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)
Professional Organizations Offering 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.
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.