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The Worth Of A Social Work Degree

By Rachel L. West
The Political Social Worker

What is the worth of a social work degree? In a new article on Social Work Helper, Deona Hooper looks at the return on investment of a social work education based on the students chosen career path.

If your aim is to be a clinician then an MSW is a great return on investment. For example, here in New York, an LCSW can be obtained within six years after graduating from an accredited MSW program. In this state an LCSW has parity with a clinical psychologist and psychiatrist (side note: only a psychiatrist can prescribe medication).

To become an LCSW  you first must obtain the LMSW.  You can take the LMSW exam right after graduation. You will then need three yeas of supervision in which time you must gain experience in diagnosis, psychotherapy, and assessment-based treatment planning. Bear in mind that a psychologist and psychiatrist would need to obtain a PhD or a medical degree, respectively, in order to practice independently as clinicians.

Deona mentions in her article that if your goal is to work in community practice might not be the best option. She compares the MPA, MPH, and MBA to an MSW in macro practice.

You can read Deona’s article here on Social Work Helper.

This discussion relates to an article I posted a couple of days ago about the ethical use of social media by macro social workers. In that article I mentioned the importance of social work embracing technology and moving forward to adapt new guidelines for the use of social media in practice. My argument was that not doing so puts community practice social workers at a disadvantage because other community practice professionals were learning about these things in their course work. I called for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to make technology part of the social work curriculum.

On Sunday March 23rd at 3:00 PM (EST) Social Work Helper will host a live Twitter Chat on the proposed 2015 EPAS. The CSWE is currently accepting feedback on the draft for the 2015  EPAS and Social Work Helper is hoping to get info from this chat about changes social workers want to see made. You can participate in the chat using the hashtag #SWHelper.

photo credit: shiladsen via photopin cc

Posted by Rachel L. West

In addition to being the founder of The Political Social Worker blog, I am a consultant. My consulting practice offers advocacy and community outreach solutions to nonprofits, social good organizations, and private practitioners. Additionally, I offer career coaching to macro social work students and professionals.

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