MSW in AR | Master of Social Work Degree Arkansas
The state of Arkansas located in the Southern US has a rich culture and unique history. Arkansas is also a state that has an exceptional amount of opportunity for the well-educated social worker. Whether you want to become a child welfare case manager in Little Rock, or a licensed social worker in Fort Smith you will want to make sure you have a competitive resume. Due to the economic downturn in 2008, many workers chose to return to schools like Arkansas State University and earn higher degrees such as the Master of Social Work. This in turn means that remain competitive in the modern workplace you will want to strongly consider earning your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree if you plan on a career in social work. While some positions may not strictly require a MSW such as being a Social Worker PRN in the infirmary at Catholic Health Initiatives in Little Rock, increasingly employers in cities like Little Rock have discovered they can be very selective and take only the most highly qualified candidates. With an MSW you can have a variety of careers such as being a Home Health Social Worker with Community Health Systems in El Dorado.
There are many reasons to consider getting your Master of Social Work degree (MSW) if you wish to work in Arkansas. For example if you live in Fayetteville and resonate with the idea of helping people with emotional problems you could work as a Licensed Social Worker through the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Some people feel drawn to help the elderly and disabled, considering a career in Springdale as an Aging and Disability Services Case manager. If you are looking for a career where you have frequent interactions with the public you may wish to consider being an Eligibility Worker in Conway or another town that appeals to you. With your Master of Social Work degree (MSW) you will be elevating your resume to become extremely desirable to employers in virtually any Human Services organizations and ensuring that you have job security and tremendous flexibility in whatever municipality in Arkansas you wish to work.
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Those who have completed their graduate studies and earned their MSW degree will then be able to apply for a number of licensure levels such as: Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and the Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW). You can find out specifics on state requirements for licensure in our article Arkansas Social Work Licensure. You can also learn about state licensure laws on the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board.
Finding the Right School for MSW in Arkansas
The importance of earning your MSW in Arkansas is hard to overstate due to the tight Social Work job market in cities like Jonesboro. Keep in mind, that the school and program you graduate from such as the Arkansas State University Social Work program is very important, where you earn your degree and the degree concentration is very important. While many elements of MSW programs are universal, there are many MSW programs that are tailor made to create very specific employment outcomes. For instance, some programs were created in order to help give students the tools to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker such as the Advanced Direct Practice (ADP): Clinical Concentration at the University of Little Rock’s School of Social Work. If you are interested in becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker you may want to check out the state board requirements which you can find here: The ADP program at University of Little Rock may not be as helpful to you if you wish to become a school social worker. Therefore it is important to carefully evaluate different schools and programs through the lens of your final career goals.
Career Options with a MSW
With and MSW you will find that a vast field of potential jobs in social work and human services become available such as working as a Renal Social Worker at Miller County Dialysis as part of DaVita organization in Texarkana. Taking the time to research our jobs description section can really help you to understand some of the career options available to you once you have an MSW. 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:
- Aging and Disability Services Case manager
- Licensed Clinical Social Work
- Eligibility Worker
- Social Service Screener
- Child Welfare Case Manager
- Social and Community Service Manager
- Marriage and Family Therapist
- School Social Worker
- Social Work Administrator
- Social Service Permanency Worker
MSW Programs in Arkansas
Finding the Right Program for You
As you evaluate potential programs you will want to zero in on several key elements in order to help you make an informed opinion. Perhaps one of the first decisions you will want to make in order to narrow the field is whether you feel more comfortable with an online program (See more detail below) or a traditional physical campus such as the University of Little Rock (pop. 709,901). If you happen to feel drawn to attend school at a physical campus, then you will be able to quickly reduce your selection to those schools that are located near areas you wish to live in such as Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (pop. 121,000). 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:
Program accreditation (CSWE etc.)
- The curriculum
- Admissions requirements
- Program prestige
- The financial costs of the program
The single most important element to consider when you are examining various different programs is the course curriculum. It is imperative that you find a program that has a curriculum that very closely matches your desired employment outcome. If you are uncertain as to your career goals you will definitely want to find a more generalized curriculum such as the one offered at Arkansas State University. If you know what career you wish to hold, you will want to find a curriculum that emphasizes your occupation or at least is a more general curriculum. As some MSW programs have been tailor made for certain careers you will want to make sure you know the curriculum before you begin school.
If becoming a licensed clinical social worker in Arkansas 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). In Arkansas this includes University of Little Rock and Arkansas State University.
You will of course need to meet any admissions requirements and also have a financial situation that meshes with the costs of any program you are considering. For example Arkansas State University has a resident tuition of $6,934 for residents for Fall and Spring terms 2013 and non-residents add $8,544 additional to resident costs. There are also fees, books, room and board to consider. These fees should be put in context of your expected earnings after graduation which the median yearly pay in Arkansas for a Social Worker is $43,520 according to the BLS.
A final consideration to weigh if you are down to a few similar candidates is how prestigious the program or school is in social work circles. Some programs are held in very high regard and may net you a better position or salary.
Online Programs in Arkansas
There are significant differences between online and physical campuses that you will want to evaluate before making your final decision. For some, financial considerations are of paramount importance and this will make online programs more attractive as they are usually less expensive when compared to their traditional campus peers. One of the qualities that make online programs particularly appealing for some students is the much greater flexibility when compared to traditional schools. This flexibility can be seen in class times and schedules and also the rate at which one completes their program. Often, online programs are very modular and allow the student to have a much freer hand in customizing their own education. This can be tremendously valuable to many “non-traditional” adults who are returning to education after an extended break, students such as: students who are working full time for financial reasons, busy parents or others for whom flexibility is critical. A final advantage to consider is that online courses can be taken from the comfort of one’s home or office.
Arkansas Colleges with MSW Prerequisite and Preparation Degree Programs
Arkansas Northeastern College
Arkansas State University-Beebe
Arkansas State University-Main Campus 2105 E. Aggie Road
|Arkansas Tech University|
Administration Bldg 200; 1509 N Boulder Ave
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas
East Arkansas Community College
Henderson State University
John Brown University
Mid-South Community College
National Park Community College
North Arkansas College
Ouachita Baptist University
Ouachita Technical College
Pulaski Technical College
University of Arkansas Rich Mountain Community College
South Arkansas Community College
Southeast Arkansas College
Southern Arkansas University Main Campus
Southern Arkansas University Tech
University of Arkansas Community College-Batesville
University of Arkansas Community College-Hope
University of Arkansas Community College-Morrilton
University of Arkansas Main Campus
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
University of Arkansas at Monticello
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
University of Central Arkansas
University of the Ozarks
Velvatex College of Beauty Culture
Williams Baptist College