MSW Bees – What do you do for a living?

posted 8 months ago in Career
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  • Post # 2
    303 posts
    Helper bee

    Where do you live? I am in Ontario and i have an MA in sociology and work in social services. Its tough because a lot of the jobs i wanted required an MSW (so that also had me considering going back to school) but the salary doesnt seem to match the level of education they were asking for in a lot of counselling roles. Ultimately i secured my current job without needing an MSW (im a caseworker in a government org) and make about $70k/year. I regularly look at Counselling jobs that require an MSW and none of them seem to surpass my current salary so i havent felt the need to go back at this point. I work with a few MSW’s- one recently quit to go to actual counselling (my job is more advising not counselling) and she took a pay cut but now shes doing something she loves more. So it depends on your priorities in my opinion in order to decide if its worth it. 

    Post # 3
    1188 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2018 - Location

    Not me, but one of my friends is an MSW. Most of the jobs she’s had so far have not been particularly well paying (like 45ish). Like PP we’re in Ontario and unless you get a job with the government, school board, hospital, etc the pay isn’t great and you usually won’t get good benefits or a pension etc. Those jobs are hard to come by!

    Post # 4
    379 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2015

    I highly recommend the MSW.  I’ve had so many different jobs and have enjoyed different elements of them all.  Right now I work at a university and love it!

    Post # 5
    409 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

    I have a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice: Forensic Crime Scene Investigation and I also have a Paralegal Certificate. I currently work as a legal secretary, I wouldn’t say I regret it, but yes I am looking for something better since I know I am qualified for so much more. Also, I do plan to go back for my Masters one day, however now is not the time since my Fiance’ and I are planning our wedding.

    Post # 6
    248 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2020

    I have my MSW and am licensed as an LCSW.  I work at the VA and absolutely love it.  To be honest, when I first got my MSW I worked in a lower paying job with terrible benefits (I did love the work), but I wasn’t sure that I made the right choice because education is expensive and I wasn’t making a lot.  Of course no one goes into the field to make a lot of money, but it does get upsetting knowing that you have a master’s degree with low pay.  But, I am happy that I did get my MSW as that does seem to seem to be a preferred degree for a lot of social service type jobs at least where I am.  Also, working toward your clinical hours for an LCSW opens up a lot of doors as well.  The VA pay and benefits are great, plus I feel the VA really values the social work profession.

    Post # 8
    42 posts

    I have my MSW and work with elders doing mostly therapy in the healthcare field. I absolutely love it. First off, you work with amazing ppl. Social workers are awesome! The pay will come but maybe not at first. I tried a couple of positions before being happy with this one. Feel free to pm me if you want any more info. I am a career changer and sat on this decision for about a year before I pulled the plug and went back to school. 

    Post # 9
    119 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: June 2018

    I’m working on my MSW currently. I have my BSW and the jobs are extremely limited and low paying where I live. Some postions that are full time having starting rates of $19,000/yearly or 10.00/hr. I really enjoy my MSW program but it does require two years of an unpaid internship that is part time. I am working full time plus school and my internship. I was hestinate to spend more time and money on my master’s because it’s a lower paying field but I’m hopeful I’ll find something great when I’m done. 

    Post # 10
    425 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: January 2019

    I just have my BSW but know quite a few people with their MSW. Some are therapists, some do school social work (in my state a masters is required for that), some work in behavioral health at the hospital, and some just do regular social work jobs like case management and stuff. 

    Post # 11
    2 posts
    • Wedding: June 2013


    I have my MSW (I graduated this year) and I work in a nonprofit mental health agency. Currently, I work in a unit of the agency that is a federally mandated crisis line. However, soon I will also be working at a local hospital through my agency too doing mental health assessments. I love working in mental health.

    I’m so glad I got my MSW. Exactly like you said, it offers a lot of flexibility career wise that is hard to find with other professional degrees. However, if you get an MSW and work with this degree, you will be a social worker, regardless of if you are doing a traditional social work job or not. We have a pretty stringent professional Code of Ethics. (They will teach you all about this in an MSW program!)

    If you are interested in doing therapy, I strongly recommended an MSW over an Master’s in Counseling. Not only is it often more preferred by insurance companies now (aka more jobs), if you burn out there are lots of other areas of social work.

    My other pieces of advice are to research MSW salaries in your area. The best way of doing this is honestly to talk to people rather than looking online (the data is often wrong, I’ve found.) Strongly strongly strongly encourage you to pursue the most affordable (accredited) MSW program you can go to. Nobody cares where you go as long as the program is accredited and you are building a resume. You really will not see a financial return on going to a more expensive program. Finally, after getting an MSW, the best way to advance your career and make more money is to begin the clinical licensure. It’s a lot of work, but it’ll pay off!

    if you have any questions, let me know! It’s a really fulfilling field as long as you go into it accepting there are limitations sometimes to what you can do.

    Post # 12
    141 posts
    Blushing bee

    I have my MSW and I am licensed. It is true that you can work in a wide range of fields and I have done that but primarily in the role of a social worker or a counselor, so I can’t really speak to working in administration or something else with an MSW. I do regret my decision and I am looking at nursing school currently. I am in PA and most of the MSW positions I have seen are in the 40-50 range unless you are in private practice.

    Post # 13
    32 posts
    • Wedding: August 2019

    MSW bee here! I got my MSW in 2016 and am a licensed LCSW, working toward my LICSW(so so close!) An MSW truly gives you the flixibity to work in so many swttings with so many populations usually with a pretty smooth transition   . I started out at a mental Health agency and have been working at a methadone clinic for almost a year now! It’s tough work but I love my job. Methadone, and substance use in general, is known for being high risk/ low reward, but that makes every success that much more meaningful. Don’t regret it in the least. (:

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