How do I Choose a Social Work Program?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2018
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There are four things to consider when you are choosing a social work program: duration, cost, level of education and quality of program. All four items are critical to the decision-making process. Social work is the development and application of methods to improve the quality of life for families and individuals. Social work programs are focused on providing the training and skills necessary to meet this need.

A social work program varies in length from two to eight years. The longer programs are focused on preparing the candidate for roles with a high degree of responsibility, such as management of a team of social workers. Shorter programs were created to provide the training necessary for positions that have more interaction with the clients of social services programs.

The tuition fee for a social work program ranges from $23,000 US Dollars (USD) for a two-year program to over $70,000 USD for a graduate degree. There are a wide range of scholarships, grants and financial assistance available to help cover these costs. In addition, most schools offer part-time positions that have higher hourly rates to help students with their fees. These positions increase in salary for each additional year of education completed and are considered part of the financial aid program.


There are three education levels for social work programs: diploma, degree and masters degree. The diploma program is available at the career or community college level. The training prepares you to work directly with clients, providing services as needed.

An undergraduate degree in social work is available from a wide range of universities. These programs prepare you to provide services that include family assessment, evaluation of client needs and making referrals to the correct services. Additional training is often required to obtain a position as a social worker.

Master degree in social work programs prepare you to supervise others in a social work agency, make critical decisions, resolve crises and make difficult decisions. Increasingly, social services agencies are requiring a masters degree for positions as social workers.

When selecting a school for a social work program, check the reputation of the school. Talk to friends, professionals and student services to learn more about what they offer. Look for schools with close ties to government social services agencies. Read biographies of the faculty and review their published works. This information tells you about the research and theory the professors subscribe to.



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Post 2

A MSW is a Masters of Social Work. It is a graduate university degree. Most social work agencies in North America and in parts of Europe require a MSW to work as a social worker. While it is possible to work in social services in other roles without a MSW, if you want to become a social worker, this level of education is necessary.

Post 1

if i want to be a MSW, what exam i should take? is this course useful?

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