to apply for the Masters in Social Work (MSW) program at
Portland State University (PSU) in Oregon, because I wanted to
stay locally and I was told that with an MSW education, unlike an
MA/MS degree in Psychology, a person is able to put his/her name
on insurance panels. I knew that I wanted to sometime in the
future conduct private practice and one day become a Licensed
Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), so there was no other choice for me
to make than to apply for PSU's graduate degree. Fortunately, I
was accepted to the program and the my graduation date was in June of 2003. To view more information about my experience at PSU, please visit our Social Work Page.
Social Work is a field of the social sciences that focus on social
change and promotes empowerment and liberation of all human
beings. The field utilizes theories of human behavior and social
systems, and it intervenes at points where people interact with
Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to
social work (Principles taken from
International Federation of Social Workers).
in Social Work
[Information adapted from the
Association of Social Workers]
Social Casework (case
management) is basic social work: Assessing needs and applying
agency services and resources to address social, health or
economic problems, such as in health, community agency and
public welfare programs.
Medical Social Workers work
with the special needs of patients and families in hospitals,
long term care facilities, hospice programs, outpatient offices,
rehabilitation programs and other health settings.
School Social Workers help with
emotional, social and economic problems so students can focus on
getting an education.
Clinical Social Workers are found in
private practice or in psychiatric & mental health care
settings, where they provide psychotherapy and counseling. They
might also work in employee assistance programs within larger
companies that have numerous employees.
In Administration and Management,
social workers oversee the programs and systems that provide
social, health and public welfare services
Community Organization social
workers work in cooperation with the community to identify needs
and to develop or improve services and systems to meet those
In Social Policy and Research,
Social Workers analyze social problems, design and conduct in
depth research studies and develop ways for social programs and
systems to overcome those problems.
Depending on how many years of schooling you are ready to commit,
there are various levels of degrees that may be of interest to
you. I opted for the MSW degree because I knew that I only needed
two additional years of schooling past my undergraduate degree to
be able to
do the job that I want to do upon my graduation.
B.S.W = Bachelor of Social Work - A four-year
M.S.W = Masters in Social Work - A two year program in
addition to a Bachelors degree (it does not have to be a
continuation of a BSW)
Ph.D = Doctorate of Philosophy - A 4-6 year program
concentrating on policy analysis and research. Primary focus is
teaching and research.
D.S.W = Doctorate of Social Work - Same as a PhD.
Description of name depends on each graduate school.
Social Work Code of Ethics.
What to do with a Social Work Degree?
There are a
variety of careers that you can have with a Social Work Degree
including mental health therapist, program evaluator,
administrator, researcher, case worker, policy maker, school
counselor, etc. For more information about careers in social
click here. A great resource for comprehensive information
about the outlook for social work jobs is the
Outlook Handbook for Social Workers.
To get a
general idea of different salary ranges, please
Here are a few
theories that attempt to explain and describe human
Social Constructivist Theory
Social Learning Theory
Theories (treatment models)
several practice theories that attempt to adopt the lens of human
development theories, and are specifically
used in guiding practice and intervention.
Applying for Graduate School
It can be hard not knowing where to apply for graduate school or
know what kind of knowledge goes into applying for a program. If
you want further information about what schools offer and require,
you can visit our Social Work
Directory to link to various pages that hopefully
will be of useful information. There are usually a couple of
things that schools look during their application review, which
include GRE scores, letters of recommendations, and personal
statement. If you need some helpful advice on how to complete
these requirements and find out about how to apply for graduate
school, in general, please visit
Into Social Work Graduate School.
To view Social Work School Rankings 2000 of the Top 80 Schools,
Information in regard to the GRE, please
Has this page triggered a need for additional reading? Visit our
extensive Social Work Book Store where you further your knowledge
research, mental disorders, social work practice, etc. You cannot
If you have any questions or comments regarding this site or
psychology in general, please
I would love to hear from you.