Human Services Guide
Arizona

MSW in AZ | Master of Social Work Degree Arizona

Arizona is located in the desert southwest and has the distinction of being the most populous land locked state in the union. In addition to its other unique attributes Arizona offers many opportunities for the well-educated social worker. Whether you want to work as a child welfare worker in Phoenix, a school social worker in Tucson or as Aging and Disability Services Case Manager in Mesa there are many different opportunities for well-educated social workers.

The economy has changed in Arizona and finding Social Work jobs such as being a Medical Social Worker at Abrazo Health Care in Phoenix requires a MSW whereas in the past a BSW might have sufficed. This puts the imperative on current students to make sure they have attained a high level of education from a school like the University of Arizona that keeps them competitive in the modern work force in Tucson or other cities and towns in Arizona. If you are planning on being a social worker in Arizona you will want to strongly consider going to school and earning your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. With the degree you will be eligible for a vast diversity of jobs in human services and social work such as being a Medical Social Worker at Sterling Medical Corporation in Phoenix.

Throughout Arizona there is a tremendous need for Human Services workers who have earned their Master of Social Work degree (MSW) for example, working in the Dialysis Department at Maricopa Integrated Health System in Glendale. The opportunities are many and varied in Arizona. For example, if you live in Prescott and find that you want to work with clients who are suffering from various emotional problems you may want to consider a career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. For those who feel that protecting children is a strong calling you might want to look at becoming a Child Protective Work Service Specialist through Child Protective Services in Tucson or any of Arizona’s great towns and cities. If you find that you are called to work in administration, you might look at the incredible opportunities offered for Social Services Administrators in Phoenix. Whatever career track or municipality is most appealing to you, doors open for those who hold their Master of Social Work degree (MSW). 

Once you have your MSW degree in Arizona you will be eligible to apply for a variety of protected titles such as: Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW), Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). You will be able to find out more information on this on our licensure article here as well as on Board of Behavioral Health Examiners.

Finding the Right School for an MSW in Arizona

It is easy to see how important it is to continue your schooling until you have MSW degree in light of today’s challenging social work job market. You will want to look earning your MSW at schools like Arizona State University (ASU) School of Social Work. Taking the time to visualize long term career trajectory will help you in choosing a good school. By discovering a career that resonates strongly with you on a variety of levels such as being a Medical Social Worker at the PRN Women’s Center in Tucson, you will be able to bring clarity and discernment to the decision making process. One thing to keep in mind as you look at various schools is that curriculums can vary between MSW programs. While many elements will be very similar from school to school, some schools and programs are tailored for specific populations or to aid a student in having the skills for a specific employment outcome. For example, some schools will have MSW programs that are custom made to help the student have the tools required to become a top shelf child welfare worker this is the case with the Child Welfare Training program degree concentration at Arizona State University. If you are more interested in becoming a Social Services Manager you may want to choose the Planning, Administration and Community Practice concentration at ASU. By having your end goal in mind the path itself will become much clearer.

Career Options with a MSW in AZ

Among the myriad career possibilities for social workers who hold an MSW in Arizona are jobs like working as a BSS Registry Social Worker through the Banner Health care system of hospitals and medical facilities in Phoenix. In order to help you in your search for the perfect career, you can browse our section on job descriptions to find a career that sounds like an ideal fit for you. 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:

  • Social and Community Service Manager
  • Licensed Clinical Social Work
  • Eligibility Worker
  • Social Service Screener
  • Child Welfare Case Manager
  • Aging and Disability Services Case manager
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • School Social Worker
  • Social Work Administrator
  • Social Service Permanency Worker

MSW Programs in AZ

Finding the Right Program for You

There are many elements you will want to evaluate as part of the decision making process. One of the first things to consider which can help narrow your focus quite a bit is deciding whether a traditional physical campus such as the Phoenix (pop. 1.5 million) vs. Tucson (pop. 526,000) ASU campuses or an online program is the better fit for you. They both have their advantages and disadvantages some of which may be positive for one student and a detriment to another. If you decide that a traditional campus is the right fit for you, then you will be able to immediately eliminate programs that are on only specific campuses such as the Planning, Administration and Community Practice concentration at ASU which is only offered at the Phoenix campus. Once you have made a decision on whether you prefer an online or traditional campus, you can start evaluating some of the aspects of schools and programs you are considering:

  • The financial costs of the program
  • The curriculum
  • Admissions requirements
  • Program accreditation (CSWE etc.)
  • Program prestige

The most important aspect of any program will be its curriculum such as the various degree concentrations offered at the Phoenix and Tucson campuses of ASU. A program might have every other feature as a ten out of ten, but with a curriculum that does not match your needs the other elements won’t be important at all. It is absolutely critical that the curriculum of the program you are evaluating closely match your career goals such as being a Part-time Renal Social Worker in Glendale. As stated above, most MSW programs will have tremendous cross over between them. However, you will need to decide if a tailored program is right for you, or if a more generalized program better suits your needs. 

If becoming a licensed clinical social worker in Arizona is your career goal, then you will want to find a school and program that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The only school in Arizona that meets this credential is Arizona State University (ASU) MSW program.

You will of course need to consider and meet any admissions requirements for programs you are considering. You will also need to evaluate your personal financial situation and weigh it against the costs of any program you are evaluating. ASU has tuition of $5,001 for 7+ credit hours for residents vs. $7,161 for 7+ credit hours for non-residents. To get a sense of what this will cost you in the long run you will want to consider the median yearly wage for Social Workers in Arizona which according to the BLS is $52,480.

Online Programs

Online programs often have some rather significant differences from their traditional campus counterparts. Some people will feel more comfortable with a traditional campus for a variety of reasons. However, an online program may be a far better fit for you. One of the advantages of the online program is quite straightforward and that is that most online programs will have a significant financial advantage in terms of cost when compared to their traditional counterparts. Perhaps the most compelling difference is how modular many online programs are. Often students are able to customize their education in terms of class times and program completion rates. This can be a huge boon to certain kinds of students such as: students who are working full time for financial reasons, busy parents, adults who are returning to education after an extended break or others for whom flexibility is critical. Another advantage which can be extremely important to some students is the ability to take classes from the comfort of their own home or office. This is an advantage that shouldn’t be overlooked. Everyone has individual tastes and needs and only you will be able to know whether a physical or online program is a better fit for you.