thoughts on Social Work PhD degrees

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socialwkr in Missouri

52 months ago

Christine in Edison, New Jersey said: My specific question: What skills and personal traits are beneficial for doing well in a PhD degree program?

A big one I think is you have to like/love doing researh. I looked at the PhD program, but while I like reading about research endeavors of social work.......I do not like doing research!!! I ran as fast as I could <LOL> Some people love research though!

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DadMike in Maryland

51 months ago

Tony in Albuquerque, New Mexico said: Hello everyone - this is a great question and I agree with much of what has been said. My thoughts on the subject stem from completing my undergraduate 14 years ago and recently retiring (two years ago) from the United States Air Force. I will begin the MSW Program this August and finish in May 2011.

I would tell anyone a big consideration must be "what do you want your professional identity to be?" In my experience, if you have a PhD or a MSW, natural talent and people skills you will obviously be respected; however, I believe the PhD is seen as the absolute authority on the subject and is less likely to be questioned. I believe this would be especially true among the MDs.

THE BOTTOM LINE FOLKS - do not take a break from school until you have the last degree you want. Suck it up and stay in at least one class a semester until you’re finished. A good friend told me this in 1995! Believe me--time flies.

I believe a PhD will give you more flexibility as you mature such as being an online professor or teaching school at night. I hope to pursue a PhD immediately after completing the MSW--of course I've wanted to teach night school for years.

Good Luck Everyone!!!

Truth be told- and I've been in social work for over 20 years, in social work management for the last 5- PhD holds no weight in social work. The only thing you can do over the MSW is be a full professor.
Social workers always need to work with psychologists for testing, psychiatrists and/or general MDs for med management in clinical settings; the social work Phd is useless in those settings.
In private agencies & govt. agencies, there is no separate classification for DSW.
They are paid at the MSW level.
We avoid hiring DSWs, esp. right after school. They are no more qualified for direct work than a fresh MSW, but they come in with attitudes like they should run the place.

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ray in Monroe, Louisiana

51 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Truth be told- and I've been in social work for over 20 years, in social work management for the last 5- PhD holds no weight in social work. The only thing you can do over the MSW is be a full professor.
Social workers always need to work with psychologists for testing, psychiatrists and/or general MDs for med management in clinical settings; the social work Phd is useless in those settings.
In private agencies & govt. agencies, there is no separate classification for DSW.
They are paid at the MSW level.
We avoid hiring DSWs, esp. right after school. They are no more qualified for direct work than a fresh MSW, but they come in with attitudes like they should run the place.

that is one area of concern i have because i am thinking of getting a PhD in Social work but the GRE requirement is wild. I am looking at programs that don't require it, however, I did glance at a DSW Program. I was told that you can work in any discipline with a DSW? Is this true?

If i don't get accepted in a PhD in Social Work or Social Welfare Program I will be applying to a Sociology program. But I am really interested in what you know about DSW program.

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DadMike in Maryland

51 months ago

ray in Monroe, Louisiana said: that is one area of concern i have because i am thinking of getting a PhD in Social work but the GRE requirement is wild. I am looking at programs that don't require it, however, I did glance at a DSW Program. I was told that you can work in any discipline with a DSW? Is this true?

If i don't get accepted in a PhD in Social Work or Social Welfare Program I will be applying to a Sociology program. But I am really interested in what you know about DSW program.

Programs vary state to state.
In Maryland, DSW is not needed unless you want to be a full professor.
What degree should you get? Depends on your goals.
If you want to be a therapist, child welfare worker, medical case planner, crisis intervention specialist- you want to get an MSW.
If you want to work in research and academia- a PhD is the way to go; DSW or Sociology- you're best off researching the different programs.
With any degree, you can work anywhere someone is willing to hire you!!
Plenty of MSWs burn out and open restaurants, get jobs in banks, become salespeople, etc.

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socialwkr in Missouri

51 months ago

Social Work Safety in Brunswick, Maine said: IT’S ALL NEW!

This 6 hour training course is modeled after the very popular 8 hour training course “Personal Safety Training for Social Workers©.”

This all new online course includes 23 sections of content specific to social workers, case mangers and anyone else that interacts with public and is concerned about their safety! This course includes a post-test after each section to enhance your learning experience.

This training INCLUDES a copy of the Personal Safety Training© manual!!! You get both, the Personal Safety Training© manual, a $29.95 value, and the 6-hour training course all for one incredibly low price of just $60.00. www.social-work-safety.com/

Upon completion of this course, you will receive a certificate of completion for 6 contact hours of training.

Does this course come with a bullet proof vest; pepper spray and a taser?!? My hat goes off to the field workers in these environments, and I strongly believe that if a social worker has to go in a neighborhood/and or home that provides an unsafe environment that social workers should be provided with safety training by their organization.......and if deemed appropriate to at least carry some pepper spray!

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Ray

51 months ago

I fully agree because we are doing work that is sometimes if not all the time dangerous

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Ray

51 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Programs vary state to state.
In Maryland, DSW is not needed unless you want to be a full professor.
What degree should you get? Depends on your goals.
If you want to be a therapist, child welfare worker, medical case planner, crisis intervention specialist- you want to get an MSW.
If you want to work in research and academia- a PhD is the way to go; DSW or Sociology- you're best off researching the different programs.
With any degree, you can work anywhere someone is willing to hire you!!
Plenty of MSWs burn out and open restaurants, get jobs in banks, become salespeople, etc.

I will be doing congregrational social work upon my graduation however I want to do more research. I have do my research in PhD programs. I am seriously considering Sociology because they better equip you to do quantative research. Which I want to get more skill in doing. My program is more research focused and clinical so I feel I will be a great social worker once I graduate this May, but not to blow my own horn of course lol

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Jen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

51 months ago

I am an LCSW who has worked in private practice for two years with traumatized children. Though it is very rewarding, I've found myself becoming drained and am already experiencing burn-out. I'm debating a career switch to either working with a more diverse population (adults, less PTSD, etc) to help with the burn-out issue, but I'm also interested in working on a more macro/policy level. I've been thinking about pursuing my MBA to help me out with this. Does anyone have any ideas of career possibilities that would combine the LCSW and MBA?

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Tony in Albuquerque, New Mexico

51 months ago

Hi Jen

I'm a retired Air Force Guy who is graduating (Lord Willing) this year with my MSW and MBA. A good friend of mine who has been in federal service for about 15 years advised me to do the dual degree program. He stated if he had taken advantage of the MSW/MPH Program offered at Tulane he would have far more options open to him. He specifically mentioned the issue of burnout and stated if he had his MPH he could be sitting around counting numbers--sounded less stressful.

FYI-I have completed just over 18 hours of business classes and I can tell you the accounting and management sciences (solving business problems with math) were very challenging. Given all of that I've very pleased with the options I anticipate having. In general I have received very positive feedback about the dual degree program.

From what I have learned if you pursue an MBA be ready to supervise. To me it's very similar to the question "should I pursue a PhD?" The general consensus of this thread has been you do not need a PhD unless you want to be a full professor or conduct research. I hope this helps.

Happy New Years Everyone!!!

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anuradha_srn in Muscat, Oman

51 months ago

HI...this is anuradha,m i done my MSW (pm&ir) and I was told by someone who has already finished having a PHD gives you more opportunities in the field. What do you think? what are the pros and cons and i want do my phd in newzealand and any Can you tell me which university abvaliblity in social work in newzealand What personal benefits/advantages and acorrs how much we t have to pay in fees is there in newzealand ... coud everyone reply me ...

Thanks for any info:-)
Anuradha.m

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socialwkr in Missouri

51 months ago

Jen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin said: I am an LCSW who has worked in private practice for two years with traumatized children. Though it is very rewarding, I've found myself becoming drained and am already experiencing burn-out. I'm debating a career switch to either working with a more diverse population (adults, less PTSD, etc) to help with the burn-out issue, but I'm also interested in working on a more macro/policy level. I've been thinking about pursuing my MBA to help me out with this. Does anyone have any ideas of career possibilities that would combine the LCSW and MBA?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Hey Jen! That is what I love about the MSW degree, there are individuals who are Directors of Agencies with MSWs, no MBA needed from what I see. Most of the non for profit and agencies I have seen, do not have people with MBAs over them, because quite frankly.....you need people in charge who know about human services! I have worked in a position before with my MSW where I worked in assisting in getting grant funding. We get policy and planning in our BSW and MSW programs don't forget!
Many universities hire MSW/LCSW as the adjunct faculty to teach clinical courses too, so there could be different opportunities with the degree and experience you have now in that arena.
I had thought about also getting a MPH, but did not want to financially extend myself too much with college loans. I have found that my MSW in Missouri is pretty sufficient to cross over to management in human service settings.
For someone interested in only doing business, then a MBA would be beneficial of course! If you are wanting though to remain in the social work field itself, the MSW degree by itself should get you there.
Best wishes to your endeavors!

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Maria in West Bloomfield, Michigan

51 months ago

You might all want to double check that your MSW degrees, particularly if they are distance learning/online are certified by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). If the MSW is not from a certified school it will be next to impossible for you to get a job as a social worker because your employer will not be able to get you insured.

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DadMike in Maryland

51 months ago

Ray said: I will be doing congregrational social work upon my graduation however I want to do more research. I have do my research in PhD programs. I am seriously considering Sociology because they better equip you to do quantative research. Which I want to get more skill in doing. My program is more research focused and clinical so I feel I will be a great social worker once I graduate this May, but not to blow my own horn of course lol

Be careful- depending on what state you live in, if you degree is in Sociology, not Social Work, it may be illegal to state you are a social worker. Phd for research/professorship is not a bad thing at all; for front-line social work practice, not needed/could hinder.
But unless the degree is specificaly in Social Work, in many f not most states you cannot legegally practice social work.

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DadMike in Maryland

51 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Be careful- depending on what state you live in, if you degree is in Sociology, not Social Work, it may be illegal to state you are a social worker. Phd for research/professorship is not a bad thing at all; for front-line social work practice, not needed/could hinder.
But unless the degree is specificaly in Social Work, in many f not most states you cannot legegally practice social work.

Oops- I should add: Even worse, if you came to work for the state in an entry-level caseworker's job, you'd be classified at the BA level; only MSWs can get promoted above caseworker; we have several Masters's in Psych that are on the BA scale because, at least in Maryland, a Master's in Psych is a sadly unmarketable degree.

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Kevin in New Haven, Connecticut

51 months ago

It was fantastic to stumble across this forum. However, I do have some questions:

My professional background includes a BSW, MPH (behavioral health sciences) and I obtained a prestigious int’l research scholarship. My area of interest is *briefly* physical health’s impact (i.e. HIV/AIDS, heart disease, etc) on one’s psychological/mental function (loss of quality of life, impact of behavioral interventions and preventive medicine). As I like options and attempt to avoid being pigeonholed, I am interested in a career where I can 1. See patients (But I have no interest in being a MD) 2. Do research (I love the intellect stimulation and furthering the prospective field) 3. Administration (I would like my career to plateau as Dean or Head of a policy-relevant institution) 4. Teach (not my immediate interest, but I’m sure I will want this opportunity at some point in my career). I had only considered a PhD in clinical psychology, with a concentration in health psychology until I realized an MSW/PhD may provide the same unique opportunities (and utilize my BSW background). The key is finding a faculty member that specializes in medical social work and develops interventions (using the SW theories). I have come to find that is a much more difficult task in the SW PhD realm than in the clinical health psych PhD programs – but the programs are out there!

What I am specifically curious about is: Does an MSW/PhD program have as much versatility as I am imagining? If I am interested in some clinical work (part-time) would there be an advantage to clinical psych vs MSW (I’m not interested in conducting psychological testing)? To do psychotherapy or group work, is an LCSW required and how would this fit into the MSW/PhD program? Are PhD SW candidates more likely to obtain a top tier position in gov’t agencies? Is a focus on medical social work (providing counseling to those w/ physical ailments) a rarity? Thanks!!

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socialwkr in Missouri

51 months ago

Kevin in New Haven, Connecticut said: Part I......To do psychotherapy or group work, is an LCSW required and how would this fit into the MSW/PhD program? Are PhD SW candidates more likely to obtain a top tier position in gov’t agencies? Is a focus on medical social work (providing counseling to those w/ physical ailments) a rarity? Thanks!!

Hi Kevin.....while each state is different for social work licensure, most all states require that the highest social work license---which is usually the LCSW have at least 2 years of supervision before licensure can be obtained. Here in Missouri 2010, Missouri started a new law which requires one to be a LMSW before getting approval for supervision to become a LCSW. One obtains the LMSW by taking the Masters level Social Work National Exam (I believe it is not $275).

So, depending on your time-frame with what you want to do, if you do decide to get your MSW and you want to do clinical work----you can estimate that you will need to work full time for two years in a clinical setting getting supervision. If you only work part-time, this will only further extend your time frame on getting your social work clinical license.

In most states, you cannot engage in any clinical work (i.e. therapy) without a clinical license.

This may sound like pigeon holing, which is what you don't want......BUT since becoming a clinical social work takes you in a different direction than becoming a researcher (ie....licensure requirements, etc..

I found in my graduate program, that the best teachers were the adjunct MSW's who taught part time and had their own practice.

You will probably find that medical social work will be phased out if you look at the settings. Most define medical social workers in the health settings as calling for services and resources. In Home Health settings, the MSW cannot provide therapy or counseling (Medicare standards) even if they have a license.

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socialwkr in Missouri

51 months ago

Part II---Kevin, you may find more flexibility with pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology if you want to actual do both research and see clients on a part time basis.

Some states are very stringent when it comes to the work a MSW has to do before being able to get a LCSW. Some states specifically require you to have direct client therapy work as part of supervision requirements.

Social workers in hospitals, hospice and home health (medical settings) do not do therapy or counseling. If one is a home health social worker and the client may benefit from therapy/counseling, the only role of the social worker is to provide the client with information on therapists. The social work cannot engage in therapy his/herself in that setting. I honestly don't know if there is any such thing any more from what I have seen as medical social work, because unfortunatley.....social workers in these settings are only considered discharge planners. The nurses are often the case-managers working with the patients, family and physicians.

A former hospital social work case-manager who got pigeon holes into a discharge planner once her hospital adopted nurse case-managers.........is now working as a Director in a mental health setting and said that social workers are better respected and are the gurus in the mental health setting.

Good luck, and congratulations on your research scholarship!

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Ray in Killeen, Texas

51 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Oops- I should add: Even worse, if you came to work for the state in an entry-level caseworker's job, you'd be classified at the BA level; only MSWs can get promoted above caseworker; we have several Masters's in Psych that are on the BA scale because, at least in Maryland, a Master's in Psych is a sadly unmarketable degree.

OOps I should add I will have a MSW in May 2011 then start A PhD in Social Welfare so I will more than qualified to become a researcher within the social work field.

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Ray in Killeen, Texas

51 months ago

socialwkr in Missouri said: Part II---Kevin, you may find more flexibility with pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology if you want to actual do both research and see clients on a part time basis.

Some states are very stringent when it comes to the work a MSW has to do before being able to get a LCSW. Some states specifically require you to have direct client therapy work as part of supervision requirements.

Social workers in hospitals, hospice and home health (medical settings) do not do therapy or counseling. If one is a home health social worker and the client may benefit from therapy/counseling, the only role of the social worker is to provide the client with information on therapists. The social work cannot engage in therapy his/herself in that setting. I honestly don't know if there is any such thing any more from what I have seen as medical social work, because unfortunatley.....social workers in these settings are only considered discharge planners. The nurses are often the case-managers working with the patients, family and physicians.

A former hospital social work case-manager who got pigeon holes into a discharge planner once her hospital adopted nurse case-managers.........is now working as a Director in a mental health setting and said that social workers are better respected and are the gurus in the mental health setting.

Good luck, and congratulations on your research scholarship!

I was thinking about doing a PhD in Clinical Psychology in Alaska there is a 5 yrs committment but thereward do really out weight the time ocommittment. its a great field to be honest I thought about appllying to one myself.

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Kevin in New Haven, Connecticut

51 months ago

Thanks for the introspective advice socialwkr! I think you are correct: a clinical psych doctorate probably better suits my career interests. Unfortunately I have not undertaken much didactic training in psychology, so hopefully my social work/public health coursework will enhance and not hinder the psychology application.

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socialwkr in Missouri

50 months ago

Kevin, choosing the type of PhD program is a tough decision, and I wish you well! I think most Universities are looking for diverse students with different degree backgrounds to apply to their PhD programs, so probably as long as you have an understanding of didactic training in psychology and you can highlight the areas you have learned.....that would definitely help! It's not as if you got your degree in Basket Weaving or Literature! lol And also with obtaining your international research scholarship that looks excellent too for an applicant pursuing a higher degree.

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Keith in Rockville, Maryland

50 months ago

valerie in Capitol Heights, Maryland said: That is nice to hear. This is also a reason as to why some people don't want to pursue licensure.

I am interested in getting my clinical license. I want to ask if you can tutor me in preparing for the examine. Thank you!

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Anelim in New York, New York

48 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

Hi Tony,

You are planning on doing a joint MBA and Social Work degree? Can you please tell me about that?

I am looking to go back to school but unsure if it should be for social work or business. A dual degree in both sounds interesting, if that is what you were referring to.

Thanks!

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Sarah Ann Higgins in Birmingham, Alabama

48 months ago

I do love getting the updates to this forum! I still love to help new MSW's with their clinical supervision and preparation for the exam. NOW, some "motherly" advice for the new people considering the Social Work career path from someone who has been a "front-line" social worker for 21 years. I realize that if had I gone the path my father wanted me to at the time I entered grad school (1988), my life would have turned out very differently. But, friends who DID go to law school or business school rather than getting their MSW are just as stressed out as I am, work as many hours or more than I do, and still have to juggle family life. HOWEVER, at least they are being compensated MUCH better...in some cases 3 or 4 times as much as my salary. I highly endorse the new comers to "dual degree" if they can! The MSW alone will pay the bills, but there may be times - especially as a single mom - that you will struggle and juggle to keep everything paid as well as food in the fridge, gas in the car, money for afterschool care. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful family that has supported and helped me during the lean times (2 layoffs in 3 years!!!). And, I can't imagine doing anything else in the world...once a social worker, always a social worker! HAPPY SOCIAL WORKERS MONTH TO EVERYONE!!!!

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Tony in Albuquerque, New Mexico

48 months ago

Hi Anelim (P.S. Great post Sarah)

Yes, I am completing my MSW this July and I should finish my MBA in December. The dual degree has several advantages:

1) I only have to complete an additional 19 semester hours for the MBA, because the second year of my MSW fills requirements for both degrees;NOTE: my undergrad is not in business.

2) The MBA will have advantages when it comes to filling supervisory jobs or simply being competitive for hiring;

3)MSW's are often supervisors so understanding the business side particularly Human Resources is a real advantage.

4) Finally, in this world of outsourcing it is very difficult to outsource social services and on-site management.

5) Finally, the MSW/MBA opens up so many different opportunities for employment as there are far fewer people who have both degree's.

I regards to pursuing an MSW or an MBA I would ask you "what is your passion?" If you really enjoy working with and helping people go for the MSW. Good luck.

Tony B

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Nina in Brooklyn, New York

48 months ago

Hi all. I am getting my MSW right now and would like to go into private practice. I would really like to work with high functioning adults and do marriage counseling. I can take the exam after graduation to become and LMSW, but it sounds like getting my LCSW will take years - 3,000 hours of clinical supervision (and how do I get a supervisor anyway?). However, I also heard that getting a PhD (in any field) would mean I could be a therapist without having to get my C. Advice? I do not want to research - I just want to start my career as a therapist ASAP.

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Sarah Ann Higgins in Birmingham, Alabama

48 months ago

Hey Nina!
Congrats on getting your MSW! Getting a PhD to avoid the clinical hours necessary for your LCSW kinda negates the MSW in the first place, don't you think? Stick with your MSW - the best way to get good clinical supervision would be to start out in an agency setting and work under / with other LCSW's. And there is something to be proud of when you do get your LCSW - it proves to others that you have been supervised by a licensed, experienced social worker and you are ready to practice on your own. And believe me, the time will go by VERY quickly! GOOD LUCK!
Sarah Ann

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Ray

48 months ago

Sarah Ann Higgins in Birmingham, Alabama said: Hey Nina!
Congrats on getting your MSW! Getting a PhD to avoid the clinical hours necessary for your LCSW kinda negates the MSW in the first place, don't you think? Stick with your MSW - the best way to get good clinical supervision would be to start out in an agency setting and work under / with other LCSW's. And there is something to be proud of when you do get your LCSW - it proves to others that you have been supervised by a licensed, experienced social worker and you are ready to practice on your own. And believe me, the time will go by VERY quickly! GOOD LUCK!
Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann you offer great advice!! This is my perspective. I graduate with my MSW this MAY 2011, I will be doing a PhD in Sociology this Fall on a part time basis so that I can become a LCSW in 3 yrs and gain post master experience. I will take my licensing exam this summer and start supervision after that.

Again if your goals are become a LCSW and professor get the PH.d because you will need it to become one
Or if you want to be a adjunct either a LMSW or a LCSW will get you that route and you still can work alongside assistant and tenured professors in research.

My advice is follow your heart and a way will be provided trust me.

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Nina in Brooklyn, New York

48 months ago

Thanks guys! That definitely makes a lot of sense. I have heard so many mixed opinions but this forum seems to have consensus. Amazing! Now, how would I go about getting a supervisor? Is this something I have to pay someone to do for me?

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Ray

48 months ago

Nina in Brooklyn, New York said: Thanks guys! That definitely makes a lot of sense. I have heard so many mixed opinions but this forum seems to have consensus. Amazing! Now, how would I go about getting a supervisor? Is this something I have to pay someone to do for me?

If your a member of NASW which I strongly encourage you to join before you graduate in order to keep the discount after you graduate, they have a list of board approved supervisors in the US

Or if your agency has a supervisor ask if they can do it for free. Sometimes you can find supervisors who won't charge very high for supervisor, but most of the pay you will have to pay someone.

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Nina in Brooklyn, New York

48 months ago

Thank you! Great advice all of you!!

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socialwkr in Missouri

48 months ago

Nina in Brooklyn, New York said: Thanks guys! That definitely makes a lot of sense. I have heard so many mixed opinions but this forum seems to have consensus. Amazing! Now, how would I go about getting a supervisor? Is this something I have to pay someone to do for me?

Hi Nina, if you are able to find employment and be supervised by an agency LCSW........then that probably would be more convenient. I am not suure how other states are, but for those type of supervision situations here in Missouri, the employee would not have to pay since the supervision is going on during their employment. Missouri requires 4 hours of face to face supervision, some may be telephonic, but again if the social worker is getting this while employed, they may be able to use their work time for their required contact with their licensure supervisor. That may vary between agencies. I would assume that other states also have some type of direct face to face contact requirement with the licensure supervisor. I was blessed, because while there were no LCSWs where I was working, a LCSW I had met in the past offered to supervise me for free because someone supervised her for free.

I would assume that most of the LCSWs who do supervision for those outside their agency, do charge the supervisee. At first when I heard about that I was a little up in arms. BUT, after really looking at everything a LCSW supervisor has to do, I can see why......I do think some do charge a little much though. In Missouri now, they for example require a supervision course before being able to supervise. The local NASW chapter charges over $200 for this......so I can see where costs can be incurred for being a supervisor. The Missouri Board of Social Work also requires a certain amount of CEU's for licensure renewal in the area of supervision for supervisors.

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socialwkr in Missouri

48 months ago

I think the best way to find a good LCSW for supervision is by networking.......attending local workshops, getting to know fellow social workers, etc. "Word of mouth" as well. Always as well check your state organization that licenses social workers to ensure the LCSW has a valid license.

Because supervision is going to foster a close relationship, in that there will be constant contact for at minimum 2 years.......we have to ensure that our values, beliefs and social work goals are the same. That way one won't end up in a situation where they may end their contract, and then potentially having to possiblly lose supervision time while trying to find another LCSW to supervise them. That LCSW supervisor also has to be trustworthy and reliable because there are timeframes they have to meet and that can impact us being able to get our licensure if they don't complete certain documents, or if they miss required direct contact monthly meetins, etc.

That is why I think it is easier and convenient to be supervised when the LCSW supervisor is working in the same agency.

In Missouri, even if someone has a PhD in social work, that is not an automatic "license". A person with a Doctorate in Social Work still needs to have 3,000 hours of supervision. Three thousand hours sounds like a long time, but it goes pretty fast. Typically it takes only 2 years of full time employment.

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Matthew in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

47 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? T hank you!!

I'm starting an MSW program next year, and have thought about going further and getting a PhD. I really feel that getting an MSW, working a while, then going back and getting a PhD would be the way to go. I mean, think back to your SW professors, most of them had some sort of practical experience in SW before getting their PhD. Another thing is that people on here seem to think getting a PhD is like getting any other degree, where you get in and work pretty hard, and poof I'm Dr. So and So. Doctoral programs are extremely stressful, and not everybody finishes them. For example, my father-in-law got a PhD in accounting, and he said the last two years of the program he was eating baby food because he was so stressed out and nauseous all the time. But, intellectual snobbery being what it is, I'm sure others who read this will think I'm an Idiot, and thats ok, people have a right to their opinions. But personally,I would feel like a phony if I got a PhD and did not have some real experience in SW, and by real I don't mean our field placements.

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DadMike in Maryland

47 months ago

Matthew in Murfreesboro, Tennessee said: I'm starting an MSW program next year, and have thought about going further and getting a PhD. I really feel that getting an MSW, working a while, then going back and getting a PhD would be the way to go. I mean, think back to your SW professors, most of them had some sort of practical experience in SW before getting their PhD. Another thing is that people on here seem to think getting a PhD is like getting any other degree, where you get in and work pretty hard, and poof I'm Dr. So and So. Doctoral programs are extremely stressful, and not everybody finishes them. For example, my father-in-law got a PhD in accounting, and he said the last two years of the program he was eating baby food because he was so stressed out and nauseous all the time. But, intellectual snobbery being what it is, I'm sure others who read this will think I'm an Idiot, and thats ok, people have a right to their opinions. But personally,I would feel like a phony if I got a PhD and did not have some real experience in SW, and by real I don't mean our field placements.

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.".

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socialwkr in Missouri

47 months ago

Matthew in Murfreesboro, Tennessee said: I'm starting an MSW program next year, and have thought about going further and getting a PhD. I really feel that getting an MSW, working a while, then going back and getting a PhD would be the way to go. I mean, think back to your SW professors, most of them had some sort of practical experience in SW before getting their PhD. Another thing is that people on here seem to think getting a PhD is like getting any other degree, where you get in and work pretty hard, and poof I'm Dr. So and So. Doctoral programs are extremely stressful, and not everybody finishes them. For example, my father-in-law got a PhD in accounting, and he said the last two years of the program he was eating baby food because he was so stressed out and nauseous all the time. But, intellectual snobbery being what it is, I'm sure others who read this will think I'm an Idiot, and thats ok, people have a right to their opinions. But personally,I would feel like a phony if I got a PhD and did not have some real experience in SW, and by real I don't mean our field placements.

I went to a great university, but from what I have seen Universities want their PhD professors to be focused on "research" and bringing in money related to grants and research. There were a couple of faculty who did not even teach, they primarily did their research. I had at least 3 MSW/LCSW who were adjunct faculty and they taught a lot of the social work practice courses...which made sense to me because they were actually out in the "real" world doing social work. Some of the older PhD faculty who had not practiced for 15+ years I found a little out of touch with what was going on now in social work practice. If you love research and enjoy research the PhD in Social Work is beneficial. However, if you don't like doing research then it may not be something worth pursuing.

Good luck in your endeavors!

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fostercare in Charlottesville, Virginia

47 months ago

Whoa - spelling & grammar.

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lulu in Gaithersburg, Maryland

47 months ago

question and advice - i have completed 11 credits in a msw program in dc. i still have to do my two years of internship. took time off for medical reasons so i'm behind a little. i'm told i must complete the program within four years because of licensing? anyway, my parter is losing his job and is being offered one possibly in durban, south africa. he would be working with hib/tb patients. does anyone know how it would work if i wantted to transfer there. i worry he won't know until the end of the summer or sept. school here begins at the end of august. i wonder if i can transfer. folks at my school are not very helpful unfortunately with questions such as this. i hate to stay in dc and complete the degree. obv i'd like to be with my partner in south africa. it looks like there is a school in durbin. i think i'd be ok if it were not for the fact that i took time off and am now being told it must be completed within four years and i've not yet done either field placement. if anyone has any advice, i'd really appreciate it. please do not say ask your school though :-) i've made NO progress with them. also if anyone has lived in south africa esp durbin (much different than cape town) let me know. thanks!

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c lo in Collingswood, New Jersey

47 months ago

wow! I'm about to graduate with a bsw, and know many people who have great job with this degree. They work for the state new jersey and have great pay and bennefits so why is everyone saying how hard it is to get a job unless you have a msw or more?

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DadMike in Maryland

46 months ago

c lo in Collingswood, New Jersey said: wow! I'm about to graduate with a bsw, and know many people who have great job with this degree. They work for the state new jersey and have great pay and bennefits so why is everyone saying how hard it is to get a job unless you have a msw or more?

All GREATLY depends upon which state you live in!!!

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Danie in Buffalo, New York

46 months ago

c lo in Collingswood, New Jersey said: wow! I'm about to graduate with a bsw, and know many people who have great job with this degree. They work for the state new jersey and have great pay and bennefits so why is everyone saying how hard it is to get a job unless you have a msw or more?

Pardon me, C Lo, but I'm very familiar with the tri-state area.......what jobs with the state are you talking about? I can only think that you could be talking about Child Protective Services (Child welfare), in which case the pay is decent but the work is very difficult for most. In the field of Social Work, MSW's are the required in order to truly BE a social worker. Unless u have went to graduate school, taken the licensing test and passed, u do not have the credentials to even call urself a Social Worker.

Furthermore, what one considers "great" is truly dependent on one's opinion. However, I can gguarantee u that the BEST jobs and MOST opportunities are offered to MSW's. Anyone who ha BSW should do themselves a favor and find an accelerated program where they can complete the MSW in one year. (Honestly, that is the only benefit to having a BSW versus bachelor's in sociology or human services or anything else).

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socialwkr in Missouri

46 months ago

Danie in Buffalo, New York said: Pardon me, C Lo, but I'm very familiar with the tri-state area.......what jobs with the state are you talking about? I can only think that you could be talking about Child Protective Services (Child welfare), in which case the pay is decent but the work is very difficult for most. In the field of Social Work, MSW's are the required in order to truly BE a social worker. Unless u have went to graduate school, taken the licensing test and passed, u do not have the credentials to even call urself a Social Worker.

Furthermore, what one considers "great" is truly dependent on one's opinion. However, I can gguarantee u that the BEST jobs and MOST opportunities are offered to MSW's. Anyone who ha BSW should do themselves a favor and find an accelerated program where they can complete the MSW in one year. (Honestly, that is the only benefit to having a BSW versus bachelor's in sociology or human services or anything else).

Missouri statute/law is not as stringent and an individual with a BSW or MSW can call themselves a "social worker". It does go on to further note that only those with a license in clinical social workers can call themselves a licensed clinical social worker, etc. I know each state is different! One of the hospital job titles here in Missouri I have seen for BSWs is "Associate Social Worker." When I saw some job postings, I thought that was interesting.

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c lo in Collingswood, New Jersey

46 months ago

Danie in Buffalo, New York said: Pardon me, C Lo, but I'm very familiar with the tri-state area.......what jobs with the state are you talking about? I can only think that you could be talking about Child Protective Services (Child welfare), in which case the pay is decent but the work is very difficult for most. In the field of Social Work, MSW's are the required in order to truly BE a social worker. Unless u have went to graduate school, taken the licensing test and passed, u do not have the credentials to even call urself a Social Worker.

Furthermore, what one considers "great" is truly dependent on one's opinion. However, I can gguarantee u that the BEST jobs and MOST opportunities are offered to MSW's. Anyone who ha BSW should do themselves a favor and find an accelerated program where they can complete the MSW in one year. (Honestly, that is the only benefit to having a BSW versus bachelor's in sociology or human services or anything else).

Actually, state of nj qualifies you with a bsw as long as you have 5 additional yeas experience which i do. LMAO who are u to say i cant call myself a social worker? I have the experience obviously if i was asked to fill in this position upon graduation. Hmmm you sound lill bitter.

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Danie in Buffalo, New York

46 months ago

c lo in Collingswood, New Jersey said: Actually, state of nj qualifies you with a bsw as long as you have 5 additional yeas experience which i do. LMAO who are u to say i cant call myself a social worker? I have the experience obviously if i was asked to fill in this position upon graduation. Hmmm you sound lill bitter.

Ok. I'm too intelligent for the silliness. U assume that I am an MSW that has complaints about the field as does previous posters. Not the case....I'm a student like yourself....going to grad school in the Fall for a dual degree in MSW/MPH. I have no reason to be bitter.

I was offering u the knowledge that I had. I wasn't saying that YOU couldn't call yourself a Social Worker.....I speaking as in no ONE can from the state's perspective.....not mine.

I'm not here to judge anyone. Pay attention.

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Kathy

46 months ago

There is no need to be disrespectful. We, BSW's - MSW's, are all working for the betterment of society. We need to work together and support each other not get so hung up on silly credentials.

Kathy MSW

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Danie in Buffalo, New York

46 months ago

Kathy said: There is no need to be disrespectful. We, BSW's - MSW's, are all working for the betterment of society. We need to work together and support each other not get so hung up on silly credentials.

Kathy MSW

I agree that we don't have to be disrespectful. However, the credentials do matter. I support anyone in the field....and to say that the credentials matter shouldn't mean that I don't.
I was just being honest. Saying the credentials doesn't matter is like saying a Nursing Assistant is the same as a Registered Nurse.

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Amorpheus11 in Davenport, Iowa

46 months ago

People that espouse the view that the level of degree does not matter usually have not attained to that degree. It is an accomplishment. One should not judge character based on education level and that is where people often become confused. A novice piano player may be as upstanding a citizen as a concert piano player: but in the realm of music, the latter deserves the greater respect.

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Kathy

46 months ago

I could not disagree more. You are a teeny, tiny bit full of yourself. Come down and join humankind, dear one. Get over yourself and stop judging. You are no better than anyone else, degree or not. Sorry to burst your bubble. :-)

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Tony in Albuquerque, New Mexico

46 months ago

I believe the credential matters when it comes to positions, pay and more opportunities. I also encourage BSW's to take advantage of the advanced standing--one more year will be well worth your time.

To state the obvious, a talented, compassionate, BSW can be more effective than someone with less talent who has an MSW. However, the reality is the BSW may very well find they are working for that MSW. Too often talented people fail to invest in themselves by earning education commensurate with their skill. There are of course numerous factors involved, family, finance and other priorities to name a few.

I just completed all of my MSW courses (finishing practicum) in May and I am on track to complete my MBA this December. I am very excited by the options I will have as a result of staying on this very long difficult road.

I wish everyone the best and I close by saying as I’ve followed this forum for almost two years it has been a great source of honest feedback and encouragement. Please, continue providing the feedback to this community. We are all better off by honestly sharing our experiences.

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DadMike in Maryland

46 months ago

Tony in Albuquerque, New Mexico said: I believe the credential matters when it comes to positions, pay and more opportunities. I also encourage BSW's to take advantage of the advanced standing--one more year will be well worth your time.

To state the obvious, a talented, compassionate, BSW can be more effective than someone with less talent who has an MSW. However, the reality is the BSW may very well find they are working for that MSW. Too often talented people fail to invest in themselves by earning education commensurate with their skill. There are of course numerous factors involved, family, finance and other priorities to name a few.

I just completed all of my MSW courses (finishing practicum) in May and I am on track to complete my MBA this December. I am very excited by the options I will have as a result of staying on this very long difficult road.

I wish everyone the best and I close by saying as I’ve followed this forum for almost two years it has been a great source of honest feedback and encouragement. Please, continue providing the feedback to this community. We are all better off by honestly sharing our experiences.

Absolutely correct. If you want to be granted full professional social works status in most states, you must be a licensed MSW. BSWs do a lot of good work; we have alot of BSWs and even human-service bachelor's levels folks at my agency; but they are frustrated when they learn the person doing the same job the are makes 6grand more per year because they have the MSW, and that they can never be promoted because they don't have their masters degree.
Nothing wrong with a BSW. But if that's your only credential, you will be greatly limited in income and career options as a social worker.

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