Here are four reasons from the National Association of Social Workers for why you should consider pursuing a graduate degree.
Authored by: Lauren Waldron
It’s never too late to start thinking about your future and career. Whether you are currently employed and considering applying to graduate school or a recent graduate from a Bachelor’s Program, a graduate degree in Social Work, Masters in Social Work, is a program that fits a wide variety of “callings.” NASW is giving you four reasons to apply for an MSW from an accredited school of social work to begin your career as a Social Worker.
- Advocate for underserved populations:
Social workers get to advocate for the most marginalized and vulnerable populations. At-risk populations require the most assistance from social workers, but they have the most difficult time effecting change in their life and in their community. Social workers serve and speak up on behalf of all human rights and social justice issues to preserve the dignity and worth of all persons (Code of Ethics).
- Social Work jobs are always in demand:
The demand for social workers is increasing as Federal and State Legislation impacts various parts of the country, Baby Boomers start aging, Mental Health needs continue to be a rising issue in health, and opioids continue to become a public health issue. The number of Social Workers in Health Care settings is projected to grow by 12%, which is faster than the average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For more information about choosing the Social Work Profession, purchase the NASW Press publication, “Choices” that describes the diversity of career options in detail.
- Obtain a skillset that spans multiple industries:
Social Workers are employed across diverse practice areas and host settings in Hospitals, Medical Centers, Private Practice, Government Agencies, Social Service Agencies, Academia, Clinics, and Outpatient Facilities. Social Workers have the option of specializing in a specific practice area: substance use, gerontology, mental health, health, school social work, forensic social work, child welfare, administration/supervision, etc. In most MSW Programs, there are opportunities to choose a specialization that represents the primary practice area a social worker ends up working in. An MSW Student is also required to complete Field Education that is similar to an internship and provides students with early, hands-on experiences as a social worker.
- Learn how to impact public policy:
Social Workers often have an active voice in policy, especially as a community social workers or attorneys. On a macro level, social workers advocate for large-scale social policy changes. As our political landscape evolves, it is important for policymakers to be connected to the lives of those most impacted by policy changes, which is where social workers intersect.
A Social Work Graduate Degree can translate into work outside traditional Social Work areas.
To get started applying for an MSW, browse the listing of Top 25 Schools of Social Work in the U.S., including the schools who are already registered for the 2017 NASW Virtual Grad Fair on Thursday, July 13 from 12PM to 4PM (EDT). Prospective social work students can register for FREE here: https://rebrand.ly/NASWVGF
Please note: You can have graduated from any Undergraduate Program and still be able to apply and enter an MSW Program. For those who are considering a Baccalaureate in Social Work, you can purchase the NASW Press Publication, “Baccalaureate Social Workers.”
Lauren Waldron is the Marketing Specialist at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in the Professional and Workforce Development Department.