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Prospective Social Worker questions.

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Hi all!
I'm new to this forum so please forgive me if I'm in the wrong place. I figured since you all have had experience maybe I could get some help.

Right now I'm in a community college studying Human Services but I want to of course transfer to a 4 year college and beyond. I'm not sure if I want to get my BSW Or MSW. What are the differences? I'm 21 by the way.

I'm interested in Youth Services, helping; guiding adolescents in any way that I can. Being a mentor so to speak.
Where should I start?
I'm going to visit Atlanta to see how I like their schools but I'm not sure if I want to move that far or better yet if their are great job opportunities. I'm a NY girl at heart so I want to live somewhere that's very similar to NY. So maybe I should stay on the East Coast? I saw that the DMV (DC and Maryland in particular) are great areas for job opportunities and they also pay well. As well as NJ.

Can I get some guidance from those who have valuable information? I'm at the VERY BEGINNING stages of this career path so I'm a bit lost.

Edited by xlipsticklover1991
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If you don't want to travel very far, then here is a good rule of thumb: apply to schools within a 600-mile radius. If extenuating circumstances occur unpredictably, you can return home within 12 hours. Consider social work programs in metropolitan areas since they will offer more fieldwork placements (e.g., Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.)

If your desired plan is social work, then finish your human services concentration, transfer to a four-year institution where you can obtain your BSW, and enroll in an advanced-standing MSW program following college graduation. The MSW is becoming the entry-level administrative degree. The MSW also offers a higher salary (over $35,000 for entry-level jobs). Get it soon rather than delay it.

Edited by michigan girl
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Hi xlipsticklover1991! I am a MSW student who is graduating in May 2013, and I'd be happy to try and answer some of your questions.


The main difference between a BSW and a MSW is that a BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) is the social work version of a 4 year degree, while a MSW (Master of Social Work) is the graduate social work degree. A MSW is usually considered the terminal degree in the field and is usually needed if you want to have lots of options for clinical work. If you think that you want to get your MSW eventually, a BSW is a great start because many programs have an advance standing option that let students with a BSW complete the MSW in less time.


As far as schools on the East Coast, these are programs that I have heard of (though I am not at all an expert and recommend that you do some research about your options):


NJ: Rutgers, Monmouth University, Kean

MD: University of Maryland- Baltimore

NY: Columbia, Fordham, CUNY- Hunter, NYU, SUNY-Albany, SUNY-Buffalo

DC: Howard, Catholic


I am sure there are also a ton of great schools in Atlanta, and certainly a bunch of smaller schools on the East Coast in the states you mentioned.


This is a fact sheet about social work as a profession:



Here is a website about some of the ways that social workers help teens:



I love social work as a degree and as a profession. I encourage you to do some more research (the NASW (National Association of Social Workers) and Help Starts Here are both great websites to start with).


Good luck with all of your upcoming choices! :)

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