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What are the Various Career Options after Getting a Masters Degree in Social Work?

Harleen Kaur
Harleen KaurUpdated On: September 26, 2022 05:05 pm IST

Candidates with an MSW degree can work in a variety of fields, including health care, academia, government organisations, and others. Check out the best possible career paths for MSW graduates here.

What are the Various Career Options after Getting a Masters Degree in Social Work?

Masters in Social Work, MSW programme is a two-year postgraduate degree programme in social work. Students who complete this course will have received training that will enable them to effectively fight against a variety of social taboos, including child marriage, social injustice, racism, animal abuse, and many others, on behalf of the less fortunate members of society.

Any MSW programme will admit students based on their performance on entrance exams and on the basis of merit. Candidates with an MSW degree can expect to work in a variety of NGOs or government-sponsored social and welfare departments after graduation. Many private companies, including CRY, Goonj, the Smile Foundation, and others, also employ applicants. Candidates are hired as Social Workers with annual starting salaries ranging from INR 2.20 - 3 LPA.

Social workers are crucial professionals whose main goal is to improve the well-being of others on a community and an individual level. Social work, like many other professions that work with individuals and human behaviour, is a complex field that can be applied in a variety of settings. A social worker's role will vary depending on their industry and level of education. Social workers are responsible for assisting people who are facing difficulties in their lives. These difficulties could include mental, behavioural, or emotional disorders, as well as environmental issues.

In general, social workers provide mental health counselling to their clients on an individual, familial, or group basis. They assess their client's condition and offer solutions such as coordinating treatment plans, researching public programmes and resources, and more.

How to Work as a Social Worker

Social workers must complete at least their BSW (Bachelor in Social Work) degree in order to start working at entry-level positions. This degree can be earned at a conventional four-year university, and there are options for students who would rather earn their degrees online.

Social workers' employment is expected to increase faster than the average for all other occupations in the upcoming years. Given this, it might be a good idea to start moving forward with your social work career right away. Consider earning a master's degree in social work if you have already earned your bachelor's degree in the field.

Top 10 Career Paths in Social Work after a Master's Degree

The main goal of a career as a social worker is to help and heal other people. By doing this, you are giving yourself the opportunity to finish your licensure or advance in your education, which will enable you to practise social work in more settings, including those related to health care, academia, governmental organisations, and more.

Following MSW, you might want to consider the following professions:

1. Counselor or Therapist

Therapists are trained mental health professionals who work with clients to enhance their emotional and cognitive abilities in order to improve their quality of life. They aid in easing the signs of mental illness and teach their patients coping mechanisms so they can better handle the difficulties of daily life.

A Therapist/Educational Counsellor may work in a variety of settings, depending on their line of work. Hospitals, clinics, community centres, online resources, and more are included. Being a therapist might be a good career choice for you if you're interested in assisting people in working closely on their personal lives on either an individual or group level.

2. Social Worker in Medicine 

Public health, geriatric, palliative (care that prioritises pain relief over illness cure), inpatient, or mental health care are among the areas of specialisation for medical social workers. Depending on where their clients and patients are located, medical social workers, like many other types of social workers, may find themselves in a variety of different medical settings.

Working in a medical setting might be a wise choice if you want to become a highly specialised social worker. You might focus on working with young children or offering care to people awaiting organ transplants. For the most part, you'll collaborate with nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals to give your patients interdisciplinary care.

Also Read:Career as a Psychologist

3. Social Worker in Schools

Social workers at schools provide counselling to both individuals and groups of students who are experiencing mental health problems that are interfering with their academic lives. They also support the mental health of students by assisting parents, educators, and administrators. In general, school social workers help students feel more in control of their learning environments and safer spaces at school.

Consider becoming a school social worker if you're interested in combining your education in mental health with your work in academia. You'll be able to carry out the crucial task of fostering the intellectual growth of children and supporting academic institutions in their endeavours to do the same.

4. Social Worker for Hospitals and Nursing Homes

Usually, dealing with the subject of death is difficult. Hospice social workers assist families in resolving issues related to the death of a loved one. They also assist in coordinating hospice patients' access to resources and care.

It can be challenging mentally and emotionally to work as a hospice social worker. However, this work is crucial in supporting patients and their families during some of their most trying times.

5. Worker in Community Outreach

Consider working in community outreach if you want a career at a nonprofit or government organisation. A community outreach worker typically works to better the lives of local residents by organising events and promoting programmes that emphasise social and health services for underserved communities.

6. Human Services Professional

Specialists in human services may work with residents of halfway homes, prisons, mental health facilities, family homes, and other settings. They work with individuals who are frequently in extremely precarious circumstances.

By addressing their issues and assisting them in maintaining their improvements, this work benefits those who might need assistance the most.

7. Probation Officer

The combination of your social work education and a career as a probation officer will be fantastic if you have a special interest in criminal justice. The goal of probation officers is to help delinquents avoid committing new crimes by guiding, supervising, and monitoring them.

Probation officers support offenders in seeking out treatment and rehabilitation and monitor the results of their efforts, much like human service professionals do. The main distinction between the two occupations is that probation officers only deal with those who have been sentenced to probation rather than jail time.

8. Behavioral Management Support

Aides for behavioural management assist people in changing unhelpful behaviours. These services primarily target children, but in some legal systems, they can be very important for adults as well.

Aides assist clients in identifying and altering negative behaviours, such as aggression, temper tantrums, or disruptive behaviour. Becoming a behavioural management assistant might be a good fit for you if you want to combine your interest in social work with your desire to further your education.

Also Read:Career as Behavioral Counsellor

9. Counselors for Substance Abuse

Counselors for substance abuse are experts in managing and recovering from addiction. These social workers support individuals and groups in their journeys toward sobriety. They emphasise both short-term recovery strategies and long-term struggles.

These counsellors help patients mend various aspects of their lives affected by addiction, including personal and professional relationships, with a focus on mental health.

10. Social Worker for Foster Care

Case managers, also referred to as foster care social workers, represent children in the foster care system. For these kids, they might also serve as counsellors, assisting with behavioural and mental health issues. The welfare of children—both physically and mentally—is the main duty of a foster care social worker.

Also Read:Career in Social Work: Courses, Colleges & Scope

Scope for MSW Graduates

Students who complete a Masters in Social Work programme are prepared to work as social workers, social workers, and social workers. This course combines classroom instruction and fieldwork to provide graduates with comprehensive knowledge and real-world experience that will allow them to quickly establish careers in this field.

MSW graduates may choose to further their education. These include research degrees like MPhil and PhD, management degrees like MBA, professional certificate courses, and relevant postgraduate diploma courses.

  • PhD in Social Work

After completing their PG degree, candidates can pursue a PhD in Social Work. In that case, candidates must sit for various entrance exams such as CSIR NET & CSIR JRF through GATE, SLET, and so on. The PhD programme lasts between three and six years. The typical course fee ranges from INR 18,000 to INR 2 lakhs. TISS, Delhi University, Madra School of Social Work, and other top PhD in social work colleges. 

  • Master of Philosophy in Social Work

Candidates who have completed the PG course may apply for the MPhil in Social Work. The programme is intended to last two years. To be admitted to this course, candidates must pass the NET exam. The course fee ranges between INR 3,000 and INR 2,000,000 on average. Osmania University, Loyola College, Pondicherry University, and others are some of the top MPhil in Social Work colleges.

  • MBA in Social Work Management

Candidates with an MSW degree can pursue courses such as an MBA in Social Work Management and a Certificate course in Social Work & Criminal Justice System, among others, to improve their opportunities and career growth.

Finally, after earning their MSWs, candidates can find employment as therapists, clinical social workers, healthcare social workers, or social workers in the fields of mental, physical, and educational health.

Also Read:Colleges of Social Work - Admissions

An MSW's starting salary in India generally ranges between INR 40K and 4 LPA. With under three years of experience, an Entry Level MSW earns an average salary of INR 1.8 LPA. Some of the top MSW job profiles include project coordinator, professor or lecturer, programme coordinator, junior research fellow, and district consultant. However, as experience grows, the salary rises.


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