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What is The Master of Social Work MSW

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The Master of Social Work (MSW) degree is a professional degree that enables the holder to do independent social work after completing a certain number of hours of supervised practice - which varies by state - and obtain certification.

The MSW usually requires two years of full-time research, including a minimum of 900 hours under supervision and can only be completed after obtaining a bachelor's degree, preferably with a degree in a related field.

The most important difference between MSW and Bachelor's Social Work programs is that MSW focuses more on the broad lines and small details of professional social work, as opposed to the attention of BSW for direct social work practices in hospitals and social organizations.

Professional application of MSW degrees

A recipient of a Master of Social Work degree is fully ready to enter the professional world, specially in areas that require more attention to the micro or macro aspects of social work, although not all jobs require more than a bachelor's degree.

Either way, social work jobs in the United States require a diploma from a college or university accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and anyone who wants to give therapy must have at least an MSW. Unauthorized providers can put up a shingle and offer "psychotherapy" without breaking laws in many states (if not all); but in some states, such as MA, the term "mental health therapy" is regulated.

The standards for registration and certification vary from state to state, so it's important as an MSW student to ensure that you perform all applicable processes for licensing, registration and certification for social work within the state that you hope to work in.

Advanced social work degrees

For social workers pursuing an administrative career in the non-profit sector, apply for a PhD in social work (DSW) to complete their Ph.D. may be required to take on higher positions in the profession.

This degree requires an additional two to four years of university studies, completing a dissertation in the field and additional hours of internship. Professionals who want to continue their career in a more academic and research-oriented direction of social work can pursue this type of diploma in the field.

Otherwise, the MSW diploma is more than enough to pursue a satisfactory social work career - so the only thing you have to do after obtaining your diploma is to take the first step towards your professional career as a social worker!


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