A Master of Social Work degree prepares graduates for professional practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations. MSWs work as therapists, managers, researchers, educators, advocates, supervisors, and administrators in both the public and private sectors. Professional Social Workers serve diverse populations from children to older adults in a variety of practice environments. The MSW degree is a requirement for a number of certifications and licenses in the social work field, making Western Carolina University’s Master of Social Work degree a integral step on the way to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) and a School Social Worker (CSSW).
The M.S.W. is a 54 to 62-semester hour (depending on possible waivers) program that uses traditional classroom teaching and field practicum internships to develop Social Work practice competency. The Social Work curriculum helps students advance their research skills while covering a variety of subjects such as Direct Practice with Individuals, Families and Groups; Practice in Communities and Organizations; Social Policy; Mental Health; Substance Abuse; Integrated Behavioral Health; Child Welfare; and Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Students receive practice experience while completing 960 hours of a supervised field practicum in a variety of social work practice settings. Learning experiences leading to a specialty license or certification are also offered: the Substance Abuse Studies Certificate Program provides coursework and practice experience leading to the LCAS; the School Social Work curriculum provides coursework and practice experience necessary for certification as a School Social Worker and participation in the Child Welfare Collaborative offers coursework and practice experience leading to certification in Child Welfare.
Social workers are employed in government agencies, independent or group clinical practices, private companies and non-profit organizations. Social workers hold positions as therapists, mental health and substance abuse counselors, child welfare practitioners, school social workers, health care social workers, community advocates, researchers, educators and administrators across diverse professional settings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the Social Work field will grow 19% by 2022.