(Closed) Social Work majors? Starting all over again …

posted 7 years ago in College
Post # 3
1829 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

@tangledupinzen:   I’ve had my MSW since 2003 and honestly, I would advise relocating to wherever you need to go to obtain your Master’s as opposed to a Bachelor’s in SW.  I’m not sure about all states but I know when I went through, we were told that you pretty much need to have a master’s degree to do most types of social work, particularly if you plan on advancing up through the field some day (i.e. becoming a senior worker, team leader, or manager).  Also, a MSW is much more versatile in that you can go into pretty much any branch of social work without an issue – school, hospital, mental health, counselling etc.  From my understanding (and again, I have no knowledge of Texas, I’m from Illinois), BSW allow you to do the grunt work of social work but you can’t really move up from there.

Also, regardless of the degree, I think once you have a bachelor’s, any further degrees you pursue should be master’s or higher, not another bachelor’s.  It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to do another bachelor’s degree and won’t be recognised as much in terms of salary negotiations, seniority, or even in terms of making you a standout candidate.  

I’ve done school social work in the US as well as child protection social work in the UK and Australia.  It is quite a rewarding field but it is very easy to become burned out, especially if you’re in a high stress field like child protection.  You definitely want the qualifications to move up through the system so after a few years of being a front line worker, you can seek out promotions and get out of the high stress arena.  

Social work is definitely a great field to get into – no two days are ever the same and it can be quite rewarding, but has an equal, if not greater, number of heartbreaking days, so just be prepared for that.  There’s nothing more heartbreaking than removing a newborn baby from its mother’s arms to place it into foster care, after you’ve worked your butt off to try and help her get her life together, but then there is nothing better than seeing a family who is able to stay together because you’ve busted your ass getting them the necessary supports to function as a normal family unit.   Like I said, it’s a great job and never boring! 

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.  I left social work to get into teaching with a not for profit for two years and am now a stay at home wife whilst expecting my first baby with my husband, but after 6 years in the field, I think I have a pretty good grasp on the pros/cons of it!  Good luck!

Post # 4
3798 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Hi! I graduated with my BSW in 2009. I am going to be going back to grad school soon (hopefully within a few months!) for a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy.

I’ve been working for almost 3 years now, and when I look at job postings on occasion, they all want a Master’s. I would just go for it – a lot of Social Work programs are fairly short and some schools do advanced standing, which means you can get the Master’s in less than 2 years (it might even be one year, I forget!). You will have a lot more options that way, and more freedom to move around in the field.

@Ree723:  BSW allow you to do the grunt work of social work but you can’t really move up from there. Very true. I was lucky enough to land a job in admin after 2 years of grunt work, and I know that if I ever leave here, I need a master’s first. I was just lucky…otherwise I’d still be doing the BSW level field work that after a while totally burns you out.

Post # 6
448 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

It sounds like you’ve made your decision, but I just wanted to throw my two cents in. I’m currently in a program to get my MSW and it is amazing. Darling Husband and I relocated to a new state and it has been totally worth it!

Previous posters are right- the standard in SW practice is now a master’s degree and you’d have a hard time finding a job and moving up with only a BSW. You’d end up probably going back for your master’s anyway.

Good luck with applications and keep us posted on what happens! 🙂

Post # 7
1458 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

I just applied to three MSW programs in the DC area.  I graduate undergrad in May with a psych degree, and hopefully I’ll be accepted into one of my schools! 

@Ree723:  Your post made me both so nervous yet SO EXCITED with my MSW decision.  It was hard going from psych to SW, in that I really enjoyed psych work, but I realized that anything I wanted to do (school counseling, mental health counseling, govt work) I could do with an MSW and have it be so much more marketable than a psych MA.

I don’t mean to derail this threat, but what branches of MSW are you guys in? Clinical, macro, etc?

Post # 8
448 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@GoldfishPie:  I chose a clinical concentration, health/mental health. My primary area of interest is perinatal loss and bereavement.

Post # 9
568 posts
Busy bee

i looked it up because i was curious about the licensure. http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/socialwork/sw_forms.shtm.

most states do this, my state does. but a licensed bsw isnt worth much. all it means is you have your bachelors degree and you’re licensed to do bachelor’s level social work. most people in my state dont even bother.

you really want to work towards your lcsw–and for that you’ll definitely need an msw.

if you dont get into the program, dont get your bsw. that’s a waste of time—taking 101 courses again!???

just fab up your msw application and reapply–more experience in the field, solid rec letters, and a solid gre score.

you could work p/t in a group home picking up overnight shifts on the weekend, or volunteering for a crisis line for the experience. also try applying for social work jobs now, especially pt case management. a lot of it is paperwork–progress notes, monthlies, plans, etc–so if you’re a good writer, they’ll love you.

good luck!

Post # 10
305 posts
Helper bee

get your masters.  a bsw is worth no more than your ba in english in the social work field. you could actually get a social work type job with your current degree if you applied.  speaking of, while you are getting your masters, get a job in the social work field. that way you will have experience, which is paramount and will only enhance your msw.  msw with no experience = starting level job that you could have right now….good luck!

Post # 11
667 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Hey I’m getting my BSW right now! You’re gonna have a lot of learnin’ to do. Everyone is correct in getting you’re masters, I am just worried you won’t know what the heck is going on.  I would start by reading the NASW code of ethics. Study up on human development, social welfare policy, and human behavior. I can recommend some books  I’m using in my undergrad so you can teach yourself some stuff.  

Keep us updated!

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