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Old 05-09-2011, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Weston, FL
469 posts, read 1,142,722 times
Reputation: 214

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Thinking of going back to school for an MSW. Simply because I enjoy education and love the possibilites of what I can do in the field. Is the degree as marketable as it once was or is the field saturated? I remember 10 years ago- college advisors, professors, etc.. telling us that obtaining an MSW was the way to go (for students with a BS in family and child studies which is what I have, as well as psychology/sociology students). Just hate to get an MSW with no hope in finding a job afterwards----
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,665,376 times
Reputation: 1287
The degree is less important than the various certificates that the degree can give you as a starting point. It should give you a lot of experience in counseling and family counseling, and you should be able to get licensed as a professional counselor in a way that holds up as such a license for most states. So when you get it, look to see what endpoint certificates and licenses it gives you in the preferred states that you are planning to work. And don't finish the program without taking the licensing exams since you will be really hard pressed to get them certificates later on.

Actually right now, going for a certificate in Speech Pathology will pretty much guarantee you a job anywhere. Just make sure that your certificates in that discipline cover both hospitals and public schools. Then you'll be set. This is where I would go at this point. But I'm about to retire after 40 years in public and private school mental health services. If I had an MSW plus certificates in school counseling AND a LCSW certificate, I could do both private practice or work for any agency. But after 40 years, I am really not interested in working with people's problems much more.
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Old 05-09-2011, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Weston, FL
469 posts, read 1,142,722 times
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I would LOVE to do speech and language pathology- however- I don't have a BS degree in the field and I hear its very difficult to get into those programs.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,665,376 times
Reputation: 1287
Then check into how many credits you would need to add a speech specialty at the BS level to your undergrad degree. You may find that you only need a year of full time education(24 credits).
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Weston, FL
469 posts, read 1,142,722 times
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So you think it would make more sense to "add-on" speech and language rather than an MSW? I would love to incorporate my Child Development degree with SL pathology.
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:17 PM
 
332 posts, read 1,282,573 times
Reputation: 358
I recommend strongly against it. The market is saturated.

Reasons against:

  • these programs typically aren't funded so you will be paying out of pocket or racking up loan debt
  • these programs are rarely academically intensive and are a lot of busy work
  • these programs typically have high acceptance rates and are located at multiple universities = large number of new grads flooding market each year
  • depending on your state, the environment will vary BUT for the most part, mental health and social services is a luxury service that is going under due to budget cuts
  • a provisional period typically lasts 2 years, this learning period isn't financially supported in the way it used to be which means lower pay for you AND the added expense of paying for your own licensure expenses, training, and supervision
  • the best jobs do not come open often - let's say you want to be a school social worker, NCLB only mandates 1 school social worker for every 800 kids, I think, so each district might employ the workers who split their time between several schools -- not many positions, in my state, there are fewer than 400 school social workers in the entire state and we graduate 150 new social workers each year -- half who do their internships in a school setting
  • private practice can be wonderful and lucrative but only if you are good, if you aren't or you can't build a reputation and referral network, you will flounder and fail

I could go on, but I'm tired. I had a private practice for a while that did extremely well. I regularly booked 40 plus clients a week b/c I work in a niche area and had excellent word of mouth referrals. However, in November, I left private practice for an agency. Worst mistake I've ever made... At this point, I'm too burnt out to jump back in to the field.

Good luck to you with your decision. I wouldn't make the same one again. Please research it carefully before you make your choice.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:03 PM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,455,105 times
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What matters is where you do your internship. Gold standard, VA internships. Set for life. Not worth it, doing an internship at a local substance abuse clinic...it is all about the internship. Go with medical and healthcare, that will continue to be big.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:58 PM
 
Location: NH/MA
113 posts, read 386,745 times
Reputation: 143
informationplease's list strikes a chord with me, and i'm hardly a social worker- i did attend an MSW program, but dropped out in the first semester when i discovered it wasn't for me (both the program and the profession.)

if you're going to go for the MSW program, search for the cheapest one possible, because there's close to zero financial aid. google MSW scholarships/grants to see. there are a few for minorities, and that's pretty much it. it's horrible. the schools themselves give out very little as well. if you attend a program in a city and need loans for room and board, expect to pay around 70k and up. the program i briefly attended cost 90k. that is a LOT of debt for a profession that is not incredibly well paying. you'll get the better gigs with a grad degree, but you still have to work hard once you graduate- it takes years to get a license for practicing solo.

informationplease touched on another really important issue- you might like a niche of social work, but who's to say there will be jobs for you? i was told by my professors that people have to take what they can get. you may be into policy and research, for example, but get out into the field and only see open positions for therapists. in fact- and this is anecdotal- but when i was looking at the jobs in my area, a huge majority were for therapists, and that really threw me. it seems much harder to find a job if you like macro work versus micro. if you're looking to be a therapist, i would think it'd be much more lucrative for you to go another route, like get a degree in mental health counseling, which will be far less expensive. a friend of mine has just started such a program and she's able to take many classes online.

the other really great point that was made- an MSW program is a whole lot of busy work. i was bored out of my mind. if you can't hack that for two years, i wouldn't even try it.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Wilmington Delaware
121 posts, read 460,628 times
Reputation: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by InformationPlease View Post
I recommend strongly against it. The market is saturated.

Reasons against:

  • these programs typically aren't funded so you will be paying out of pocket or racking up loan debt
  • these programs are rarely academically intensive and are a lot of busy work
  • these programs typically have high acceptance rates and are located at multiple universities = large number of new grads flooding market each year
  • depending on your state, the environment will vary BUT for the most part, mental health and social services is a luxury service that is going under due to budget cuts
  • a provisional period typically lasts 2 years, this learning period isn't financially supported in the way it used to be which means lower pay for you AND the added expense of paying for your own licensure expenses, training, and supervision
  • the best jobs do not come open often - let's say you want to be a school social worker, NCLB only mandates 1 school social worker for every 800 kids, I think, so each district might employ the workers who split their time between several schools -- not many positions, in my state, there are fewer than 400 school social workers in the entire state and we graduate 150 new social workers each year -- half who do their internships in a school setting
  • private practice can be wonderful and lucrative but only if you are good, if you aren't or you can't build a reputation and referral network, you will flounder and fail

I could go on, but I'm tired. I had a private practice for a while that did extremely well. I regularly booked 40 plus clients a week b/c I work in a niche area and had excellent word of mouth referrals. However, in November, I left private practice for an agency. Worst mistake I've ever made... At this point, I'm too burnt out to jump back in to the field.

Good luck to you with your decision. I wouldn't make the same one again. Please research it carefully before you make your choice.

I was going to try to offer some words of encouragement. Then I read your post. The recession has not been kind to people in the human services business, especially private practice. There is nothing in your post that I can dispute. Employee assistance programs have been cut by businesses that now fire people who are not performing. Managed care companies in my area cater to the large practices with two psychiatrists and fifteen to twenty therapists. In order to get the medication you have to see their therapists.

There is a growing market in geriatric related services with the large population of aging boomers.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:04 AM
 
7,325 posts, read 8,984,586 times
Reputation: 8377
Don't forget that hospitals employ decent numbers of MSW types..

Having said that, though...if you're going to go through with the program, do it as cheaply as possible, but investigate employment prospects FIRST..
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