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Is it worth the time and money to get a master's degree in social work?

I am currently a social work major at Grand Valley State University, and I have been considering getting a master's in social work. I am not set on that however, because of the cost and time. #social-work

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Kim’s Answer


I think the answer is a definite "maybe." Maybe later. I say this because looking at your other question, I can tell you are new to the field. There are many different types of positions in social work. But, you may find, once you get out there and start doing it, that it might not really be what you think it is, and, you may not like it. For this reason, and, because there is always the hope of landing a position with an employer who offers tuition a$$i$tance (!), I encourage you to hold off for a couple of years. Another reason is because if you go straight through and get your Master's, you will be competing for jobs against people who have both an education and some experience. So, even if your experience is not Master's level, it will be helpful if you get a couple of years hands-on before going on for the Master's.

Why do I say you may not like it? Because some positions seem to be more concentrated on "documentation" and filling in squares than actually providing a service. A lot of times this has to do with justifying the existence of the position and keeping the funding source supporting the program. I hope you do not encounter this, as it can be very disheartening.

There are many positions available to you with a Bachelors, both in non-profits and government agencies.

Best of luck!


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Angela’s Answer

Hi Megan:

I completely agree with Kim's response and suggestions above. I did exactly what she suggested - I got my BA in social work degree then worked as a social worker in school settings and non-profit organizations for 5 years before going back to graduate school part-time for 3 years to earn my Masters in Social Work. While the non-profit I worked for didn't offer tuition reimbursement for graduate school, they were amazing and supportive with my work schedule and really helped me to design, implement and complete my Master's project.

I decided to go back for my Master's degree because I wanted to get into management and administration. I live in California and the labor market is competitive so I needed to get a Master's degree to compete for the positions I wanted.

Hope this helped,