Human Services Guide
New Mexico

MSW in NM | Master of Social Work in New Mexico

New Mexico is located in the Southwest of the United States and borders Mexico. New Mexico is a wonderful state to live in and a great state to have a career as a social worker. There is a tremendous need for well-trained social workers who have advanced degrees in New Mexico. In the last decade the economy has changed drastically. The American workforce is far more educated than it was 10 years ago as workers responded to the economic downturn by returning to schools like New Mexico State University to gain higher education degrees in order to become more employable. If you want to remain competitive it is critical that you work to earn the education you need to be able to secure the career of your dreams.

In our database on job descriptions you will find an in-depth look at a variety of careers such as working for the New Mexico Human Services Department as a Social Services Administrator. Having your MSW degree will all but guarantee that you are able to get a job within a short period of time after graduating. Having an MSW also gives you great flexibility in career options if you want to change careers later in life.

Once you have earned your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree you will find that ever level of social work licensure has now had its academic requirements met. These include: the Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker (LBSW), the Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and the Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW). You can find a complete breakdown of the requirements for all three levels of licensure here. You may also wish to review the New Mexico Social Work Board website.

Social Work in New Mexico can be a tremendously fulfilling endeavor, however to give yourself the widest possible selection of jobs and future career flexibility, you will want to earn your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. This in turn will require that you research a number of MSW schools in New Mexico in order to find one that is an excellent fit for your career and educational needs. There are a wide variety of potential careers you can embark upon once you have found an MSW school and finished your degree program. If you enjoy helping children you may enjoy a career as a School Social Worker in Santa Fe, helping youth with mental and emotional problems overcome barriers to success and finish their education. Some people greatly enjoy the thrill and challenge of working in a fast-paced medical environment and will find that becoming a Medical Social Worker in a city like Albuquerque and helping people apply for Medicare and Medicaid benefits is deeply rewarding. With so many options in the field of Social Work once you have your MSW, it comes down to finding a good program to succeed in from the various MSW schools that are in your area.

Finding the Right School for MSW in New Mexico

You will want to be sure to select a school and Master of Social Work program curriculum that closely matches your employment goals. Determining what your career goals are should greatly help you in bringing clarity to your selection process. If you are uncertain what career goal you might have in mind, you will want to find a program similar to the Advanced Generalist degree concentration offered at New Mexico Highlands University. Once you know what your desired career is, you will be able to have clarity around which program truly fits your needs.

Determining what your career goals are should greatly help you in bringing clarity to your selection process. The curriculum and skills taught at each program can differ, in some cases dramatically and this is something you will want to research in-depth. Some New Mexico MSW programs are tailored for certain specializations. Once you know what your desired career is, you will be able to have clarity around which program truly fits your needs.

Career Options with a MSW

You will have a great diversity of career choices after you have earned your Master of Social Work. For example, you might consider working as a Medical Social Worker for Presbyterian Health Services in Albuquerque or another occupation of a similar nature in another New Mexico town. It is wise to take the time to thoroughly research a variety of potential careers to find one that resonates with 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:

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

MSW Programs in New Mexico

Finding the Right Program for You

You will need to take the time to research several elements of potential MSW programs to make an informed decision. The first way to cut down your list of potential programs is to determine whether an online program or a physical campus is a better fit for you given your unique learning style and desired living situation. If you discover that you prefer the more traditional “brick and mortar” campus such as the New Mexico State campus in Albuquerque (Pop. 552,804), you will be able to quickly zero in on those schools located in areas you wish to live. You will find there is quite a contrast between a campus like the New Mexico State campus in Albuquerque (Pop. 552,804) and the New Mexico Highlands University campus at Las Vegas, NM (Pop. 16,000). After you have decided between a physical vs. online campus, you will want to analyze the following aspects of the programs you are considering:

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

The most critical analysis you need to make is in your research of a program’s curriculum. It is crucial that the curriculum of any program you are considering closely match your desired occupation. If you can find a program that is custom designed for your desired career then you have found an excellent program for you. Otherwise you may wish to find a MSW program that has a more generalized curriculum such as the Advanced Generalist program offered by the New Mexico State MSW program.

If pursuing a career as a licensed clinical social worker in New Mexico 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 New Mexico and at the same time open the door to possible licensure in other states. Most states require CSWE accreditation for licensure. For more information about licensure in New Mexico you can check out our licensure page here:

Of course you must weigh your personal financial situation against tuition and other fees for each program to find one that fits your budget. One example school is the New Mexico Highlands University, which has tuition of $156 per credit hour for resident, $248.90 for non-residents who are US citizens and $316.00 per credit hour for international students. You will want to also tally up the expenses for books, fees and room and board as you analyze and research a few different schools to get a good sense of what options are available to you.

Online MSW Degree Programs in New Mexico

A number of important distinctions exist between online programs and their more traditional peers. Some online programs have significantly lower financial costs compared to their physical campus counterparts. For some students a critical advantage of online programs is that they often have flexible class schedules and program completion rates. This kind of flexibility is extremely important to many “non-traditional students” for whom flexibility is crucial. The ability to take a class from the comfort of one’s office or home makes online programs very appealing to students who have specific learning styles. You will have to compare and contrast both online programs and traditional campuses to find the best fit for your educational needs.

Prerequisites

In most cases, graduate programs for Master of Social Work will require that you have a bachelor’s degree in a highly related field. Some of the degrees that will be seen as a good fit for the program are: Human Services, Psychology, Sociology, Counseling or Social Work. Often MSW programs will see those holding Bachelor of Social Work degrees as being the best candidates due to their previous experience in the discipline. You may want to take the time to bolster your application with real world work or volunteer experience in social work institutions. This is considered to be an excellent supplement to formal education by many MSW programs.

Salary Increase with a MSW

Per the National Study of Licensed Social Workers conducted by Workforce on behalf of the National Association of Social Workers you will see a marked increase in earning potential with a MSW vs. a BSW.1
With just 15% of BSW holder earning more than $39,000 vs. a full 50% of those who hold MSW the difference is clear. You are 3 times more likely to earn $40,000+ if you have your MSW vs. only having your BSW. The vast majority (83%) of BSW holders earns $39,000 or less while only 49% of MSW holders earn that amount. It is clear that your odds of having a higher salary improve dramatically with a MSW.2