Human Services Guide
Massachusetts

MSW in MA | Master of Social Work Degree, Massachusetts

Massachusetts is located in New England and has a long and storied history. In addition to its other unique attributes, Massachusetts offers many opportunities for the well-educated social worker. Whether you want to work as an eligibility worker in Plymouth, a child welfare worker in Boston or as an Aging and Disability Services Case Manager in Cambridge there are many opportunities for well-educated social workers. 

Many workers have responded to the changes in the economy by returning to schools such as Simmons College to attain advanced degrees and training. This means that current students will want to make sure they have attained an advanced degree such as a MSW to be competitive in the modern work force. If you want to become a social worker in Massachusetts you will want consider earning your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. With the degree you will be eligible for a vast diversity of jobs in human services such as working at the Department of Children and Families and social work specifically.

One of the best advantages gained by earning a Master of Social Work degree is the ability to become a licensed social worker. With your MSW you can become a Licensed Social Work Associate (LSWA), Licensed Social Worker (LSW), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). The details of how to attain these different levels of licensure can be found in our comprehensive article on licensure in Massachusetts here. A great deal of additional relevant information can be found on the state website on licensure which you at the Board of Regulation of Social Workers.

There are so many different ways you can impact your community and find a way to give back to the city you love. As a Social Worker the best way to ensure that you are able to not only find work, but also have flexibility in term of career options is to continue with your education until you have earned your Master of Social Work degree (MSW). By doing this you will be able to choose from a vast array of different potential occupations within Human Services and be able to find work throughout Massachusetts. If you are drawn towards using your motivational, speaking and organizational abilities to help people put out their best work you may want to consider a career as a member of the board of directors in a Non-profit agency whose cause is one you are closely aligned with. If you prefer having a governments resources at your back while you provide Human Services you may wish to consider becoming a Social Services Administrator. For those who have the entrepreneurial spirit and wish to be their own boss, you can earn your Master of Social Work degree (MSW) as the first step towards becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in a city like Amherst. Few other degrees will give you such freedom and flexibility in Social Work as you gain by attaining your MSW degree. 

Finding the Right School for MSW in Massachusetts

Once you have seen the importance of earning your MSW degree in light of the current job market, you can start your search to find the ideal school and program. Remember, where you earn your degree is almost as important as attaining the degree itself.

In order to begin to clarify your educational goals it is wise to try and orient yourself by determining what career you want to have after graduation such as being a Hospice Medical Social Worker at Amedisys Home Health and Hospice Care in Hyannis for example. By discovering a career that resonates strongly with you on a variety of levels, you will be able to bring clarity and discernment to the process of choosing your school. While many elements will be very similar from program to program, some schools and programs are tailored for a specific employment outcome. For example, some schools will have MSW programs that are designed to give the student the tools required to become a child welfare worker as is the case with the Child and Family Specialization degree concentration at Simmons College for example. If you are more interested in a different career you will want to find a program that is better suited to your goals. By having your end goal in mind the path itself will become much clearer.

Career Options with a MSW

There are myriad career possibilities for social workers who hold a MSW. Researching potential careers until you find an excellent match for you will help you make sure you get the most out of your education. It could sound appealing to you for instance to become a Licensed Social Worker LSW MSW at Golden Living Centers in Lexington helping the elderly cope with their unique mental stresses. 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

Finding the Right Program for You

There are many elements of potential MSW programs that you will want to evaluate as part of your decision making process. One of the first things to consider and help narrow your field of candidates, is deciding whether a traditional physical campus such as the Springfield College of Social Work in Springfield (Pop. 153,000) or an online program (more on online programs below) is a better fit for you. They both have their advantages and disadvantages that you will want to consider. 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 campuses in areas you do not wish to live as there are rather obvious differences in lifestyle between the Springfield College of Social Work campus in Springfield (Pop. 153,000) compared to the Simmons College campus in Boston (Pop. 4.1 million). Once you have made a decision on whether you prefer an online or traditional campus in Massachusetts, 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 to evaluate in any Massachusetts MSW program is the curriculum. A school might be a great fit on many levels, but if it has a curriculum that does not match your needs the other elements will not matter. It is critical that the curriculum of the program you are evaluating closely match your career goals. As stated above, most MSW programs will have many universal elements. However, you will need to decide if a tailored program such as the Simmons College degree concentration in Trauma and Interpersonal Violence Specialization is right for you, or if a more generalized program like the one offered by Springfield College better suits your needs. 

If becoming a licensed clinical social worker in Massachusetts 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). For more information on licensure in Massachusetts click here:

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 make sure you can afford the costs of programs you are considering. For example, a flat yearly tuition for the School of Social Work $27,500 regardless of residency, but not inclusive of books, fees or room and board. You will want to research and analyze a variety of schools to help you make an informed decision about relative tuition costs in Massachusetts.

Online MSW Degree Programs from Massachusetts

Often online programs have significant differences compared to their traditional campus counterparts. An online program may be a far better fit for you if you need flexibility or have a tighter budget. One of the advantages of the online program is that many 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 schedules and program completion rates. This can be extremely important to students for whom flexibility is critical. Another advantage which can be very helpful for some learning styles is the ability to take classes from the comfort of your own home or office. Different students have their own needs and only you will be able to determine whether a physical or online program is a better fit for you.