(Closed) Masters in Special Education or Social Work??

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 3
368 posts
Helper bee

Those are both awesome professions. I’m in education, so I am of coursed biased, but I love it. 🙂 The idea of having summers off is definitely great if you want kids – just keep in mind that your salary will reflect that (although I doubt people in SW are making much, either).

Both professons are emotionally as well as intellectually demanding, but I think social work is considered by most to be slightly more emotionally draining. Other bees can chime in with their opinions. Teaching can be draining, too, of course, if you don’t take care of yourself. [Both of these professions have a high probability of you getting burned out early, so whatever you do, choose something you truly love and take good care of yourself while you’re doing it.]

I just finished an MAT program, and one of my best friends is getting her MSW at the same school. My program was pretty rigorous (although not painfully so) and made me feel challenged. I LOVED the other students in the program, too – they were all so talented and wonderful. She, however, often remarks that her program is NOT intellectually challenging, and feels like many of her classmates should not have been admitted to the program, for academic and/or personality reasons (a lot of them show surprising animosity toward groups that they will probably have to serve, which is disturbing). I’m not sure if that is just how things are at our university, but I’d look into issues like that to make sure you find a program that’s a good fit for you.

I would suggest that you shadow someone who works in each profession. Since you already have observed some people working in special ed, you probably have a good idea of what that’s like – although you might want to try and shadow in a traditional school as well, and see what sheltered and collaborative classes are like there, since it will be different from a special ed-only school.

Then, I would contact an MSW program and see if they could arrange either for you to meet with a professor or practitioner to interview them about what the profession is like, or arrange a shadowing opportunity for you. You could also do this if you already have friends or contacts who are in social work.

Hope This Helps. You can PM me if you have any questions about education – I have a degree in ed admin & policy 🙂

Post # 4
151 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I am also in Education – and I would recommend social work. Not because I don’t love what I do, but I am unsure of the long term labour market. There is a surplus of almost everyone in education, and the conditions for workers and students are not being maintained. I have a friend who did her MSW and she skipped alot of the pain we do in education, and she still is able to work with kids and make a difference (and she works within the government system)


Just my two cents:)

Post # 6
1434 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2010

@Lilly74:  I know you asked this so long ago and I hope you’ve made a decision you’re happy with:) but if not, here’s my input:

I am a social worker (MSW) with my master’s concentrating in health. However, in your situation, you could do a win-win and get your master’s specialized in school, education and counseling. I know that in my state you cant work in a school as a social worker without a lisence in school social work. So, it seems like a great option for you. Social work+education all in one master’s degree. Look into it! I got my health specialty from MSU in Michigan but I know for a fact they offer specialities in education & counseling children as well.


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