With an accredited BS or BA in social work, students gain a range of knowledge that can serve them well when they work in the field. Courses may include human behavior, social welfare, psychology and classes about how to conduct research. After obtaining a baccalaureate degree, students majoring in social work typically take a state licensing test. Most states also require an internship.
Should I Get a BSW or Go On to an MSW?
Many graduates enter the workforce immediately to gain experience in the field. They may also return to get a master’s degree in order to obtain positions of increasing responsibility. Working after completing a bachelor’s of social work degree can help students pay off their student loan debt faster than if they immediately go for their MSW. With a bachelor’s degree in social work, graduates communicate with individuals, groups, families and organizations.
Students who go for a master’s in social work may have an undergraduate degree in a related field such as sociology or anthropology. Some MSW degrees have specific prerequisites, which may add to the timeline for students who did not complete them in their undergraduate coursework. Most online or on-campus programs require a minimum of 60 credits, but it varies from program to program.
Graduates must successfully pass the state licensing exam for social work in order to obtain work after receiving their MSW. In fact, many states require a master’s degree to work as a clinical social worker.
With a master’s in social work or MSW, graduates can count on typically higher wages. They can also specialize in fields such as foster care, hospitals and school environments. Graduates of master’s degree programs can research, supervise or teach in the field. Some students will go on to pursue a doctorate and social work to obtain the highest level of education in the field. With a doctoral degree in social work, graduates often concentrate on treating clients with behavioral problems and mental health disorders.
Many social workers spend most of their time in an office but also visit the people they are trying to help. For example, school social workers may rotate among different schools to help more students. Large caseloads and understaffing make this a challenging role. Some social workers treat patients through video conferencing and mobile technology.
Is a Bachelor’s in Social Work Worth It for Salary?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor’s in social work is worth it for graduates who care more about helping people than having a high salary. The average annual income for social workers is about $52,000. The lowest 10% of social workers make around $33,000 and the highest 10% earn an average of $86,000 each year.
The annual wages for social workers also depend on the type of work that they do. According to the BLS data, healthcare social workers average $50,000 per year while social workers handling mental health and substance use disorders make around $49,000 per year. Healthcare social workers bring home $58,000 per year, which is roughly $10,000 more than child and family social workers may.
Getting a master’s degree or taking on a supervisory role can help students increase their salaries as well as their titles. The top industries for social work include local governments and urgent health care facilities.
According to the BLS, social workers employed by local governments make about $50,000 per year, while social workers in ambulatory health care make an average of $53,000. Those working in family services bring home $44,000.
Is a bachelors in social work worth it? Even if you don’t feel that the salary range makes it worth it to pursue a career in social work, you may enjoy the work that you do helping people improve their lives.
Is a Bachelor Degree in Social Work Worth It If I Want to Help People?
Graduates who earn a baccalaureate degree obtain the skills and knowledge to take their licensing test and get jobs as social workers. Many degree seekers go into this field because they want to help families, individuals, and communities, particularly underserved populations.
Is a bachelor degree in social work worth it for those who want to dedicate their lives to helping others? A bachelor’s degree in social work can help social workers gave the knowledge and skills needed to help those in need. Social workers help people in substance abuse programs and families in crises, among other clients.