thoughts on Social Work PhD degrees

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DadMike in Maryland

38 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: What exactly do Phd's in social work teach? I am interested in teaching but not in research. Am pondering the MSW/Phd track. The posts on this forum have been extremely helpful. I want to teach part-time but am mainly interested in Clinical Work i.e. LCSW. I wonder if I can pursue the LCSW after I finish DSW? Would that be a complete waste of time for me? I am young and motivated. I hear from a lot of social worker friends about the difficulty of finding jobs and/or supervision after the MSW. I just want to keep the options open. I have an M.Div and M.A. in theology in my education background and am fluent in several languages. Aslo, do you know which states value the MSW more--in terms of pay?

Thanks again to all who have taken the time to write on this forum. For a fledgling like me, it has been informative.

Best way to gauge a state- check out their social work pay scales for their state govt jobs. State salaries are always posted, and it gives you a general idea of what you're looking at. Loose rule of thumb- private agencies pay lower than state, hospitals pay more; Feds are one of the better employers. For clinical work, DSW is a complete waste of time. You can teach social work. Maybe other social science classes? But even with MSW you cant teach adjunct-- DSW is needed only if you want full professor. You can be licensed as a DSW-- but it's at the MSW level. There is no special DSW license I've ever heard of-- though every state can be different, and things change all the time!
That's the other thing to keep in mind- where ever you want to work, check out that's state licensing and other social work rules and regs-- things can vary VASTLY even in states that are right next door!

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

38 months ago

Thanks much for your comment DadMike. I have seen your comments in several social-work related thread--all very helpful. Thanks much for taking the time to write and sharing your knowledge in this sphere.

My concern remains that after I finish my MSW, will I actually get a job? I hear friends struggling to get a job. I suppose speaking fluent Spanish should help with my resume. Any thoughts from your experience as to if there is actually employment out there for social workers? I do want to take a loan for nothing.

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DadMike in Maryland

38 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: Thanks much for your comment DadMike. I have seen your comments in several social-work related thread--all very helpful. Thanks much for taking the time to write and sharing your knowledge in this sphere.

My concern remains that after I finish my MSW, will I actually get a job? I hear friends struggling to get a job. I suppose speaking fluent Spanish should help with my resume. Any thoughts from your experience as to if there is actually employment out there for social workers? I do want to take a loan for nothing.

I know that State of Maryland is hiring new folks. A lot will depend on the local economey where ever you are applying. I would scan Indeed and get resumes/apps on file with local governments and hospitals of whereever you are planning on settling.
Child welfare jobs tend to have lots of openings-- high stress, low pay-- enticing, right?? But you really get your foot in the door that way- some folks use that experience to springboard onto something else, others like myself enjoy the stress, and work our way up.
And don't discount your internships-- lots of folks get hired by where they interned- they know you, you know them.
I've heard alot of folks state on here it's hard for new grads to find a job in Social Work- but I've also noticed Indeed is posting tons of openings, at least in the Maryland/DC area. When I've gone job hunting before, it's never been a problem getting a job- it's been choosing which one I'd rather take!
A licensed MSW rarely will ever get rich-- but will also rarely if ever be long unemployed.

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DadMike in Maryland

38 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Best way to gauge a state- check out their social work pay scales for their state govt jobs. State salaries are always posted, and it gives you a general idea of what you're looking at. Loose rule of thumb- private agencies pay lower than state, hospitals pay more; Feds are one of the better employers. For clinical work, DSW is a complete waste of time. You can teach social work. Maybe other social science classes? But even with MSW you cant teach adjunct-- DSW is needed only if you want full professor. You can be licensed as a DSW-- but it's at the MSW level. There is no special DSW license I've ever heard of-- though every state can be different, and things change all the time!
That's the other thing to keep in mind- where ever you want to work, check out that's state licensing and other social work rules and regs-- things can vary VASTLY even in states that are right next door!

Opps- I meant to say an MSW CAN teach adjunct.

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

38 months ago

Thanks, again, DadMike. I am primarily interested in New York/New Jersey area but am not wedded to it. I certainly have the freedom to move. I scanned Indeed for jobs in NY/NJ area and there seems to be plenty of openings. I will certainly keep the internship as an option as well. A lot of these jobs, however, require experience. I have lots of volunteer experience around the world, which I need to translate for MSW job applications down the road. I will certainly write to you again as and when questions emerge. Thanks for such a prompt reply!

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DadMike in Maryland

38 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: Thanks, again, DadMike. I am primarily interested in New York/New Jersey area but am not wedded to it. I certainly have the freedom to move. I scanned Indeed for jobs in NY/NJ area and there seems to be plenty of openings. I will certainly keep the internship as an option as well. A lot of these jobs, however, require experience. I have lots of volunteer experience around the world, which I need to translate for MSW job applications down the road. I will certainly write to you again as and when questions emerge. Thanks for such a prompt reply!

Play up that volunteer experience! Agencies with high turnover child welfare is the biggie, private and public- tend to be the least picky w/ experience, even if their ads say "experience required". And if you have volunteer work experience that is field-related- count it! It IS experience!! And will give you an edge over someone with none.

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Joanne Francis in Brooklyn, New York

37 months ago

When you start searching for jobs try and get beyond those websites. If you have the name of the agency go to their websites and check it out, learn as much as you can about the agency and the services they provide. If they're not accepting applications and want you to use Indeed, Career Builder, JobRader, or Monster.com that is find.

Good luck

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

37 months ago

Thanks much for your input, Joanne. I will be sure check out the website for specific agencies. I am interested in working in New York, if I can land myself in a good job--my preference would be psychotherapy related work. I still have another year and a half before I start anything. Just doing some preliminary investigation so that I know what I am getting into. Thanks, again!

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InfoHungry in New York

37 months ago

Hello to all,

This chat thread has been extremely helpful. Perhaps it can take one question.

I have a BA in Psychology and will be applying to Masters programs soon. I have very little financial resources (even more so with our economy) and do not know if my family and I will survive if I stop working to pursue a Masters level in Psychology, which by my understanding will take more time than a MSW.

As a caring individual (who is interested in working directly with people -high priority on students and teaching) who also would like a balanced life (being able to pay bills AND have a family soon and not have all the financial burden fall on them) should I pursue a MSW and then of course follow with a LCSW, or should I pursue a PsyD? I have also considered teaching but haven't started that track out of fear of limiting myself, that and they were laying off school employees left and right at the time I was going to apply.

Would I be limiting myself with Social Work? There is negative stigma attached to it, while I like to live life by my own rules and chose love over money, life is real and I would never like to burden my current or future family.

I might be reaching too high here but I'd like to have a job after graduating as well as have the possibility of moving up in my level. I would hate to have kids and a husband and then not see them because of working.

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Tony in Albuquerque, New Mexico

37 months ago

Your question is well thought out and right on target! I started following this thread over two years ago and found it invaluable. On that note, I just survived the MSW Program; recently obtained licensure and hope to have my MBA completed (dual degree) next month.

My advice to all new subscribers to this thread is to be sure and read the entire thread carefully. In reference to financial resources, I encourage you to consider your states child welfare division. Here in New Mexico, many “caring people” received $10,000 each year (2) of graduate school; my understanding is they incur a three year commitment for this assistance. Being new to the field I do not know from firsthand experience, but I understand its tough work. In my experience, the tough assignments generally make us stronger.

I think you are very wise to pursue the degree prior to “have(ing) kids and a husband and then not see them because of working.” Speaking as a grandpa, I thing “surviving” will certainly be easier without the additional responsibility. Also, regarding “not seeing your family” because of work—this is a struggle most working professionals find themselves balancing. I hope to see feedback from our veterans on the subject of managing self care and boundaries.

The question, “should I pursue a MSW and then of course follow with a LCSW, or should I pursue a PsyD?” Is one that I believe most of us struggled with? I encourage you to do your research. For me, a good friend (LCSW) pointed me towards the MSW program (when I mentioned not knowing what graduate degree to pursue) and I’m very thankful that he did, because I like the great breadth of positions that I qualify for. Of course, as a “newbie” there are plenty I do not qualify for, because I lack specialized experience. If you pursue the LMSW I seriously encourage you to start your supervision IMMEDITELY upon starting work. I have seen so many sharp professional social workers who did not do this...CONTINUED

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Tony in Albuquerque, New Mexico

37 months ago

PART 2 OF 2
I hope to begin work as a case manager soon and I anticipate paying for my supervision—to ensure I get it!

Regarding the desire to teach; if you are interested in being an “adjunct professor” I was told by the dean of a local university (much to my surprise) that an LMSW is considered a terminal degree, for their university; as I understand it, this is important for the universities accrediting purposes. Also, from what this dean told me, once you have a master’s degree you are qualified to teach any university subject, as long as you have 18 graduate hours in that discipline; of course, you may not get the opportunity to teach (that subject) if someone has a master’s degree or PhD in that subject and/or experience in that field.

Regarding a negative stigma attached to it (MSW?) I’m not sure what that is other than low pay. Also, in regards to financial matters, I understand there are some organizations that will pay off your student loans, but the only thing I’ve found is the VA “may” pay them off. Keep in mind as you read this thread you will see the advanced license (LISW/LCSW, etc..) depending upon your state, offers a great deal of flexibility.

If you choose to pursue an MSW, I encourage you to find a dual degree program. The MSW is tough, but the long-term value of surviving a dual degree program is undeniable. Fortunately for me, the same friend who encouraged me to pursue the MSW recommended the dual degree program; he stated, “If I’d spent the extra semester I would likely be making significantly more than I do now.” He seemed to indicate, that what was more important to him was the flexibility to work in different areas and avoid burnout. At that time, he had been with an agency (thirteen years) that primarily used social workers in one position. He has since been able to move on to a role where counseling clients all day is not the norm.

Finally, I do wish you the very best in your decision.

TonyB

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Kelvin Troy Johnson in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

36 months ago

Meg H in Boston, Massachusetts said: Hi everyone,

I am currently finishing up a MS in Human Services. I am planning on going to school again to get my MSW and become a LCSW, but I discovered a program near me that is a five-year joint MSW/PhD degree. I'm curious what your thoughts are about a PhD social work degree, as well as the time commitment. I don't have a concrete career plan in mind, but I know that I want to eventually own my own private practice, as well as spend time working with underprivileged populations (I'm a case manager for homeless families right now).
I'm only 24, no husband or kids, so I feel like if I'm going to take the time to do it, I should do it now. But a lot of people are discouraging me about how long it will take and how restricted I will be financially... What are your thoughts? Thank you!!

I love it. Push all the way. You are correct in your ambitions. If you don't do it now, you'll wish you did. In your plan, don't forget to insert "Become a Speaker, Author and Radio Show Host" all of which you could do now with your experience. Equip yourself with all the degrees and certifications you can. The world will belong to those with skills.

Kelvin
www.counselorssuccesssystem.com

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Shanna in New York, New York

36 months ago

If u don't mind me asking? How'd u decide on the M.S. degree in Human Services?
But either way, why not just get the Ph.D in Social Work and teach? I don't see the need for two masters degrees unless they r in two completely different areas where u could truly benefit.

Just my opinion.

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DadMike in Maryland

36 months ago

Kelvin Troy Johnson in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey said: I love it. Push all the way. You are correct in your ambitions. If you don't do it now, you'll wish you did. In your plan, don't forget to insert "Become a Speaker, Author and Radio Show Host" all of which you could do now with your experience. Equip yourself with all the degrees and certifications you can. The world will belong to those with skills.

Kelvin
www.counselorssuccesssystem.com

The world belongs to those with the RIGHT skills, and who are not overly burdend by debt.
Know what you want, and DO YOUR RESEARCH.
There are some awfully bitter folks out there with Phd's in Social Work that burdened themselves with tens of thousands of dollars in additional debt, to only find their degree commands the same salary as an MSW. If you get your degree for free, or want that Phd reagardless of salary, go for it!
Just go in with open eyes, and realistic expecations.
Which means--- always do your research. Especially when it comes to committing tens of thousands of dollars, and several years of your life.

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

36 months ago

@DadMike

I have applied to several MSW programs in the New York area for the August/ September semester. The method or focus of the programs that I am interested in is mental health.
Now, I have some downtime these next couple of months and I am debating the possibility of earning hours (if not all) for the drug and substance abuse training (classwork). I already have about 100 hours towards such training. Do you think it is worthwhile for me to do that? Will it add a lot to my resume in addition to the MSW when it comes to employment couple of years down the road? Your feedback will be appreciated. Yep, money is a factor in this decision as well.

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DadMike in Maryland

36 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: @DadMike

I have applied to several MSW programs in the New York area for the August/ September semester. The method or focus of the programs that I am interested in is mental health.
Now, I have some downtime these next couple of months and I am debating the possibility of earning hours (if not all) for the drug and substance abuse training (classwork). I already have about 100 hours towards such training. Do you think it is worthwhile for me to do that? Will it add a lot to my resume in addition to the MSW when it comes to employment couple of years down the road? Your feedback will be appreciated. Yep, money is a factor in this decision as well.

Depends on the State! In Maryland, being a Certified Addicitions Counselor is a seperate credential-- many MSWs have it, but you don't need an MSW to have one. And you NEED it if you want to work in addictions, at least in Maryland.
Dual-diagnosis (psysch and substance abuse) almost always go hand in hand; if you can afford it time and money wise, being cross-trained in addictions and mental health is ideal. You'll miss a lot without knowledge of both.
How will that translate into salary? Hmmm-- don't know-- I think Dr. Drew is on the high end! :) Back when I was first out of school, salaries were comparable with other social work jobs.
Marketablity? It will broaden your opportunities; I'd have to take the test to get licensed in addictions now if I ever wanted to work addictions; my clincal license may not qualify alone.

So- in terms of knowledge and marketabilty, if you can afford the extra time and money, it's an absolute win. May or may not boost salary- but it does increase the amount of jobs you can apply for.

This is crucial, though- check your state's licensing credentials to make sure you'd qualify for both the social work AND addicitons license-- IF they are seperated, like in Maryland.

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

36 months ago

@DadMike

Thanks much for your feedback. My estimation in the matter is the same as yours. Substance abuse counseling is a separate certification in New York States as well. It is abbreviated as CASAC.

I will post other question as and when they emerge. Thanks again.

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Silver in Nashville, Tennessee

36 months ago

socialwkr in Missouri wrote: "I think a negative in the social work field is that people accept the myth that social workers get into the field to help "those" poor people who can't help themselves, and thus, social workers (since anyone can do social work, right?) should not expect salaries befitting their education? I think this mentality hurts social workers among other professionals. This concept of a social worker as a sacrifical lamb is what hurts the profession of social work. ANYONE can help someone, social work is a specialized field built on theories and applications that provide an educational background that places social work as a profession."

You are RIGHT on! I graduated with my MSSW in 2007, and became an LCSW in 2010. Since becoming a "social worker," I have had to educate so many people on the profession of social work, and that my job does require a Master's Degree, and that no, I don't take people's children away, and no, I'm not a bleeding heart, nor do I have poor boundaries. As you said, this mentality has been incredibly hurtfful to the field of social work and is also incredibly annoying. I'm thankful that I work in a government agency that starts lincensed Master's level social workers at $56k--we DO deserve a decent salary for our education, experience, and skill set.

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DadMike in Maryland

36 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: @DadMike

Thanks much for your feedback. My estimation in the matter is the same as yours. Substance abuse counseling is a separate certification in New York States as well. It is abbreviated as CASAC.

I will post other question as and when they emerge. Thanks again.

You welcome! Glad I could help! :)

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DadMike in Maryland

36 months ago

Silver in Nashville, Tennessee said: socialwkr in Missouri wrote: "I think a negative in the social work field is that people accept the myth that social workers get into the field to help "those" poor people who can't help themselves, and thus, social workers (since anyone can do social work, right?) should not expect salaries befitting their education? I think this mentality hurts social workers among other professionals. This concept of a social worker as a sacrifical lamb is what hurts the profession of social work. ANYONE can help someone, social work is a specialized field built on theories and applications that provide an educational background that places social work as a profession."

You are RIGHT on! I graduated with my MSSW in 2007, and became an LCSW in 2010. Since becoming a "social worker," I have had to educate so many people on the profession of social work, and that my job does require a Master's Degree, and that no, I don't take people's children away, and no, I'm not a bleeding heart, nor do I have poor boundaries. As you said, this mentality has been incredibly hurtfful to the field of social work and is also incredibly annoying. I'm thankful that I work in a government agency that starts lincensed Master's level social workers at $56k--we DO deserve a decent salary for our education, experience, and skill set.

What's really awful is that alot of those stereotypes are perpuated by-- OTHER SOCIAL WORKERS! Often the ones that go into admin right away because they're scared of direct clinical work.
(It probably helps to justify the low salaries they often offer).
I still rememember a few people from social work school going around outraged, "How can you even think of taking money for helping people??". Interestingly, I've never run into them in the field at all.....

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Stumped in NJ in Ventnor City, New Jersey

36 months ago

Is there anyone that can help me with my questions regarding the SW field in NJ.
I am 43 years old, will have an MSW in May 2014, I currently intern with the Judicary system in Drug Court so I am earning my CADC hours, as well ( have my AAS in D/A Counseling) I do want my LCSW as well as continue on towards a doctorate.....My advisors at school cannot seem to help me with what is the next step to becoming a LCSW. Is it more schooling?, is it just "hours"? Is testing requires , like the CADC/LCADC? If anyone can help I would appreciate it...Also, any suggestions due to my age , another way to conquer my dreams even faster, would be appreciated1

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Christopher in Highland Park, New Jersey

36 months ago

Ok, I just want to clear a few things up here. A lot of people have discussed the degree situation based on the schools they've been too or the individuals they've met. Let me broaden things a bit.

First, the argument of 'terminal degree' is useless, as each program is different. Your MSW is a professional degree. The LCSW is a license, not a degree and should not be treated as if it suggests a formalized education.

Some schools have tried a DSW program. This comes from the notion of needing an increased level of professionalism for clinical social workers. A DSW, though perfectly respectable as an advanced clinical degree, tends not to hold the same level of prestige as, say, a PsyD. That has more to do with the position of social work among other fields. Often, DSW programs are an additional 2-3 years of coursework and provide no research education.

That being said, historically, some schools have treated the DSW like a PhD, and DSWs are often found in universities as tenure-earning faculty who conduct research. Columbia University had one before changing to a PhD program. THAT being said, some schools (like Columbia) offer clinical tracks for the PhD that provide some additional clinical training, but yes, the focus is much, much more on research.

If you want to be a clinician/work in the field and not a researcher, then stop at the MSW. If you get an MSW and get more EXPERIENCE, you get an LCSW. If you want more TRAINING, you get a DSW. If you want to conduct research and teach, get a PhD.

Adjuncts do not carry nearly the same amount of credibility as tenure-track professors. The reason is that spending years formulating research skills is supposed to provide PhDs with the ability to discern what information is credible. An adjunct is more likely to teach from experience, as opposed to evidence-based research. While experience is practically helpful, it is not scientifically valid.

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Christopher in Highland Park, New Jersey

36 months ago

Oh, and as for school reputation... this sounds obvious, but school reputation is important only to those who find reputation important. It is more important to go to a reputable school for your PhD than for your MSW. This is because PhDs carry the name of the school they went to around with them throughout their careers, whereas this is less important among MSWs.

Personally, I'd suggest going to the best school you can, merely so you can get the best education possible. However, I also don't believe that a private school education is truly necessary for an MSW... it would be more cost effective to go to a good state school, particularly as MSW salaries tend to be low. If a PhD is possible in your future, just focus on getting good grades wherever you go. I'd suggest taking more courses from PhDs, because you will need their recommendations for your applications.

True, if you wish to teach practice courses, you need to have 2 years of practice experience. This is a requirement by CSWE. These years can come after your PhD, if you choose to return to practicing. If you are a policy person, you do not need experience in that field to teach.

In terms of cost, most PhD programs have tuition remission programs and stipends. This is true if you go to an affordable state University or an expensive private school. They cannot guarantee fully covering costs, but they often do.

My career has gone: Undergrad (soc BA), 5 years work experience (2.5 in social work), MSW, and applying to PhD programs now. I did not follow my MSW with practice as I am far more geared to research, policy and prevention. Always have been. Some things you just know.

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Sarah in Joliet, Illinois

35 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: Thanks much for your input, Joanne. I will be sure check out the website for specific agencies. I am interested in working in New York, if I can land myself in a good job--my preference would be psychotherapy related work. I still have another year and a half before I start anything. Just doing some preliminary investigation so that I know what I am getting into. Thanks, again!

Stevo, it will be invaluable, the fact that you are fluent in Spanish! You could get a number of jobs here in the Chicago area! Good for you-hope you find the job you're looking for.

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Sarah in Joliet, Illinois

35 months ago

Stumped in NJ in Ventnor City, New Jersey said: Is there anyone that can help me with my questions regarding the SW field in NJ.
I am 43 years old, will have an MSW in May 2014, I currently intern with the Judicary system in Drug Court so I am earning my CADC hours, as well ( have my AAS in D/A Counseling) I do want my LCSW as well as continue on towards a doctorate.....My advisors at school cannot seem to help me with what is the next step to becoming a LCSW. Is it more schooling?, is it just "hours"? Is testing requires , like the CADC/LCADC? If anyone can help I would appreciate it...Also, any suggestions due to my age , another way to conquer my dreams even faster, would be appreciated1

Getting the LCSW is different for each state. (LCSW itself isn't called such in each state, MI for instance has an LMSW instead). It will require (in most states, whatever the name) a number of hours supervised by an LCSW. The number of hours is usually around 3000. This is usually achieved in 2 years of full-time work. After obtaining your hours and supervision there is an exam to take.
Hope that helps!

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

35 months ago

Sarah in Joliet, Illinois said: Stevo, it will be invaluable, the fact that you are fluent in Spanish! You could get a number of jobs here in the Chicago area! Good for you-hope you find the job you're looking for.

Thanks for the affirmation Sarah. I just applied to three programs for a clinical MSW in New York. Yep, I am hopeful to get a job after I finish. I lived in Chicago for nearly six years and was inspired my friends who are social workers. Thanks again!

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k.pavani in Bangalore, India

35 months ago

hey everyone,
im doing my btech(eee) 3 year.im planning to write civils after completion of b-tech.are there any courses for public administration and psycology like which can be done in 1 year so that it can help in my mains exam in civils.im thinking of doing it in 4th year if there is any part time course.please let me know.

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alfish89 in Pensacola, Florida

35 months ago

Hi, I am currently looking into online programs to further a career in human services/social sciences. I originally wanted to pursue a MSW, but the online programs are very expensive compared to just getting a MS in Human Services. I do not necessarily want to be a social worker, but I would like to work in the general non-profit and humanitarian services sector. Is a MS in Human Services worth it, and will it make me a more competitive candidate for social jobs? Does anyone have any advice on what education would be best for me? Thanks for the help!!

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Shanna in Norfolk, Virginia

35 months ago

I

alfish89 in Pensacola, Florida said: Hi, I am currently looking into online programs to further a career in human services/social sciences. I originally wanted to pursue a MSW, but the online programs are very expensive compared to just getting a MS in Human Services. I do not necessarily want to be a social worker, but I would like to work in the general non-profit and humanitarian services sector. Is a MS in Human Services worth it, and will it make me a more competitive candidate for social jobs? Does anyone have any advice on what education would be best for me? Thanks for the help!!

Maybe the reason why the MSW is more is that it holds A LOT more weight than a MS in Human Services. I get really angry thinking about it because my bachelors is in Human Services. Its such a waste of time, just means that u are under a broad umbrella of Human Services instead of not one or 2 areas. A BSW holds more weight than a B.A/BS in Human Services as well because Social work is a licensed field. Human Services is not.

Boston University-online has a fully accredited online program and its the cheapest I've seen.
(About $40,000)

Please, do more research by asking around......the MSW (over the M.s. in H.S) is definetly better!

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Michael in Lanham, Maryland

35 months ago

The MSW is a terminal practice professional degree
The PHD in social work is a research/policy/teaching degree
The LCSW/LICSW/LCSW-C are advanced social work licenses
The LMSW/LGSW are entry level master level licenses

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Michael in Lanham, Maryland

35 months ago

reify in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Hi all! I've really found this forum helpful, thank you!

I was wondering if anyone knew about Phd and macro/policy social work? It makes sense to me why you wouldn't need a Phd for clinical social work, but does macro/policy have more of a need for someone with a research or academic background?

Yes, a Phd in Social Work is vital for a macro/policy career.

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coopb03 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

35 months ago

Hi! this has been a great and really insightful discussion. Where does the DSW (Doctorate in Social Work) degree fit in this conversation? There has been a resurgence of DSW program in top ranked colleges in the United States. Univ of Penn has recently started their 3-year DSW program with an emphasis on clinical social work. What might the differences be between a PHD and a DSW? and Are DSW's respected and values in the social service field?

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DadMike in Maryland

35 months ago

Michael in Lanham, Maryland said: Yes, a Phd in Social Work is vital for a macro/policy career.

It may help, but plenty of MSWs do macro and policy work as well.
As well as Phd in Sociology and other related fields.
Masters in Public Admin is worth looking into, to, if you're into govt. policy.

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Kathy in Dayton, Ohio

35 months ago

Absolutely, you certainly don't need a Ph.D to do policy-related social work. A BSW or MSW will suffice. I know a few BSW's who are directly involved in legislative work.

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DadMike in Maryland

35 months ago

Kathy in Dayton, Ohio said: Absolutely, you certainly don't need a Ph.D to do policy-related social work. A BSW or MSW will suffice. I know a few BSW's who are directly involved in legislative work.

Good point! Policy/legislative field isn't as picky on credentials as clinical work or teaching. Sometimes it's more important for political jobs to work the bull @ oyster roast circuit, volunteer in right campaigns, to play golf w/ the right people. Plenty of folks with appointed jobs in state service social services don't even have a social work degree, yet they set policy.

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rcm83@aol.com

35 months ago

Most definitely. It's about knowing how to get things done. You certainly don't need a degree or letters behind your name to be effective. It's about your passion and willingness to roll your sleeves up.

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JASON in Lithonia, Georgia

34 months ago

I just discovered this thread and i have been battling in my head for a long time what to do with my MSW degree. I have 6 years of experience working with abused children and current have my MSW, soon to have my LMSW. I know the licensure requirement for my LCSW in my state and it will take me three years of full time work to complete. I happen to like school so I figure, just get my phD in 5 years and it will be better than an LCSW. Is this true?? I would love to teach and have my own practice, can i do so with a phd in human Services/clinical social work?

Thansk for your help. IM actually about to enroll in the phd program but not sure its the best decision

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DadMike in Maryland

34 months ago

JASON in Lithonia, Georgia said: I just discovered this thread and i have been battling in my head for a long time what to do with my MSW degree. I have 6 years of experience working with abused children and current have my MSW, soon to have my LMSW. I know the licensure requirement for my LCSW in my state and it will take me three years of full time work to complete. I happen to like school so I figure, just get my phD in 5 years and it will be better than an LCSW. Is this true?? I would love to teach and have my own practice, can i do so with a phd in human Services/clinical social work?

Thansk for your help. IM actually about to enroll in the phd program but not sure its the best decision

You can teach and run your own practice with an MSW. Phd is completely unnecessary for clinical work, or for any social work job other than full professor at a social work school. Most places won't even give you a higher salary.
For teaching- if want to make full professor- you'll need it. Fpr a pure research job-- which means univeristy work- again, it's almost always needed if you want full professor status. If you're happy with adjunct status- MSW is all you need.

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DadMike in Maryland

34 months ago

Oopps-- I forgot to add- for running your own practice, you'd be better off getting an MBA in addition to your MSW than a Phd!!

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Jason in Kennesaw, Georgia

34 months ago

Thank you for the information. I just got accepted into the phd program and now I don't think I will be doing it. So a LMSW-LCSW means more when it comes to clinical practice than an MSW-PHD. I can't believe it. I was really looking to bypass the 3 years of supervision that I would need to get my LCSW by obtaining a PHD but from what I understand it is not going to matter, seeing as though I just wanna have a clinical practice. Any other suggestions on how I can strengthen my clinical skills, I love school and want to go back but don't want to waste my time and money. I have a BS in Psych/Crim Justice and a MSW, LMSW.

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DadMike in Maryland

34 months ago

Jason in Kennesaw, Georgia said: Thank you for the information. I just got accepted into the phd program and now I don't think I will be doing it. So a LMSW-LCSW means more when it comes to clinical practice than an MSW-PHD. I can't believe it. I was really looking to bypass the 3 years of supervision that I would need to get my LCSW by obtaining a PHD but from what I understand it is not going to matter, seeing as though I just wanna have a clinical practice. Any other suggestions on how I can strengthen my clinical skills, I love school and want to go back but don't want to waste my time and money. I have a BS in Psych/Crim Justice and a MSW, LMSW.

If you were hoping to by-pass a license with a PhD- that is defintely not going to work in most states, if any.
In Maryland, DSWs are licensed with the same license as MSWs- they're not even gaurenteed to get a clinical license, and still have to pass the test and complete supervision hours. Under an MSW, most likely, too.
In Maryland it's broken down into LGSW (Licensed Graduate, right out of school w/MSW and the test); then after 2 years of supervision, work experience, and another test you get an LCSW (For strictly admin types) or an LCSW-C (clinical practice.)
In essence, you can have a PHD/DSW but only be an LGSW if you haven't put in the clinica field and supervision time.
I recommend taking a job in a therapy clinic, or in a hospital setting on a mental health unit. DSS case-carrying work (like CPS, Family Preservation) counts in Maryland, too.
You definetly need to read your state's licensing requirements; every state varies. For all I know Georgia HAS something special for DSWs-- but usually the answer is not.

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hardworker in Austin, Texas

33 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: If you want to be a professor, the PhD is essential. Have work experience will make a good professor, too. Too many profs I had did little to no real world work, and even decades later we make fun of them. (1 program produces most of the MSWs here, so we all tend to have had the same profs.)
Otherwise, though--- the PhD in Social Work is completely useless. You won't be paid any more, and MSWs, Psychologists, and Psyhciatrist will not give you any more respect- you'll get less, in fact, if you walk around with airs calling yourse "Dr.".

Seems like someone is pretty upset he didn't receive his PhD. and has worked in the field for 20 plus years. Many people want to obtain more than just a Master's degree not for the so-called "Dr." title but for their own personal satisfaction and other endeavors besides working in the same area and state for many years. It is a challenge to receive any PhD. and yes you can seem "overqualified"- why? because most people will not achieve this status of education.

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hardworker in Austin, Texas

33 months ago

Shelly in Lawrenceburg, Indiana said: Unbelievable. I would say some have ego issues and may be a little envious of those having the desire and aptitude to achieve beyond the MSW. Anyone can obtain an MSW, the Ph.D is another thing altogether. They are not even remotely related, nor are they intended to be. I don't think any Ph.D needs to defend their credential, it speaks for itself.

Much agreed! It takes a lot more dedication than a Master's level as it should.

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Lori in Little Rock, Arkansas

33 months ago

Tony in Albuquerque, New Mexico said: Hi - great input!

Since I posted that question months ago I have received a lot of feedback like yours. I am no longer interested in a PhD as it will not help me achieve any goals that I'm not able to attain with my MSW.

I am however, pursuing a dual graduate degree (MBA). From what I gather that will increase my opportunities (pay etc..)more than a PhD.

Take care

Do you think my undergraduate degree in Economics and J.D. in law will help me if I get a MSW (ie to get jobs and increase pay). I know the knowledge of law will be helpful but I haven't done any research on how it may affect my career.

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

33 months ago

@Dadmike or any other person with feedback

I am back with another question for you. As I mentioned somewhere along the way to you that I will be starting my MSW program (clinical track) this upcoming August. My desire is to move towards getting my LCSW in due course. I have been wondering and exploring, albeit a bit prematurely, about additional psychotherapy training. More specifically, I have been wondering if I should take get some additional certification (outside the university) for Cognitively Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Psychoanalytical training--both of which I know a lot about and find rather engaging despite the different approaches to treatments and life. I know several programs in the neighborhood in both of these areas that provide certification--Psychoanalysis is definitely much longer and more expensive process. So, do you think it would be worthwhile to take workshops or courses in CBT or Psychoanalysis (Jungian) to get certification to boost my resume and training? I would very much like some feedback from you based on your experience in the field and the job market. I did not want to waste money if I don't need to. Planning ahead, however, gives me some wiggle room with how I spend my time and money. Thanks in advance.

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DadMike in Maryland

33 months ago

hardworker in Austin, Texas said: Seems like someone is pretty upset he didn't receive his PhD. and has worked in the field for 20 plus years. Many people want to obtain more than just a Master's degree not for the so-called "Dr." title but for their own personal satisfaction and other endeavors besides working in the same area and state for many years. It is a challenge to receive any PhD. and yes you can seem "overqualified"- why? because most people will not achieve this status of education.

Get it if you want it! Just understand what you can do with it, and what you can't.
It is important if you want an tenured academic/research career.

Otherwise- be forewarned that despite your PhD, it is likely you will remain supervised by MSWs throughout your clinical/policy career, and receive the same salary as MSW colleagues.
If you're OK with that, go for it!
(MBAs, Masters in Public Admin can be more helpful in moving up in government and private agencies if want to pursue the policy/admin route instead of clinical. Once again, not needed- connections are more important, and plenty of straight-up MSWs have those jobs- but those degrees can really beef up a resume.)

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DadMike in Maryland

33 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: @Dadmike or any other person with feedback

I am back with another question for you. As I mentioned somewhere along the way to you that I will be starting my MSW program (clinical track) this upcoming August. My desire is to move towards getting my LCSW in due course. I have been wondering and exploring, albeit a bit prematurely, about additional psychotherapy training. More specifically, I have been wondering if I should take get some additional certification (outside the university) for Cognitively Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Psychoanalytical training--both of which I know a lot about and find rather engaging despite the different approaches to treatments and life. I know several programs in the neighborhood in both of these areas that provide certification--Psychoanalysis is definitely much longer and more expensive process. So, do you think it would be worthwhile to take workshops or courses in CBT or Psychoanalysis (Jungian) to get certification to boost my resume and training? I would very much like some feedback from you based on your experience in the field and the job market. I did not want to waste money if I don't need to. Planning ahead, however, gives me some wiggle room with how I spend my time and money. Thanks in advance.

Additional training- very helpful for a therapist career! May not boost your salary, but it could give a real edge in job hunting.
More importantly- it will boost your skills. Too often the quality of clinical training in MSW programs is determined by internship- they vary greatly in quality. Psychoanalysis I'd skip-- unless folks are paying out of pocket, no insurance will cover it. CBT- absolutely! Very practical stuff. Anything re: families & children, marital, eating disorders-- very much in demand- and from the viewpoint of clinics- profitable.
Getting a solid background in crisis intervention, psych disorders, and substance abuse will also be invaluable.

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

33 months ago

Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate it a great deal. I have another quick question: Does it matter--from an employment point of view--where do I get my degree from? I have received acceptance both into Hunter College and NYU in New York. NYU is an additional $10,000 but has a good reputation for their clinical program. Should I save $10,000 by going to Hunter? Or, you think, going to NYU will really influence my place in the job market? Any thoughts or feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

33 months ago

I have another quick question: Does it matter--from an employment point of view--where do I get my degree from? I have received acceptance both into Hunter College and NYU in New York. NYU is an additional $10,000 but has a good reputation for their clinical program. Should I save $10,000 by going to Hunter? Or, you think, going to NYU will really influence my place in the job market? Any thoughts or feedback would be appreciated.

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Shanna in Norfolk, Virginia

33 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: I have another quick question: Does it matter--from an employment point of view--where do I get my degree from? I have received acceptance both into Hunter College and NYU in New York. NYU is an additional $10,000 but has a good reputation for their clinical program. Should I save $10,000 by going to Hunter? Or, you think, going to NYU will really influence my place in the job market? Any thoughts or feedback would be appreciated.

It absolutely doesn't matter. Its just a preference for u. Some schools are more clinical in nature and students want THAT experience in learning. Just make sure your school of choice is accredited. Hunter is a reputable school in NY anyway. But when its time for hiring, no one will question your school of choice.

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