Masters in Social Work

One of the most challenging moments in a student’s life is selecting a major and a career program. The major the student decided to specialize in helps the student’s mentality in what type of job they want to pursue. Growing up, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in which I would have the ability to help people in need, and improve their life while making an impact. One of the careers I plan to pursue is in the field of Social Work; I want to become a Social Worker so that I can help the disadvantaged. It is interesting that people come into this field with different experience, but for the same reason these people are all here to help people accomplish their goals and maintain a balanced life to where they want them to be at.

What is a Social Worker?

A social worker is someone employed to provide social services to those who are disadvantaged. Social workers are there to give support and advice to those individuals with problems such as relationship problems, family problems, and other problems affecting them in their daily life. In other words, a social worker can be considered as a counselor because they are there to offer support and guidance. In pursuing the profession, social workers want to create a more just society.

Social workers can be found all over the work force: in organization such as hospitals, child-welfare, and youth service offices, health care and within the educational arena. The title ‘Social Worker” might not be used, but there are definitely many social workers in the business world.


Top 5 Social Work Careers

Social Workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. There are two main types of social workers in the field: the first one being direct-service social worker and the other being a clinical social worker. Example of social worker duties include helping vulnerable children in low-income areas, providing assistance to the elderly, and arranging adoptions for abandoned, neglected and abused vulnerable children.

A direct-service social worker is a worker who helps people deal with problems in their everyday lives and try to find a solution or understand them. Child and family social workers protect young children who are vulnerable and help families in need of assistance. On the other hand, a clinical social worker is a worker who diagnoses and treats mental, behavioral, and emotional issues in a person’s unstable life.

Skills required for Social Workers

The most common skill for social workers is that they must have compassion. Social Workers need to be compassionate because they will often work people under stressful situations. Other skills required for this job are that a person needs to pay complete attention during a social work therapy. The mind must not wander and one must be able to listen well to be able to help them. A social workers needs to be a strategic thinker, patient teacher and a problem solver. Being able to work with different groups of people is essential for social workers to foster healthy relationships with their clients and colleagues.

Social workers can make an impact in people’s lives by helping their clients / patients overcome setbacks and challenges in ways that can improve the patient’s life.


In order to obtain the job position as a social worker, the potential must earn at least a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from a recognized college or university; it is the most common requirement in the process of becoming a social worker. Some Social Worker positions such as working in education or in any health-care related field require that their employees earn a Masters of Social Work from any accredited college or university.

Top Schools for Social Work

According to website the bestschools.org, the top Social Work programs are in the University of Michigan – Ann Arbro, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Chicago, University of Washington, Columbia University, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of California at Berkeley and Boston University. The University of Michigan School of Social Work is ranked as tied for #1 by U.S. News & World Report and as #3 by the Princeton Review‘s “Gourman Report of Graduate Programs.” The MSW program prepares students to serve society at the local, state, national and international levels. The faculty includes internationally recognized experts. The comprehensive Master of Social Work degree program offers nine concentrations. Students choose a concentration in a practice method and a practice area.

The School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago is ranked as tied for #3 by U.S. News & World Report and as #1 by the Princeton Review‘s “Gourman Report of Graduate Programs.” The School of Social Service Administration is one of the oldest graduate schools of social work in the country. The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis is ranked as tied for #1 by U.S. News & World Reportand as #9 by the Princeton Review‘s “Gourman Report of Graduate Programs.” A leader in its field, the Brown School of Social Work has influenced policy strategies at local, national, and international levels. The school provides training in policy, practice, and research.

The Columbia University School of Social Work is ranked as tied for #5 by U.S. News & World Report and as #2 by thePrinceton Review‘s “Gourman Report of Graduate Programs.” The school has a world-renowned faculty. The Columbia University School of Social Work offers a two-year program, a 16-month program, an advanced-standing program, a reduced-residency program, and an extended program. Students with an undergraduate degree from a Council on Social Work Education–accredited BSW program can take the advanced-standing program and complete the MSW program in only one year. The Master of Social Work program includes 1200 hours of field instruction.

One of the schools I was interested in pursuing my degree in Social Work was San Jose State University, California State University Long Beach, The University of Southern California School of Social Work, and the University Of California Berkeley School Of Social Welfare. These are top schools in California in which one can pursues their Masters of Social Work to become a social worker. These are top schools because of their great programs and are looked upon.

Employment and Salary

According to the United Stated Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BS),Social Workers make around $53,900 a year earning around $20 an hour. In 2010, there were 650, 050 jobs as Social Workers in the United States.

Steps on becoming a Social Worker after College

            After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in college, one must apply for a Bachelors of Social Work, Masters of Social Work or a Doctoral Program (PhD). An undergraduate degree in social work is not generally a prerequisite for admission to a Masters of Social Work program. Those who want to apply to doctoral programs usually need a Masters of Social Work or a Master’s Degree in a related field (such as a Masters in Sociology). Usually applicants need a type of entrance examination such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

Sample Application Process: USC’s Master of Social Work Program

As an example, I used the University of Southern California – Masters of Social Work Program. In order for the applicant to be considered, the applicant needs to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Besides obtaining a bachelor’s degree, one must have at least 18 units of liberal arts coursework in both the biological and social sciences. A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.0, is required. The applicant must also have strong academic standing and strong desire to perform successfully at the graduate level. Additioanl requirements include possessing qualities such as competence, passion in the field, and strong interest. Admission counselors are there for support and to walk interested applicants throughout the entire application process.

In order for the application to be complete, there are six components. One of the following components is the online graduate admission application, which has a non-refundable application fee of $85. There is a supplemental form of Social Work that needs to be complete on the online application. A resume, a statement of purpose, two required letters of recommendation and official transcripts are required. The GRE is not required to apply to the Masters of Social Work Program at the University of Southern California. Deadlines are posted online at their website. Also, applicants can complete their Masters of Social Work online by taking their classes via the university online courses.

Why pursuing a career in Social Work is good

A Master’s in Social Work (MSW) is probably one of the best degrees in the field that you can kill two birds with one stone in. You can have fun helping others and you will be getting paid to help others, even though many people help others for free. I believe that social work is one of the careers in which a person can truly make an impact and change someone’s life for the better. What better way of giving back to the community than by helping individuals who are in need of advice and support. Despite it being a challenging career, I believe that at the end it will be rewarding.