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Master of Science in Social Work (M.S.S.W.) Degree

Where Your Passion for Helping Others Becomes a Career

Social work is a rewarding, challenging, and fascinating field dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and communities everywhere. This discipline can involve counseling individuals one-on-one to assist with issues such as trauma, addiction, family conflict, or mental illness, helping families navigating issues such as child welfare and adoption, helping people process grief or provide educational information in group settings and so on. Social workers can be found in almost any setting, from veterinarian offices, private clinics, schools, nonprofits, and political offices.


Meet graduate Social Work major, Alyssa Jenkins. She began her graduate degree in order to advance in her career, and ended up finding a new passion in hospice care.

Goals of the Program

The goals of the MSSW program at West Texas A&M University are to educate students who:

  • Become Advanced Generalist Practitioners;.
  • Use a variety of theoretical perspectives;.
  • Develop their interventions at all levels of systems practice, and
  • Are knowledgeable in the unique aspects of rural communities.

Advanced generalist programs offer students a broad curriculum that incorporates elements of clinical practice with individuals, families, and groups, and macro practice at the community and organizational level. Here at WTAMU, the curriculum of the graduate social work program is designed for students develop a broad base of knowledge and skills in social work while enrolling in elective coursework in specialized areas of practice of their interests.

As WTAMU is located in the panhandle of Texas, there is the added specialty of rural social work, being consistent with the needs and the demographics of the large geographical area which is mostly rural. Thus, our curriculum will prepare our students to be advanced generalist practitioners in rural social work. The ability to work with individuals and families, with groups, and with communities is essential. Students will be prepared to assume their place as change agents working within these different levels of practice.

Please note that this degree cannot be completed online, nor are all classes offered at night.

Accreditation 

The Social Work Program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The program achieved candidacy in 2010 and was fully accredited in 2013, joining the BSW program with its long history of accreditation. The program successfully reaffirmed accreditation in 2017.

CSWE_logo_5405 

Benefits of a Masters in Social Work

While it is possible to work as a social worker with a bachelors degree in social work, there are several benefits to obtaining a masters degree in social work. If you are looking to further your career or to work in a clinical setting, you may want to consider applying for a Master of Social Work program. 

Command a Higher Salary
A study from the NASW workforce Center, found that salaries tend to be higher for social work professionals with an MSW degree. For example, a social worker in the medical field with an MSW will take home a salary more than $20,000 per year than a professional with a bachelor’s in the same setting.
More Career Opportunities

Due to Medicare and Medicaid regulations, an MSW is considered an entry-level position for many medical facilities including long term care, hospice, dialysis centers, and mental health care facilities.

 

start with ANY bachelors degree
You don’t need a Bachelors in Social Work to get a Masters in Social Work. AND, if you do have a Bachelors in Social Work within the last 5 years from an accredited program, you are be eligible for “advanced standing" and can finish your Masters in 1 year!
Prepares You for clinical work

An MSW degree will qualify you to study to become a licensed clinical social worker.  This process begins once you have earned your MSW or MSSW degree and generally lasts around 24 months in the field. After successfully graduating with a MSW or MSSW, you will need to work alongside a supervisor in preparation for a final test to obtain your license. Once you have received your license to practice as a clinical social worker, you will be eligible for higher paid social work careers that entail more responsibility. Clinical social workers tend to focus more on assisting clients with mental health problems and are qualified to provide diagnoses, make general assessments and practice an array of therapy-based techniques with clients to help them work through and overcome issues.

MSSW Program Tracks

Foundation: 

Those students who enter any MSW or MSSW program without a Bachelor of Social Work within the past five (5) years are considered foundation students.

A full-time student can expect to complete the graduate program in two (2) years along with 900 hours of internship in total at two different placements. The first 400 hours of internship are completed in the first year of school at the first agency. The second internship of 500 hours at a second internship is completed during the second year. The field department works with the student to match the student with an agency that best match the student’s abilities and interests. After completing the first-year curriculum, a foundation student becomes an advanced standing student.

Advanced standing:

Students who have completed a Bachelor of Social Work within the past five (5) years from an CSWE accredited college or university are considered advanced standing students.

At WTAMU, a full-time student has two options to complete the program:

Fast Track allows a student to complete the curriculum, including the internship component, in one calendar year. At this time, we do not offer rolling admission and a prospective student can plan for the social work program to start in August of every year. Therefore, a fast-track student would expect to finish the MSSW by the following August. In general, a fast-track student can expect to:

  • Take on average four (4) classes a semester
  • Field Seminar would start immediately in the Fall
  • It is anticipated for you to obtain your internship as quick as feasible for a hopeful October start
  • To successfully complete your internship, you would need to complete 15-18 hours a week (depends on internship start, vacations, and sick days)
  • See the Fast Track Schedule of Classes

Standard Track is the typical curriculum and is completed in 5 semesters. At this time, we do not offer rolling admission and a prospective student can plan for the social work program to start in August of every year. Therefore, a standard-track student would expect to finish the MSSW by the following December (A student starting in August 2021 would graduate in December of 2022). In general, a standard-track student can expect to:

  • Take on average three (3) classes a semester
  • Field Seminar would start in the Spring
  • It is anticipated for you to obtain your internship during the fall for a January start
  • To successfully complete your internship, you would need to complete 11-13 hours a week (depends on internship start, vacations, and sick days)
  • See the Standard Track Schedule of Classes

MSSW Program Admission

Admission dates and required information vary between the General and Advanced Standing tracks. Please see complete details below.

General (Foundation) Program  
Advanced Standing Program  

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Contacts

Dr. Henry Poduthase MA, MSW, Ph.D.
Director MSSW Program
(806) 651-2628
Meg DeJong-Shier, LMSW
Field Director MSSW Program
(806) 651-2624