Social Work DegreesAlthough entry-level social work positions may only require a bachelor’s degree, a Master of Social Work (MSW) is needed for advanced administrative and supervisory positions. An MSW is a two-year graduate degree that prepares students to practice social work in their respective state. Clinical social workers, who are licensed to treat emotional, mental and behavioral issues, must hold an MSW. An MSW gives professionals the tools to assess the effects of social environments on mental health and to implement changes through counseling and therapy. Opportunities also exist in advocacy, social policy and program planning for graduates of a MSW program. An MSW is considered a terminal degree in that no further education is necessary in order to find work as a professional social worker.
Counseling DegreesA Master of Arts or Master of Science in Counseling focuses on preparing students for careers in counseling individuals and families. These professionals often work in schools and mental health facilities and help clients combat their emotional and psychological problems. The focus of this degree is to train students to work closely with individual cases and use clinical skills to help improve the lives of their patients. Unlike social work, this degree does not focus on the use of means outside of individual counseling to help people. A Master’s in Counseling is not always a terminal degree and may be earned as a prerequisite to a Doctor of Psychology or a Ph.D. in Counseling. After completion of this degree program, students can look forward to many challenging yet rewarding career options. Many find work as mental health counselors, addiction counselors, family/marriage counselors and school counselors.