Department of Graduate Social Work FAQs
Q. What can I do with an MSW degree after I graduate?
There many different settings in which a social worker may work after completing the MSW degree. Some of the options are private and public agencies, hospitals, schools, private practice and courts. Social workers are committed to the process of planned change and may work with individuals or groups; help communities or groups provide or improve social and health services; and participate in relevant legislative processes that affect the quality of life for all citizens. You can explore different opportunities in the field of social work from engaging in field experiences.
Q. What do I need to do to practice in the social work profession?
Each state has different licensing requirements. You will need to check with the state you plan to practice in for their specific requirements. Most states require a license, the license can be obtained by taking a standard licensing test after completion of your MSW. Keep in mind your MSW must be from an accredited institution (Springfield College Department of Graduate Social Work is accredited by CSWE). Prior to setting up an independent practice at NASW recommends at least two years post MSW supervised experience.
Q. What are the employment prospects for social workers?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of social workers is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016. The need for social workers is on the rise. Because of the demand for social workers in so many different areas, it would be difficult to assign a range for social work salaries or positions available. From our 2007 Alumni Survey, 84% of our graduates reported full-time work in the field. The average amount of time to secure a full-time position was 2.2 months.
Q. How do I find employment upon graduation?
While engaged in your field experiences there are many opportunities to network with other social workers and agencies. Networking is a valuable tool in finding agencies that share your philosophy and serve populations with whom you would like to work. Another great resource can be the internet. We also post job opportunities at the School of Social Work and Behavioral Sciences. The Springfield College Career Center is another Campus resource. Finally, The National Association of Social Workers is the largest professional membership organization for social workers. NASW has membership chapters in each state and most state chapters have Job Banks.
Q. As a working parent, would the course work and field placements be too much for me to handle?
Many of our students must balance work and family responsibilities, as well as further their education. For this reason we have part-time weekend programs to help with busy schedules. For field placements, we consider student input in the field agency placement assignment process.
Q. I’m thinking of enrolling in the full-time program. How will it fit into my already busy life?
In the full-time program, classes are held on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM leaving the remaining days open for field work and your studies.
Q. As a returning adult student, would I be at a disadvantage compared to students fresh from the undergraduate level?
Not at all! Many of our students are returning to further their education after being away from the academic setting for years. The life experiences these students bring to their education is invaluable. Adult students are represented in both the full-time weekday and part-time weekend programs.
Q. How long does the program take to complete?
Students who have a bachelors degree in a field other than social work may choose to complete the MSW degree in either a full-time weekday program, which takes two years, or a part-time weekend program, which takes three years. Students who hold a BSW from an accredited BSW program received within the last five years and who can demonstrate a mastery of course content and field experience are eligible to apply for advanced standing. A limited number of students are accepted into this program. The full-time advanced standing program is completed in one summer and one year of full-time study.
Q. Is there anything I can do to prepare before actually entering the program?
Before entering the program consider volunteering your time or work in an entry level position in a social work agency. This is a great opportunity to explore your interests. Volunteering also shows a dedication to the field and to serving others, which is a great addition to your resume. It is also useful to build a credentials file. People who are in a position to evaluate your work such as professors, employers, or supervisors where you volunteered are the kinds of people you may ask to write letters of recommendation for you. Also, it is important to have had some introductory experience with word processing computer programs.
Q. I understand not all social work programs are accredited. Is Springfield College Department of Graduate Social Work?
Yes, Springfield College Department of Graduate Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, Commission on Accreditation. This is the official accrediting body for social work programs in the United States. Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education permits graduates to sit for social work licensure examinations in all states.
Q. How is my application evaluated? When should I expect to hear from you?
Each application is reviewed by faculty members and assigned a score. The score is based upon the overall record of accomplishment, references, and the personal statement. When the faculty members review applications the following are considered: (1) academic potential, (2) the effectiveness of the professional statement, (3) the applicant’s congruence with social work professional values, (4) letters of recommendation, (5) work and volunteer experiences, (6) graduate courses and training courses, and (7) strength of the applicant’s entire application materials.
Q. Who reviews applications and do they look for anything specific?
All full-time faculty share in the review process. The review does not emphasize just one part of your application. Faculty are usually looking for someone who is a good fit in the field of social work and who has the academic background to do well in graduate school.
Q. As a transfer student, do I still go by the regular deadline dates? How do I go about transferring classes from my current institution?
Yes, you do you have to abide by the application deadlines. Normally, all work for the MSW degree is at Springfield College Department of Graduate Social Work. Transfer credit may be awarded on a course by course basis, up to nine graduate credits earned at a an accredited graduate program in social work. Courses are eligible for consideration if they have been taken within five years of candidacy (projected date to receive the MSW) at Springfield College and if the student earned a B or better in the course. No course credits are granted for life experience or previous work experience. The School will not grant credit for graduate courses already used for another awarded degree. Decisions concerning the transfer of credit are made the summer immediately following your acceptance.
Q. Can I receive my financial aid and grants?
Financial aid availability for students varies from year to year. All students seeking financial aid assistance should apply for aid through the Springfield College Office of Financial Aid. This office will also provide information about federal loans. Students may apply for a limited number of graduate teaching/research fellowships(which pay a monthly stipend) available through Springfield College. Application materials for these positions are available from the College Graduate Admissions Office each spring or as positions become available. The National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program is another resource. Contact: NHSC LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM, 2070 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 450, Vienna, VA 22182, (800) 221-9393.
Q. What happens after I am accepted?
Following your acceptance, you will receive details concerning most aspects of the College, the School of Social Work and Behavioral Sciences, your program of study and the field practicum.