Texas is a state with a great economy and tremendous opportunity for the well-trained social worker. In today’s highly competitive marketplace it is extremely important to have an excellent education. Your education needs to prepare you for your career and make your resume stand out to a prospective employer. 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 your education must be top shelf.
For those who are considering becoming social workers in Texas, you will want to consider getting your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. A MSW is a degree that is very sought after by employers in the human services field 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, such as: becoming a school social worker to help troubled youth in Houston or one of Texas’ 1050+ school districts, becoming a case manager with the Texas Health and Human Services commission in Dallas, and setting up an independent practice as a licensed clinical social worker in San Antonio. 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 career flexibility later if you should change your mind on career goals.
Texas has four levels of licensure all with unique titles including: the Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW), the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), the Licensed Master Social Worker – Advanced Practice (LMSW-AP) and the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). A Master of Social Work will fulfill the academic requirement for every level. In order to fully understand the requirements of each you may find it useful to read the Texas Social Work Licensure Article on licensure here. The state website on licensing can be found at dshs.state.tx.us/.
As you contemplate your career goals, it is important to realize that a very critical step on your journey towards a fulfilling occupation is taking the time to research, compare and contrast several MSW schools to find the perfect program fit for you. By doing this you lay the educational ground work for a successful career in Social Work regardless of what that career might be. For example, you might find that you are a capable healer and want to assist people in resolving past emotional and mental patterns that are preventing them from functioning at an optimal level. If that sounds appealing to you then you will want to pursue licensure and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in Dallas or another city. For those who wish to work with the elderly and disabled, starting a career as an Aging and Disability Case Manager through the Department of Human Services in Houston might lead to a very rewarding job. Whatever you goals in Social Work may be, you will find that having your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree will help you to attain them.
Once you’ve decided that obtaining an MSW is your educational goal you will want to focus on the selection of a great school and MSW program. Selecting a school and MSW program curriculum that closely matches employment goals, is almost as important as earning the MSW itself. As one considers how important it is to have your resume stand out to potential employers, you can see how important it is to thoroughly compare and contrast several schools and programs.
Figuring out exactly what career you are interested in may help to bring clarity to your decision making process. For example, if you are interested in becoming a manager as part of a Human Services leadership team, then you will want to consider a program similar to the Administrative Leadership degree concentration offered at the Texas State University. Those looking to go into child welfare will have very different educational needs from those who wish to go into management or those interested in becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (more info on licensure in Texas found here:). Those who are interested in becoming Licensed Clinical Social Workers might want to consider a degree concentration in Direct Practice similar to the one offered at Texas State University. If you are undecided on what career you want to have in Social Work post-graduation you may wish to consider a broad based approach such as the Advanced Generalist degree concentrations offered by several online Universities.
You will have many career options once you have earned your Master of Social Work in Texas. It is a wise idea to spend some time to research and consider which career is the best match for you. You have many career options available to you one such example job is being a Hospice Social Worker helping the dying and their families adjust to grief and the transition of death, working for a company like Community Health Systems in Laredo. If you find that you are interested in helping people recover from traumatic or chronic injuries you might want to consider a career similar to being a Rehabilitation Counselor PRN Social Worker employed by a company like HCA in Houston. 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 Texas
Finding the Right Program for You
It is very important to take the time to evaluate a number of elements of potential schools you are researching and the individual MSW programs themselves. The first decision to make is whether a physical campus such as the campus of the University of Texas at Austin (Pop. 1.8 million metro) or an online program is a better fit for you. You will want to consider the following elements: your desired living situation, your need for flexibility, your particular learning style and your personal finances. If you prefer the more traditional physical campus, then you will be able to quickly narrow your search to schools that are appealing based on where the campus is as there is a large lifestyle difference between the campuses of Texas State University – San Marcos (Pop. 44,894) and that of the University of Texas at Austin (Pop. 1.8 million metro). After you have decided between a physical vs. online campus, you will want to turn your focus to the following aspects of the programs you are considering:
It is critical that the curriculum of the program you choose closely matches your desired occupation. If pursuing a career as a licensed clinical social worker in Texas sounds appealing to you, then you will want to look for programs that have been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Choosing a program that is CSWE accredited is an excellent choice as it will help move you towards licensure in Texas and at the same time open the door to possible licensure in other states. Most states require CSWE accreditation for licensure.
You will also need to take into consideration your personal financial situation along with the costs of each program. For illustration purposes consider Texas State University which has tuition of $635.63 per credit hour including fees for residents and $986.63 per credit hour including fees for non-residents. You will also need to tabulate the costs for texts, supplies and room and board. Comparing several universities both in Texas and online will give you enough information to make an excellent choice as to your education and help you meet your long term career goals.
There are several advantages to online programs that make them well worth the time to consider. Online programs will often have lower financial costs than their physical campus counterparts for a variety of reasons. For many the single most advantageous element of an online program is that it will often have much greater flexibility in terms of class times and program completion rate. This kind of flexibility can be critical for many “non-traditional students”, from: full time working students, to busy parents, to adults who are returning to education after an extended break or others for whom flexibility is key. There are pros and cons to both traditional campuses and online programs you will have to discover for yourself which method of education is better for you in Texas.