Resources for Social Work Students

On OnlineMSWPrograms.com, we are dedicated to providing students who are interested in earning their MSW online with the resources they need to make an educated decision on which school they would like to attend. In addition, for students who are still considering whether or not they want to pursue a MSW and become a social worker, we have additional resources that could be useful in determining if a career in social work is right for them. As we build out the site with more information, we will be adding additional resources to this page.

Resources for Online MSW Programs

Eligibility and Admission Requirements for Online MSW Programs: All students interested in earning their MSW online should consider reading this page. Unlike local universities, some online MSW programs have geographic restrictions, and therefore do not accept students nationally. In addition, some universities only accept students who live in specific states. This page also contains information about the typical admission requirements for online MSW programs.

Online MSW Programs Concentrations: The field of social work is broken down into two main categories: clinical social work and direct-service social work. In addition, social work professionals can further specialize into specific fields that include: healthcare social work, school social work, mental health and abuse social work, and child and family social work. TThe majority of top online MSW programs offer either an “Advanced Generalist” program or a Clinical Social Work program with the ability to take electives or advanced topics in one of these areas. However, some online MSW programs have a focused curriculum on a specific field or specialization.

Interview Series: Meet Online MSW Programs: Meet Online MSW Programs is an interview series where we interview professors, program administrators and directors, and deans about their online MSW programs. In addition to specific questions about their school’s program(s), we ask questions pertaining to topics such as online education, and advice for students on how to prepare their application.

Information and Advice about Field Education in Online MSW Programs

Field Education Requirements for Online MSW Programs: All online MSW programs require students to complete field education as part of their curriculum. For online students, field education is usually completed at a local health services agency. The number of hours required per week depends on the program type (traditional versus advanced standing) and whether the student is enrolled full-time or part-time.

Advice for MSW Students Completing Field Education: Field education is a major component of all MSW programs and requires a significant time commitment from students. In order to help current and prospective MSW students better prepare for field education, we reached out to social work professors and field education directors to ask them about the advice they give students in their programs. We then consolidated their responses as a resource for students in both online and on-campus programs.

Field Education Questions and Answers: As part of our interview series, we interviewed Dr. Jane C. Hickerson (PhD, LCSW), Assistant Dean of Field Education at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). In her interview, we asked Dr. Hickerson about some of the questions and concerns students at UTA had about completing their field education requirements. She provided a detailed list of questions and answers with the advice she gives students. We decided this list of Q&As would benefit MSW students in other programs as well, so we created a separate resource with this information.

Field Instructor Interview Series: For students who wish to learn more about field practicums for online MSW programs, we have created an interview series featuring actual field instructors who provide insight and advice regarding such topics as field practicum evaluations and balancing field placement hours with academic work.

Social Work Career Articles

How to Become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW): Clinical social workers work with patients in a variety of healthcare settings to help diagnose and treat mental health disorders. While clinical social workers do not need to be licensed to work with clients under supervision within a larger organization, all clinical social workers who wish to be independent practitioners must earn and maintain a social work license. Licensure requirements are determined at the state level by state-specific social work licensing boards. This resource is an overview of how to become a LCSW including the different educational paths that are available to students. Becoming a LCSW requires dedication, and graduating from a MSW program is only the first step. A MSW degree alone is not enough to become a LCSW.

How to Become a School Social Worker: School social workers support students who are facing emotional, social, psychological, or family challenges that affect their performance at school. School social workers collaborate with other school personnel, such as teachers and school administrators, to help students both on an individual level and on a school-wide scale through counseling, educational initiatives, and student support programs. In order to practice at schools in their area, school social workers must obtain authorization from their state government. The process of earning state certification or authorization varies from state to state. This article explains the general process that students must complete in order to work as a school social worker, including educational, internship, and certification requirements.

Guide to Social Worker Salaries for MSW Graduates: Salaries for MSW graduates vary widely, depending on the industry they enter, their region of residence, their level of professional experience and education, and their licenses and credentials. This article discusses the various factors that affect social worker salaries, and uses data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to explore the range of salaries that social workers across the nation reported in 2013.

Featured Social Work Articles on OnlineMSWPrograms.com

Cyberbullying: A Resource for School Social Workers: Cyberbullying is a recent and very destructive form of bullying that is particularly difficult for school personnel to prevent and address. This resource explains how school social workers can appropriately respond to cyberbullying incidents at their schools and promote an anti-cyberbullying culture on campus and in their larger community. This article also contains advice for parents, teachers, and school administrators, and features in-depth interview responses from five different experts in the field of cyberbullying.

Long-Term Unemployment: A Destructive and Persistent Social Issue: Long-term unemployment (defined as unemployment lasting longer than six months) has been a stubborn challenge in America in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Long-term unemployment not only negatively impacts the economy, but can also have devastating financial, social, physical, and emotional effects on individuals and their families. This article explores the causes and effects of long-term unemployment at the micro and macro level, and also includes advice on how social workers can help clients struggling with this issue.

Social Work Resources on OnlineMSWPrograms.com

Social Work State Licensing Boards: We have compiled a list of state specific licensing boards so that students can easily find the website for the licensing board in their state. State boards are responsible for licensing and regulation of social workers. They establish the standards for certification and licensure, issue licenses, and set policies and standards for practice and ethical conduct.

Social Work Licenses by State: The types of social work licenses and requirements for licensing vary by state. We have compiled a list of state-specific social work licenses that require a Master of social Work. Unfortunately, the nomenclature for licensing is not standardized across the 50 states, so a similar license may have a different name in different states. For students and professionals interested in clinical social work, all states require clinical social workers to have earned a MSW and be licensed to practice.

Social Work Organizations: We have compiled a list of social work organizations so that students can find and research different specialties within the field of social work. Organizations provide their members with a variety of benefits that could include: professional development, access to journals and newsletters, job boards, advocacy, and much more. To make it easier to find the different social work organizations, we have categorized them by type / specialty.

In Focus: Social Work Blog: Our In Focus: Social Work Blog is where we publish content relevant to the field of social work. Articles are designed to be of interest to students, social work professors, and health services professionals.

Additional Social Work Resources on the Web

Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook for Social Workers: A great resources from the US Department of Labor with information about social workers and their work environment. Bls.gov also provides job outlook data, salary ranges, education requirements, and a list of similar or related occupations.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW) – Social Work Portal: One of several sites managed by the NASW with links to social work organizations, NASW chapters, resources for finding social workers, job boards, and more.

O*NET OnLine Database of Occupational Information: Another great resource developed for the U.S. Department of Labor by the National Center for O*NET Development. The O*NET database includes information on the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for each occupation surveyed by bls.gov. The database also includes information on daily tasks and work activities. O*NET has several different reports for careers in social work:

Social Work Blog (from the National Association of Social Workers): One of several sites managed by the NASW complete with recent news and events.

Social Work Chat (from the National Association of Social Workers): Sponsored by the NASW with a bulletin board and scheduled chats for social workers.

Community Resources from OnlineMSWPrograms.com

Find a Licensed Social Worker: For students who are not sure if they should pursue a MSW, speaking with a professional social worker may help in the decision making process. We have also compiled a list of state specific license verification search tools with relevant professions to make verifying a license quick and easy.