New Jersey is located in the mid-Atlantic region and boasts a powerful economy and unique culture. New Jersey is also an excellent state to start a career as a social worker. In today’s highly competitive marketplace it is extremely important to have a top-shelf education. Your education will need to give you a skillset that matches your career and makes your resume stand out to potential employers. As the economy has changed in the past decade workers have responded by going back to school and taking additional training. This has raised the bar for employment and to remain competitive you will need to earn an advanced degree in your field.
If you are considering becoming a social worker in New Jersey, you will almost certainly want to attain a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. A MSW is a degree that is highly regarded by employers in the human services field such as the New Jersey Department of Human Services and is one that offers a tremendous diversity of careers in the sector. Earning your MSW will give you many potential career paths you can take that include many advanced positions in Social Work. Our database on job descriptions offers an in-depth look at a variety of careers. Even if you are looking for a career that does not require a MSW, you may want to consider earning one anyways to ensure that your resume stands out from the crowd. Having an MSW will also allow you great flexibility in terms of career options if you decide on a change later in life.
In New Jersey there are three levels of social work licensure and all require that you have earned your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. The titles include: the Certified Social Worker (CSW), the Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). Each level has its own distinct requirements which you can find full information about in our New Jersey Social Work Licensure. The state’s regulatory website is available to browse The State Board of Social Work Examiners.
New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the Union and it has a tremendous need for Social Workers in a vast array of organizations and occupational niches. Due to the incredibly dense population, there are opportunities for Human Services professionals all across the state and the demand for Human Services is exceptionally high. If you feel called to help people with their emotional and mental problems and wish to serve a diverse clientele you may wish to earn you Master of Social Work degree (MSW) en route to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and opening your own private practice in a city like Newark. Some people would like to help the part of the population that is suffering under the pains brought on by substance abuse, for them a potentially very rewarding career path is to become an Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor in a city like Jersey City. For those who are pulled towards helping children who are vulnerable to ensure that they have a safe home environment a challenging but fulfilling career can be found as a Child Welfare Case Manager in a city like Patterson. Such career possibilities are barely scratching the surface of what is available to a Social Worker in New Jersey who possesses their Master of Social Work degree (MSW).
Once you’ve decided that obtaining an MSW is the next step in your educational development, you will want to focus on the selection of a great school and program. Selecting a school and MSW program curriculum that closely matches your employment aspirations, is almost as important as earning your MSW itself. For example, if you are interested in becoming a Social Services Administrator you may wish to consider a program similar to the Non-Profit and Public Management degree concentration offered by Rutgers. Evaluating several schools will really help you to refine your search and discover exactly what it is you are looking for in a program.
Determining exactly what your career aspirations are may help you to bring clarity to your decision making process. The curriculum and skills taught at each program may differ greatly and this is something you will want explore in-depth. Some MSW programs are tailored for certain career specializations. Once you know what your career goals are, you will be able to discern which program truly fits your needs. Those looking to go into Licensed Clinical Social Work will have required a very different skillset compared to those who wish to go into human services management.
Career Options with a MSW
You will have a multitude of job options once you have earned your Master of Social Work. It is a wise idea to take the time to thoroughly research a variety of potential careers to find one that is an excellent fit for you. You might for example, be interested in a career as a Medical Social Worker – MSW working for Liberty Dialysis LLC in Linwood or a similar occupation in another city. Here at humanservicesedu.org we have built a resource that can help you research this exact question. Below you will find a fairly short list of some of the many positions you will qualified for with an MSW. For more in-depth research consult our section on job descriptions:
MSW Programs in New Jersey
Finding the Right Program for You
It is very important to take the time to analyze several traits of potential programs you are researching. The first decision you might wish to make, is whether an online program or a physical campus is a better fit for your learning style and desired living situation. If you find that you prefer the more traditional “brick and mortar” campus such as the Monmouth University campus in West Long Branch (Pop. 8,097), then you will then be able to quickly narrow your search to those schools located in areas you wish to live. There is a significant different in the quality of life between say the Monmouth University campus in West Long Branch (Pop. 8,097) and that of Rutgers campus in Newark (Pop 277,140) After you have decided between a physical vs. online campus, you will want to analyze the following aspects of the programs you are considering:
By far the most important consideration you need to make is in your analysis of a programs curriculum. It is crucial that the curriculum of the program you choose match your desired career track. You will need to keep in mind that some MSW programs have been tailor made to create specific employment outcomes for their students. For example, the Clinical Social Work concentration offered by Rutgers for example would work well for someone wishing to go into Licensed Clinical Social Work. If you can find a program that is custom made for your career then you have found a good fit, otherwise you may wish to find a MSW program that has a more generalized curriculum.
If pursuing a career as a licensed clinical social worker in New Jersey sounds appealing to you, then you will want to look for programs that have been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). For more information on licensure in New Jersey click here:
You will also need to consider your personal financial situation and weigh it against the costs of each program. You will want to evaluate a number of schools, for example Monmouth University has a tuition rate of $922 per credit hour regardless of your residency status. This does not include various fees for students, textbook costs or room and board which all need to be considered as you make this important financial decision after evaluating several schools and programs.
Online Programs in New Jersey
A variety of key differences exist between online programs and their more traditional physical campus counterparts. One of the potential advantages of online programs is that they will often have lower financial costs than their physical campus counterparts in the form of smaller tuitions. For many students the single most important advantage held by online programs, is that they often have modular attributes such as flexible class times and program completion rates. This kind of flexibility can be critical for many “non-traditional students” for whom flexibility is especially important. Taking a class from the comfort of one’s office or home is another trait that makes online programs very appealing to students with certain learning styles. You will have to weigh both traditional and online programs against your own personal educational needs to find the best fit for you.