thoughts on Social Work PhD degrees

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DadMike in Maryland

31 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.

I agree with what Shanna says! It don't matter one bit where you go to school, as long as it is accredited. Check with licensing boards to make sure they accept the school's degrees. If you're really looking for clinical orientation, I'd read reviews of school if they have that for comments on how clinical the really are, vs. what they say. I WISH the Internet was as far long back when I was doing all this as it is now!! (and "clinical" is a great buzzword-- 90% of the time it is to b-llsh!t thrown about to make the agency sound really cool- it can help to ask assessment questions, "how do you define clincal?").
Bottom line-- Whether you spent 8 grand a year on tuition at University of Maryland, or 20grand a year at Howard,(going by Maryland/DC schools back in 90s) MSW salaries start the same....but not your debt load, or hiring preferences....also- internship can lead to JOBS!! So if you can, pick a school where you may want to set down some roots. Not just jobs-- but learning local systems (that's what happened to me!) was invaluable! (I got my BA-level job from an internship; my MSW job- internships helped the resume, taught me the system.)

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Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York

31 months ago

Shanna and DadMike,
Thanks much for your feedback and comments. Hearing from both of you and from some other friends have persuaded me to stick with Hunter and save a few $$$$.
I appreciate the time both of you have taken to respond. This thread (.e. your comments and those of others) has become somewhat of an e-mentor for me on MSW issues and concerns. I will post more questions as the emerge. Thanks again, a lot!

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DadMike in Maryland

31 months ago

Stevo T in Tarrytown, New York said: Shanna and DadMike,
Thanks much for your feedback and comments. Hearing from both of you and from some other friends have persuaded me to stick with Hunter and save a few $$$$.
I appreciate the time both of you have taken to respond. This thread (.e. your comments and those of others) has become somewhat of an e-mentor for me on MSW issues and concerns. I will post more questions as the emerge. Thanks again, a lot!

Your welcome!! Hope it can help!

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DadMike in Maryland

31 months ago

Lori in Little Rock, Arkansas said: 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.

If you stick stricly with social work jobs, legal knowledge may give you an edge in forensic-type jobs (CPS, Court mental health assessor, court family assessor, prison social work, domestic violence centers, Child Advocacy Centers-sex abuse interviewer) but may not help in salary. Attorneys do make better money than social work-- but you'd have to take an attorneys' position, not a social work one, for the pay bump.

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Nikhila in Hyderabad, India

31 months ago

I am currently pursuing my Master in social work from India with Medical and Psychiatric as my major.I am planning for Phd in United states.I just want to know about scope of social work in US and and also if I dont get admission into Phd are there any job opportunities there in US based on Indian Degree .

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DadMike in Maryland

31 months ago

Nikhila in Hyderabad, India said: I am currently pursuing my Master in social work from India with Medical and Psychiatric as my major.I am planning for Phd in United states.I just want to know about scope of social work in US and and also if I dont get admission into Phd are there any job opportunities there in US based on Indian Degree .

Every state is different in US- we have over 50 sets of different rules for social work counting all the states, Washington, DC, and territories.
Take heart- many Indian Universities are accredited with US Social Work Boards- you'd have to check out state by state to see-- use the Google to check out states Social Work Board sites. I work with a man now who got his MSW in India- his degree was accepted in full in Maryland, no additional course work needed.
In US-- social work does everything from therapy to child abuse investigations to medical discharge planning- wide range of apps; we don't have factory-employee relations job like I hear they have in India, though.
I highly recommend Googling US NASW (National Association of Social Workers) for more detailed info, to.

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Nikhila in Hyderabad, India

31 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Every state is different in US- we have over 50 sets of different rules for social work counting all the states, Washington, DC, and territories.
Take heart- many Indian Universities are accredited with US Social Work Boards- you'd have to check out state by state to see-- use the Google to check out states Social Work Board sites. I work with a man now who got his MSW in India- his degree was accepted in full in Maryland, no additional course work needed.
In US-- social work does everything from therapy to child abuse investigations to medical discharge planning- wide range of apps; we don't have factory-employee relations job like I hear they have in India, though.
I highly recommend Googling US NASW (National Association of Social Workers) for more detailed info, to.

DadMike
Thanks a lot for your guidance and responding back to my question.

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Nikhila in Hyderabad, India

31 months ago

This forum is helpful, we are getting to know more about the opportunities for social workers.One thing I have is that there is no much difference between MSW and Phd in social work in terms of pay and position.I just have a one question if I want look for a job in US after completing my MSW in India, how should i start the process and and want to know little more about License as in how to obtain the license and what are the eligibility requirements for a international students generally.

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DadMike in Maryland

31 months ago

Nikhila in Hyderabad, India said: This forum is helpful, we are getting to know more about the opportunities for social workers.One thing I have is that there is no much difference between MSW and Phd in social work in terms of pay and position.I just have a one question if I want look for a job in US after completing my MSW in India, how should i start the process and and want to know little more about License as in how to obtain the license and what are the eligibility requirements for a international students generally.

Glad to help! Licensing is a state-by-state process-- your best bet is to figure where you want to get employed first. US is as big as India, with its own regional quirks. One thing to keep in mind- West Coast, Southwest, and in New York/New Jersey area, being able to speak Spanish is almost a requirement due to high percentage of Hispanic population there- Large parts of America are nearly bi-lingual!
Once you pick what state you're interested in, you can research licenses and such. And not every state is compatible-- my Maryland license wouldn't mean anything in some states, and there is no overarching national standard. NASW offers license- like national credentials -- but most states, if any, will not accept them as legal license.
Finding jobs-- Indeed is a great site! Also- governments hire often-- check out state and local government hiring sites.
As far as work visas-- I got no idea! US State Dept. would probably have that info.
And check out cost of living, too- housing prices and such- a large salary in New York may leave you more impoverished than a small salary in Lousisiana (whose governor is an Indian (from India) American, btw!!

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Ray in Keller, Texas

31 months ago

I want to correct your spelling of my home state, and remind you it's Louisiana. Also not all areas of Louisiana are quote unquote impoverished. I wanted to speak to your post because I would hate for potential emigrant to develop a erroneous perspective of what it would be like to work in Louisiana.

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DadMike in Maryland

31 months ago

Ray in Keller, Texas said: I want to correct your spelling of my home state, and remind you it's Louisiana. Also not all areas of Louisiana are quote unquote impoverished. I wanted to speak to your post because I would hate for potential emigrant to develop a erroneous perspective of what it would be like to work in Louisiana.

Sorry if my post wasn't clear- it's not a slam on Louisiana- obviously folks from there are great at spelling!!
It's a cost of living thing-- 50grand per year will get you Oodles of Noodles and prayers to make your rent living in New York City; same money can buy you a house and a car in rural Pennsylvania, (or, as the locals like to call it, Pennsyltucky.)
More to the point- I chose it to let her know that not only does America welcome immigrants from India- they can rise to some of the highest political offices in our country.
All I recommended was that she hit the Google to compare salaries and living costs. Louisiana may be a great place to live for some folks- up to her to decide if she wants it.

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Ray in El Dorado, Arkansas

31 months ago

Thank you for clarification, my statement was intended to educate not defame.

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JT in Oceanside, New York

30 months ago

Hello,

I have my MSW and am looking for any certificate programs or a program where I could earn my LCSW while taking some psychoanalytic or CBT courses while working at a clinic or other places. I am thinking of moving to North Carolina and would appreciate any assistance anyone can offer about programs, supervisors, good places to apply to earn my LCSW or programs there. Thank you in advance. : )

JT

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priscler in Yuma, Arizona

30 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!!

Phd in social work will only give you the privilege to be able to teach at a university level. If this is what you want then go for it, but if you don’t want to teach then don’t waste your time on the PHD. A msw is a great gained thou.

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Missy in Northridge, California

30 months ago

From my understanding A Ph.d in social work is called a DSW and you can practice in the field of social work,but you also have flexibility to do other things.

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lia in Columbia, Missouri

30 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!!

rather than another masters degree,I would suggest a doctorate.

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sahiggins in Birmingham, Alabama

30 months ago

Hi Ya'll,
I have had my MSW since 1990 and been an LCSW since 2000; I have met with the chair of the Dept of Social Work at the University of Alabama, my alma mater, to discuss future career plans. To be sure, a DSW and a PhD are NOT the same - similar to a EdD and a PhD in education. The PhD status, regardless of the field has a primary interest in research. To obtain a PhD in Social Work for clinical practice would not be worth the time; you should instead pursue a PhD in clinical psychology, or a PsyD....I believe that the PhD is right for me, as I have a passion in the area of research for autistic children and their families, specifically, the interventions aimed at the parents/primary caregivers versus the children themselves.
Hope this helps !

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npashiko in Northridge, California

30 months ago

Sarah Ann Higgins in Birmingham, Alabama said: I am shocked to hear how difficult it is in other areas of the country to find good clinical supervision - and that people PAY for this!!! As a MSW, licensed clinical social worker and private independent practitioner with over 20 years experience, I am always more than happy to supervise graduate level social workers interested in sitting for the clinical exam - for no charge! I feel that it is my duty as a social worker to help others in my profession reach their fullest potential, and NOT financially exploit them in the process! What a racket! Shame on those who DO charge for this!!!

How can I get in touch with you. I am looking to receive supervision and would greatly appreciate if you could help me out please. Let me know if you are still available to provide free supervision. THANK YOU!!!

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dutches in Dresden, Tennessee

29 months ago

Rahul in Gurgaon, India said:

Where did you complete your Ph.D program? I am currently working on my Ph.D from Walden University

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Jason in Jacksonville Beach, Florida

29 months ago

I was doing my phd at Wladen but there was no point because due to state requirements i wouldn't be able to obtain a license as a psychologist, so I dropped out. I advise you to check the requirements to make sure you can be licensed since Walden is not APA accredited.

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Staci in Alfredton, Australia

29 months ago

I am currently completing my PHD in social work from a University in Australia. I am currently a full time assistant professor and this is the career I want to stick with. Because of the structure of the Australian University system my field experience allowed me to be accepted into the PHD program without an MSW. I am an american and hold an american BSW and hold 10 years of fied experience mostly in management but also direct client work. We are wanting to move back to the states once my PHD is completed and I have been able to publish. I am wondering if I am going to be at a disadvantage without a MSW. Should I complete one before applying for jobs in the states?

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Shauna in Buffalo, New York

29 months ago

Staci in Alfredton, Australia said: I am currently completing my PHD in social work from a University in Australia. I am currently a full time assistant professor and this is the career I want to stick with. Because of the structure of the Australian University system my field experience allowed me to be accepted into the PHD program without an MSW. I am an american and hold an american BSW and hold 10 years of fied experience mostly in management but also direct client work. We are wanting to move back to the states once my PHD is completed and I have been able to publish. I am wondering if I am going to be at a disadvantage without a MSW. Should I complete one before applying for jobs in the states?

If you only want to continue to be a professor, then no. You do not NEED the M.S.W. However, if your plans are to do anything else, you will definetely need an MSW. You also may not be able to become a tenured staff member in the Social Work department without one. Depends on the university. I would suggest you reach out to the colleges/universities that you are interested in working in and ask.

Good Luck.

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Valerie in Mills River, North Carolina

27 months ago

minimac56@hotmail.com in Painesville, Ohio said: well, im a 15 year old girl whos dream is to be a social worker.I want to get my MSW and then get my LCSW and work on getting my PHD please message me if u have any comments. Message me at minimac56@hotmail.com thank you very much!

I love that you are dreaming of a career in social work! I am a 40 something year old girl who has been doing her SW dream from over 25 years now. The thing I love about social work is the diversity - I started out in domestic violence prevention but have worked in medical social work and most recently am in child welfare work. I have a BSSW and a MPH (master in public health). I agree with those who say experience is as important as the degree.

Good luck to you!

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nikky in Hyderabad, India

25 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Every state is different in US- we have over 50 sets of different rules for social work counting all the states, Washington, DC, and territories.
Take heart- many Indian Universities are accredited with US Social Work Boards- you'd have to check out state by state to see-- use the Google to check out states Social Work Board sites. I work with a man now who got his MSW in India- his degree was accepted in full in Maryland, no additional course work needed.
In US-- social work does everything from therapy to child abuse investigations to medical discharge planning- wide range of apps; we don't have factory - employee relations job like I hear they have in India, though.
I highly recommend Googling US NASW (National Association of Social Workers) for more detailed info, to.

Hi DadMike

I am here again for your guidance.I have completed my MSW in india and I am looking for more opportunities in Americe.But I am not sure of where to start and how to start.As you mentioned in your previous about a man working in Maryland with Indian MSW, could you please help me out on how to start with the career in America with India MSW.

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DadMike in Maryland

25 months ago

nikky in Hyderabad, India said: Hi DadMike

I am here again for your guidance.I have completed my MSW in india and I am looking for more opportunities in Americe.But I am not sure of where to start and how to start.As you mentioned in your previous about a man working in Maryland with Indian MSW, could you please help me out on how to start with the career in America with India MSW.

Easiest thing to do-- check out job postings on Indeed! Also- government agencies in US have their own websites. Child welfare agencies are pepertually hiring in most places- I'd suggest researching a few states in which you'd like to live, and check out their personel websites. Maryland's site can be found Googling "Maryland Department of Budget and Management." Credentials and job duties and such are usually outlined quite clearly.
My friend (recently promoted- so now he's a supervisor with an MSW from India) took a job in child welfare-- his MSW was from Indore School of Social Work, Indore, M.P. in India. (I just asked him- he's in the office next to mine.) He's only lived in US for about 6 years- so it is very possible to work your way up, no matter how recently you have arrived in country.
He told me that he US Social Work Council of Accreditation accepted his degree without question-- which is a good thing- alot of degrees aren't accepted like that across nations. He became licensed over here after he took the job- in Maryland govt. service you can be hired as an unlicensed caseworker- and get a promotion for passing your licensing exam.

Hope this helps!

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nikky in Hyderabad, India

25 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Easiest thing to do-- check out job postings on Indeed! Also- government agencies in US have their own websites. Child welfare agencies are pepertually hiring in most places- I'd suggest researching a few states in which you'd like to live, and check out their personel websites. Maryland's site can be found Googling "Maryland Department of Budget and Management." Credentials and job duties and such are usually outlined quite clearly.
My friend (recently promoted- so now he's a supervisor with an MSW from India) took a job in child welfare-- his MSW was from Indore School of Social Work, Indore, M.P. in India. (I just asked him- he's in the office next to mine.) He's only lived in US for about 6 years- so it is very possible to work your way up, no matter how recently you have arrived in country.
He told me that he US Social Work Council of Accreditation accepted his degree without question-- which is a good thing- alot of degrees aren't accepted like that across nations. He became licensed over here after he took the job- in Maryland govt. service you can be hired as an unlicensed caseworker- and get a promotion for passing your licensing exam.

Hope this helps!

Thanks a ton DadMike...

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DadMike in Maryland

25 months ago

nikky in Hyderabad, India said: Thanks a ton DadMike...

Good luck to you!
I will add - one thing we don't have over here is Industrial Social Work. I believe that's something unique to India. All that type of stuff is handled by personel departments here, and they aren't social workers!

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nikky in Hyderabad, India

25 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Good luck to you!
I will add - one thing we don't have over here is Industrial Social Work. I believe that's something unique to India. All that type of stuff is handled by personel departments here, and they aren't social workers!

Hi DadMike,

Thanks a lot for providing valuable information

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Nikki in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

21 months ago

I have read several of your comments and agree with most; however, which ever degree you decide to pursue in Social Work, it will be taxing. I love my field, but you should not enter it if you don't have a passion for it. In order to obtain financial gain, let's face it... when one invests this much time and money to educate yourself one would like not to be poor and make a comfortable living like any other degreed person...1) You most obtain a 4 year degree in social science field ( likely SW) 2) then you must obtain your MSW- this will take you 3 to 4 semesters depending on your undergrad GPA- you are required to complete interns in your MSW program. 3) This is when it gets tricky- at this point no mater what work you have completed pre graduate degree... It is useless! Most jobs consider your experience post graduate. So at this point it is not uncommon for your income to drop lower than what it was pre MSW. Now lets talk about the LCSW/lLICSW! Depending on your state, after graduation is when you are allowed to take your first national test- LMSW/LMSW/GSW.. Don't be fooled, though the word "license" is used to describe this... It is truly a certificate and useless and does not allow you to engage in clinical work independently. The point of it is to weed out candidates because the field can be over saturated 4) only after the first national test is passed are u allowed to sit for the LCSW. Now to get to this point you must have passed the LMSW and completed 2 years of employment ( typically full time employment) working under a LCSW ( typically this LCSW must have some type of specific training to supervise). This is what hey call supervision. Word of caution...if you don't find a job that offers free supervision, you must pay if you want your LCSW. The cheapest going rate I know of is $60. per hour. Supervision is typically 1 hour weekly for 2 years . Some states have limitations on group supervision. Point is, don't expect to get your ...

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Nikki in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

21 months ago

LCSW less than 3 years after you graduate.... And that's if you pass the test the first time! At this point your income increases a little.... I don't know, you have to have thick skin to do this! A lot of low pay, poor supervision aspects while completing LCSW and after after the fact in regular employment. PhD/DSW... Really don't need it if your not planning to teach or complete research! As much as I love what I do, I am a LCSW, I wrestle with the fact if it was worth it. There are many issues, I.E, I don't think NASW advocates enough for the field, field is completed un-unified- too many different requirements in each state- reciprocity not offered in many states, grossly underpaid and over worked- constant unrealistic caseloads(who's really going to see 250-350 clients in a month for therapy- wright their treatment plans- and complete session notes, working unreasonable amount of hours and not being paid for them because employers have used federal labor laws against you and classify you as salary instead of hourly etc), constant changes and unnecessary red tape, useless redundant paperwork, obsolete technology, not enough support/ mentors guiding you when you want to become independent, social worker tend to advocate for everyone else and not on topics to make the field better for us, field is not respected which is why the atmosphere is that of anyone can do a SW's job- nurses/psych/LPC's- which allows our wages to be lower than our worth after 9 years of education and training and 2 national test and negative national attention because everyone thinks we work for Child-Welfare and remove children from their homes! This is my opinion! The best advice I can give you is to make sure you love social work. Make sure you are going into the field for the right reasons and not to "fix people". Your clients must choose to make their own changes and improvements just like you! Complete your education while you are young with NO breaks! I have...

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Nikki in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

21 months ago

Desire to leave my field. The rewards are boundless if you choose to perceive it that way! After all we are all looking at life through our on perspective lenses!

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Nikki in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

21 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.

AMEN!!!

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JoshuaTodd in Lynbrook, New York

21 months ago

So Nikki, do you mind if I ask what government agency you work for and if you enjoy what you do in the agency ?

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Prabha in Newark, Delaware

7 months ago

Hi

Has anyone with foreign MSW degree applied for the ISWDRES/CSWE accredidation to work in US.I am from india and have done MSW. I have nearly 9 yrs exp. Very recently i moved to US and looking out for MSW jobs. If anyone have details about getting a Social work job with foreign MSW in US pls advice.

Thank you

Prabha

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Murrutia in Houston, Texas

7 months ago

Hello,
I find this forum very informative and am grateful to have come across it now thatI've applied to a few MSW programs. I hope to hear back very soon! One of my concerns about this degree is whether it opens up the possibility for working abroad. If so, what are some of the choices I could make during my studies to guarantee I can use my degree to work in the EU? (I have dual citizenship) Also, are there international, accredited MSW programs that would allow me to work in the US if I wanted to return?

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BCSW in Surrey, British Columbia

6 months ago

Murrutia, where are you hoping to work in the EU? I know the UK has a fairly standardized (though rigorous) process for validating non-UK social work credentials, and most North American credentials are deemed legitimate provided you keep course outlines/program paperwork for the relevant board to review. As far as internationally-accredited MSW programs, Canada's MSW programs, as long as they're accredited by the CASWE (our regulatory body for SW education), are automatically recognized as legitimate by the CSWE in the US. There's an agreement between the American and Canadian SW councils for SW education that allows for this transferability.

Having said the above, licensure is a totally separate issue. Even if you have an MSW degree that is considered valid for practice in the UK, Canada, or the US, you'd still need to follow protocol for obtaining actual licensure (in a US state), registration (in a Canadian province), or qualification (in the UK), in order to practice. Each jurisdiction has its own criteria/standards for granting a practice license, even if your MSW is recognized.

On a separate note, does anyone here have an MSW and a PhD in a discipline that's related to SW, but not SW specifically? I will be starting a PhD in public health shortly, after having been a health care SW for the past five years, and I'm wondering what sort of work people are doing with that combination. Ideally, I would want to pursue an academic career in post-secondary education (teaching/research), but I'm open to working in a research-related role in a government or non-profit health setting. All SW profs I've had in the past have reassured me that I would be able to teach in a faculty of SW with a SW-related PhD, provided I have the MSW and practice experience (which I do).

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On the MSW boat in Studio City, California

2 months ago

PW in Detroit, Michigan said: I graduated a year ago with a MSW degree. I have no post degree experience and other than my internships have not worked directly in this field. I am contemplating applying for a PhD program, but like many others I don't really know if this is the right thing to do. I am frustrated because I have not found a job yet, and really do want to get busy doing something. While I have no particular interest in teaching, I do enjoy research and was an excellent student. It would be interesting to hear comments.

I am in the same boat as you! i graduated a year ago with my MSW but have not found anything in the field that i feel i want to do. I do not want to open my own practice, and was macro focused as an MSW. I am looking at PsyD programs now just for the clinical experience but I really would rather do research. But my MSW degree cost over 100k from a private university and the PsyD program would double my debt ...

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