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Rhode Island

MSW in RI | Master of Social Work in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a state located along the Atlantic Northeast of the US. Rhode Island offers many potential jobs for social workers holding Master’s degrees. Having an advanced degree is now more important than ever. In the past decade, the degree of education among the work force has soared. This is due in part to the response of workers to the stock market crash in 2008 and resultant layoffs. Many people who lost jobs in the economic downturn chose to return to universities such as Rhode Island College in order to earn advanced degrees. This is why it is so important to attain an advanced degree and remain competitive in an “employer’s market”. If you are someone who is considering becoming a social worker in Rhode Island, you will definitely want to take the time to do a cost/benefit analysis around going to school and earning your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. Many jobs in the social work field require a MSW as a minimum requirement to apply. Increasingly, even lower level social work jobs are difficult to obtain without possessing a MSW.

In order to qualify for any level of social work licensure in Rhode Island you must first have earned your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. Once you have your MSW you will meet the educational requirements to become either a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). You can read a breakdown of the requirements for each level in our licensure page here. You can read more Healthcare Licensing Information page.

If you are serious about having an advanced career in Social Work in Rhode Island you will want to take the time to deeply evaluate, compare and contrast a number of MSW schools in Rhode Island and surrounding states. Once you find the perfect program and school for your career needs and complete the Master of Social Work program you will be prepared to enter the work force and have your choice from a wide body of possible careers. If you find that you really like the idea of helping troubled youth in Rhode Island schools overcome their perceived obstacles, heal their emotional and behavior patterns in order to complete their education, then you may find a career as a School Social Worker, at a High School in Providence or one of Rhode Island’s 60+ school districts, is a great use of your natural talents. If you like working with the elderly you might find a career in Warwick as a Geriatric Social Worker to be extremely fulfilling. For those who are interested in leadership positions, you may wish to inquire into the possibility of working at a Non-Profit in a director capacity helping to align your personal ethics with that of an organization that is working to effect change. Regardless of your career goals you will want to have your Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in order to maximize your potential.

Finding the Right School for MSW in Rhode Island

It is very wise to do some internal reflection and take the time to visualize your end goal in terms of what career track you after earning your MSW degree. There will be quite a few career options available to you once you have earned your Master of Social Work degree. It is very important to match the curriculum with your career goals and make sure the program will prepare you for your occupation. For example, if you want to pursue a leadership role in a Human Services organization you will want to consider finding a program similar to the macro practice (management or policy/organizing) degree concentration offered at Rhode Island College. If you are uncertain as to where you would like to go with your Masters of Social Work, but know you are interested in pursuing Human Services work upon graduation, you may want to find a program that offers an Advanced Generalist degree concentration in order to have an adaptable skill set that will allow you to quickly assimilate into a Social Work position in nearly any Human Services organization. Comparing and contrasting several schools and programs both within Rhode Island and surrounding states and also online programs, will help you to refine your search for the ideal MSW program by giving you a broader understanding of what the options are that are available to you. As you begin to see what’s out there in terms of programs and curriculums you will be able to better discern those programs that truly meet all your needs.

Career Options with a MSW

With a Master of Social Work degree you will be able to apply for virtually any position in social work. In order to make a decision that gives you the best possible educational and career outcome, you will want to take the time to research careers until you find one that mirrors your heart’s desire. If the idea of working in a fast paced and stimulating environment sounds appealing, you may want to look at jobs similar to working for Our Lady of Fatima Hospital’s Emergency Room in Providence as a Medical Social Worker. If you would like to work with children who have profound disabilities and help them to deal with the process of medical treatment they are receiving you may want to consider careers that are comparable to working for Tavares Pediatric Center in Providence as a Medical Social Worker in the pediatric unit. The range of options for employment once you have your MSW is truly amazing.

MSW Programs Rhode Island


Finding the Right Program for You

Finding a program that leaves you prepared to be competitive in the current job market and also gives you the skill set to excel in your new career, will require you to carefully evaluate several programs. One of the first decisions you can make is to consider whether an online program offered by a variety of universities throughout the country or a traditional physical campus, such as the Rhode Island College campus in (Pop. 178,000) is a better match for you in terms of learning style, living situation, lifestyle and financial considerations. If you find that a traditional campus is more appealing you will be able to quickly narrow the field by only considering schools with campuses near areas you wish to live.

Among the aspects of each program you will want to compare and contrast, the most important is certainly the curriculums of the programs you are considering. While there will be a lot of crossover between different MSW programs, some have been crafted to help students achieve specific career outcomes. For example, there are some programs that are designed to prepare students to become administrators in social work organizations as is the case with programs like the macro practice (management or policy/organizing) degree concentration offered at Rhode Island College. There are others that have an emphasis on training Licensed Clinical Social Workers an example of which is the Clinical Practice degree concentration offered at Rhode Island College. If you are unsure of your career path or wish to have flexibility in your career you may wish to find a generalized program such as the Advanced Generalist programs offered in many online university programs. If a career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker intrigues you, then you will want to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations around licensure in Rhode Island which you can learn about here:

Admissions requirements are something you will need to evaluate based on your personal educational background. You will also need to consider your financial situation and whether you can meet the financial requirements of any program. To illustrate this point you can analyze the example of Rhode Island College’s tuition for its MSW program. Rhode Island College has an annual tuition rate of $11,532 for residents, $17,298 for regional student (check their website for regional definition) and $23,606 for non-residents. This is not inclusive of the various student fees, cost of books, supplies and room and board. You will want to carefully work the numbers of a few schools to get a sense of the full costs as you analyze your options.

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