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Is a Master of Social Work degree worth it?

Although a bachelor’s degree provides a solid foundation for a career in social work, earning a master’s degree can open the door to help make an even bigger difference in the world at a higher, more specialized level. It can also potentially lead to bigger and better career opportunities in the field.

Boise State University’s Master of Social Work (MSW) Online program prepares students to advocate for and empower underrepresented, oppressed and vulnerable populations from all backgrounds and situations while promoting equality and social justice.

Students in the program are held to the same professional standards as those working in the field. Namely, adhering to the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics which dictate competent, responsible practice in responding to a variety of social needs. The skills taught in the MSW online program are immediately applicable to any role in the field. So, how is earning an MSW worth it?

MSW Increases Your Impact

One important reason to consider an advanced degree in social work is to have additional options to make a bigger difference in one’s community through various roles, including work with vulnerable populations.

Professionals who earn an MSW translate their training in a variety of specialized settings across the field, including schools, medical facilities or child welfare. In addition, the versatility of the degree affords the opportunity to provide services within a larger context which may include social policy or legislative initiatives.

A master’s degree can help narrow a focus to a specific social work area, allowing further options to make a bigger difference immediately. The degree can also lead to increased opportunities for advancement within social work entities.

High Demand Can Make MSW Worth It

There is also a demand for individuals in several areas of social work. Health care, which includes mental health, is in need of qualified professionals with advanced degrees to alleviate the nationwide shortage of mental health providers. Filling those roles is crucial to the well-being of the communities and the greater good. The increase in the need for social workers increases the value of a master’s degree, making it worth it.

For example, the pandemic highlighted an increased need for health care services.

Earning Potential of a Master’s Degree

With the wider variety of career opportunities open to master’s degree holders comes the potential to increase salary by landing a more specialized position.

Workers in the top industries in social work, including local and state governments, individual and family services and ambulatory health care services, ranged from $46,640 to $61,190 in median wages in 2021.

Licensure will also open up career opportunities. Boise State’s MSW is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Graduating from a program with this accreditation is the first step toward licensure as a social worker, although state requirements vary.

Increased Flexibility

Having a master’s degree in social work not only potentially leads to a salary increase, but also gives social workers the flexibility to work with any age group. Additionally, many social workers work in online or hybrid settings because of COVID-19, so work locations are also flexible.

Job security also goes hand-in-hand with having a master’s degree, leading to a lower unemployment rate. Having an advanced degree means a higher level of knowledge, which leads to increased value for employers.

Although earning a master’s degree in social work takes time and effort, the benefits make it a worthwhile investment to make the world equitable and socially just.

Learn More About the Master of Social Work Online

Boise State’s Master of Social Work (MSW) Online degree prepares students for advanced social work practice with individuals and families. Boise State Online offers both a Regular Program MSW and Advanced Standing MSW Program.

Are you interested in learning more? From deciding if an online degree is right for you to figuring out what credits transfer from previous schools, talking to a Student Success Coach is the best place to start.

Contact a Student Success Coach