Human Services Guide

Doctorate of Social Work (DSW)

At the pinnacle of social work education is the Doctorate of Social Work (DSW). Allowing for virtually unlimited options within human services organizations and in particular social work agencies, no other social work degree gives you the kind of versatility, prestige, recognition of expert status or ability to command a top salary. With your Doctorate of Social Work you will have your choice of which agency to work in as well as in what capacity. If you wish to be an expert in the delivery of mental health services as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or even higher degrees of licensure, a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) is the degree to attain. For those who are interested in studying social work phenomena in a clinical setting, having your DSW will provide you with the credibility you will need to acquire a staff of researchers and form your own research program. If you want to teach in academia, having your Doctorate will allow you to mold and train the next generation of Social Workers. Regardless of your career goals in Social Work, having your Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) will allow you to pursue and attain your dream job in the field.

As the workforce has become ever more educated it has become increasingly important that you attain a level of education that makes your resume stand out to prospective employers. Many people responded to being fired or laid off during the economic downturn of 2008 by returning to school and getting advanced degrees in their field of expertise or even in entirely new ones such as Social Work. The end result of this is a highly educated workforce and greatly increased competition. In the past, having a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) would make your resume stand out and would open the door to more advanced positions in the Social Work sphere. With so many workers completing their Master’s program it is now those with Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) degrees that are catching the eyes of employers as the best potential candidates for jobs.

If you are planning on entering the field of Licensed Clinical Social Work you will find that a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) gives you a vast depth of understanding of the field of Clinical Social Work. In addition to increased knowledge, the Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) degree will give you the skillsets and practical training to immediately translate your education into effective professional practices. In some states, you can substitute your Doctorate of Social Work education for some portion or even all of the required supervised experience one needs to attain licensure. This is extremely valuable as your time will have been effectively doubled as you both attain a degree that will make your private practice stand out in the eyes of potential clients and at the same time you have also reduced or even eliminated the additional time requirements to earn licensure.

You are able to work in virtually any Social Work job once you have your DSW, which will include but is not limited to:

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Advanced Practice Clinical Social Worker
  • Social and Community Service Manager
  • Non-Profit Director
  • Social Work Administrator
  • Human Services Administrator
  • Professor of Social Work
  • School Social Worker
  • Child Welfare Permanency Worker

Having your Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) will give you absolute freedom to find work within virtually any Social Work agency, open your own private practice in Licensed Clinical Social Work, become a professor at a university or move directly into management or directorship at almost any human services agency or Non-profit. No other degree will give you this level of prestige, versatility, expertise and monetary compensation level. It is important that you carefully plan your academic process if you want to attain your DSW, this will require researching a number of schools to find the perfect fit for you. If you wish to attain licensure it is important that you understand your state’s requirements around licensure which you can find by clicking on the name of your state on our homepage here: