Social Work Master's Degrees

If you have completed your bachelor's degree in sociology, psychology, or a related field and are interested in administrative, counseling, or supervisor positions, you will need to pursue a master's degree in social work. Many social workers complete a master's degree so that they can work in specialized fields and obtain the advanced training they need to take on a supervisory role. Social workers in clinical settings typically need at least a master's degree to enter the field.


Social Work Master's Degree Requirements

You may choose to get a bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) before you complete a master's degree, or complete an undergraduate degree in a related field. However, having a bachelor's degree is not required. You could also take undergraduate courses in psychology, economics, political science, sociology, and other general courses.

When you are looking for master's degree programs, check to see if the program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, a recognized accrediting organization. Make sure you're aware of all of the materials you need to submit with your application. Many schools require at least three letters of recommendation, a statement of interest, and a resume listing all types of education and training you have received. Some master's degree programs are designed only for social work professionals who have three or more years of work experience in the field.

Social Work Degree Examination Requirements

All graduates of a master's in social work degree program also need to pass an official exam that is monitored by the Association of Social Work Boards. This exam has 170 multiple-choice questions and includes three levels:

  • Masters - a generalist test for anyone who is entering the field without any previous work experience
  • Advanced Generalist - an advanced test for those who have two years of post-degree experience in a non-clinical setting
  • Clinical - an advanced test for those with at least two years of post-degree experience in a direct clinical practice setting

Once you have passed this exam, you will be eligible to apply for supervisory, administrative, and staff training positions. You can also consider clinical practice positions but may need to get some work experience before applying for more advanced positions in this specialty. Having a master's degree will open up a number of job opportunities for you throughout your career.