Earning a Masters in Social Work degree prepares you for leadership roles in developing and providing services to individuals, families, groups, communities and organizations. If you recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree and are considering a career that offers you the chance to make a difference in the lives of people in need, a Masters in Social Work (MSW) might be the next step on your career path. Social workers play a crucial role in assisting disadvantaged individuals, families and communities with problems related to mental illness, poor health, unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse, child neglect and other complex social issues.
MSW programs are designed to prepare graduates for advanced social work practice in clinical settings and social service agencies. Students in MSW programs develop the advanced skills needed to perform clinical assessments, manage large caseloads, understand the importance and requirements of a supervisory role, and draw upon social services to better serve the needs of their clients. They also learn strategies to develop and administer programs and develop social policy.
A bachelor’s degree in social work is not required for entry into an MSW program, but a background in psychology, biology, sociology, political science or a foundation in the liberal arts is recommended. And while a bachelor's degree is sufficient for some direct-service, licensed clinical social workers and other advanced positions require a master's degree.