Social work is an essential profession that ensures communities are having their needs met. It is also a field that is experiencing rapid growth to meet the demands of a changing society. If you’d like to fast-track your career and become a licensed clinical social worker, here’s why you should pursue a master’s of social work (MSW) degree right away.
MSW Degrees Provide Valuable Practical Experience
To become a clinical social worker, an MSW degree is required along with at least two years of supervised clinical experience. The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University offers three distinct social work concentrations in its Online Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA, equivalent to an MSW): Community Practice for Social Change, Direct Practice – Mental Health with Adults, and Direct Practice – Children, Youth, and Families. As a part of the Mandel School MSW curriculum, students are required to do Field Education, or field study, in a social services agency. You can receive placement in organizations that pertain to mental health, children and families, alcohol and drug addiction, aging, health, and community development and engagement. Some students even perform Field Education at their place of employment.
The Mandel School innovated the Ability-Based Learning Environment (ABLE), a model for social work education that employs field work as an integral part of both academic and practice experience necessary for social workers. Students will receive both supervised and direct practice experience in evidence-based environments that includes hands-on experiences and seminars, and so much more that must be done outside the classroom.
Massive Job Growth
Social work job growth, particularly for clinical social workers in the healthcare sector, is strongly outpacing other careers. Social work jobs are expected to grow by 12% by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Community development and social service organizations, hospitals, and clinics will be experiencing strong demand over the next decade, driven by the fact that a significant portion of the American population is aging. These organizations need high-quality social workers that can ensure seniors who are aging in place or may be unable to care for themselves are receiving the vital services they need. Communities also continue to evolve and face new social and public health concerns, and social workers are the problem solvers that these communities will need.
In addition to healthcare and government agencies, there is also a myriad of career opportunities for social workers in schools, mental health clinics, nonprofit organizations, and other settings.
According to the Association of Social Work Boards, you need a Masters in Social Work (MSW) plus two years of post-MSW direct clinical social worker experience in order to become licensed as a clinical social worker. You may be licensed as an advanced generalist social worker if you earned an MSW but have two years of supervised, not direct, experience. All 50 states require licensing of social workers and the most opportunities are available to licensed clinical social workers and advanced generalists. An MSW degree is pivotal to reaching these opportunities as well as meeting each state’s individual requirements to become a social worker.
Case Western Reserve University’s accredited MSW online program will prepare you for a fulfilling career as a leader in social work. Our experienced faculty has dedicated years of their lives to the field and is ready to usher in a new generation of highly-qualified social workers ready to serve their communities.