Social work is a dynamic profession, requiring you to stay current in the field, whether it’s applying the latest research, understanding a new regulation and its implications, maintaining your license or professional credential or acquiring additional training to meet the needs of an aging population, for example.

Look to the following resources to. . .

  • Grow and manage your career;
  • Maintain a practice of excellence; and
  • Better serve individuals, families and communities (NASW, 2016)

Continuing Education for Social Workers

  • National Association of Social Workers: NASW promotes professionalism among its members through continuing education and the Social Work Journal. Both update members with best practices. Members can also turn to NASW for legal assistance. NASW advocates for the interests of social workers and sound public policy.
  • Minnesota Social Service Association: MSSA provides members with benefits such as tuition discounts, access to continuing education, an annual conference and regular updates on the field’s latest developments. Minnesota social workers who join can benefit from networking opportunities, job postings and advocacy efforts at the state level. All members automatically become members of regional chapters.
  • Minnesota Society for Clinical Social Work: This organization focuses on the needs and interests of clinical social workers. Members can connect with clinical supervisors and take advantage of opportunities for continuing education and other workshops. MSCSW keeps members informed about legislative issues at the state level as well as relevant healthcare reforms.

Master’s in Social Work

The Master’s in Social Work (MSW) typically requires two years of full-time graduate study in combination with two years (900-1200 cumulative hours) of internship, also referred to as field practicum, education or experience. Many MSW programs provide BSW graduates with an advanced standing option, allowing them to complete an MSW in a shorter period of time (typically 1 year).

Most MSW programs allow students to choose a clinical or direct practice track, which focuses on direct practice with clients, or a macro practice track, with a focus on political advocacy, community organizing, policy analysis and/or human services management. While the clinical track tends to be more popular, there has been a resurgence in community practice concentrations recently. There are also opportunities at many universities to obtain joint degrees, such as an MSW and a Public Administration degree, MSW and Public Health or MSW and Law. The MSW practice scope has broadened in recent years to include the specialty practice areas of geriatrics and work with veterans. In some schools the curriculum is based on a generalist model which integrates the facets of the various practice areas within social work.

Substance Abuse Graduate Programs

Graduate Substance Abuse Counselor Programs prepare students to help patients struggling with dependency and addiction. This may include evaluating clients, creating and enacting best treatment plans and supporting families impacted by addiction.

Graduate Substance Abuse Counselor Programs may touch on several different types of dependency, including drug and alcohol use and explore possible treatments and solutions. Classes may also examine the many top psychological factors impacting substance abuse, and hone the rehabilitation counseling skills and knowledge you may use to help patients in the field.

Programs may be offered at the masters and doctorate levels, both on campus and online.

Addiction counseling, drug abuse and substance abuse counseling degrees may be available at variety of levels. Each one may carry unique potential benefits and goals. While most programs would cover core topics in counseling and addiction, the specific requirements and coursework may vary. Some may even concentrate on specific types of addiction, or certain substance abuse counseling techniques.

Consider your goals, experience and areas of interest to determine which Substance Abuse Counselor programs may be perfect for you.

Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

Earning Masters Degree in Addiction Counseling psychology could help you to develop a comprehensive understanding of psychological and chemical dependency, as well as different ways to combat it. Programs like this may be an attractive option for those hoping to practice substance abuse counseling in a private practice or who want to conduct an addiction counseling program in a private setting. That’s because a masters degree typically is the minimum requirement for pursuing a state license.

(Check with your state regulating board to learn more about what that entails.) Students may be able to complete a substance abuse masters program in around two years of full time study. However, program length may vary by school.

Masters in Substance Abuse Counseling Programs may also be offered under different names. These include Masters in Addiction Counseling, M.S. in Substance Abuse or Master of Arts in Human Services – Addictions and Recovery. However, whatever they’re called, each may cover a standard track of similar coursework.