining an MSW in clinical social work allows you to pursue a career as a therapist. Many MSWs open their own practices and see individual clients. Others work with social service agencies or with governmental offices. Specialties in substance abuse counseling, school guidance counseling or hospice counseling are all possibilities with an MSW.

If you're interested in a career in medicine, but don't want to spend six years pursuing a medical degree, an MSW can prepare you for a career as a trauma specialist. Trauma specialists are often assigned to hospital emergency rooms, but may also work in cooperation with police stations to deal with cases of domestic violence.

If you're interested in improving your community, an MSW can prepare you for a career as a community organizer. Community organizers deal with issues both large and small, with possibilities for advancement. In one very famous instance, a former community organizer became President of the United States of America.

Part Time or Online Enrollment

Many MSW programs require full time enrollment, and either working or obtaining financial aid to support yourself while you obtain a degree. This is the fastest way to obtain an MSW, but it isn't your only option. MSW programs frequently allow students to pursue part time enrollment, taking classes during the evenings or on weekends.

Online courses are also a possible avenue. The National Association of Social Workers offers a catalogue of online courses, webinars and other educational content through its website. Each course is accredited by the NASW and members can pursue courses at discounted prices. You may be able to include NASW online courses to fulfill one or more requirements for MSW courses.

You may even pursue an entire degree online. Highly regarded universities like the University of Southern California School of Social Work have created online master's degree programs with the same course requirements as those offered on campus. Students pursue courses at home, while they continue working part-time. Required practicum or internships can usually be completed within the student's own communities.

In the past, online students were often considered second-class citizens when compared with on campus students. This is no longer the case. For instance, at the University of Southern California, online students are eligible for financial aid, and earn the same degree as students who pursue the MSW on campus. If you are interested just check out social work courses Malaysia .

Sarah Rawson is an avid researcher and freelance writer. She has recently been researching various online Social Work degrees and contributing her findings to various career orientated blogs.

Image: unboundbirth.com

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