Human Services versus Psychology curricula

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by Longwaytogo, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. Longwaytogo

    Longwaytogo New Member

    James, I forgot to add, as you suggested working toward a minor in psychology, that ODU does offer Human Service students a minor in psychology via distance. So that is why I'm currently taking an upper level psychology course with them. Just didn't want to start the H.S. coursework that I'll be expected to enroll in this Spring. Maybe I can stall them off another semester by taking another psychology course online - who knows, perhaps they'll take the hint and start expanding the program.

    Nosborne48 your social worker friends sound like mine!
    Thanks for the feedback. I take your word for it, just wondered if this was perception or reality. Probably both.
  2. Longwaytogo

    Longwaytogo New Member

    Jack, you did say MSW, not BSW. So that means there are no DL BSW programs in the USA, I take it. However, an interesting find as a result of my trip to they offer a certificate in aging through their social work school, open to graduate and undergraduate students. That may be a very worthwhile addition to some students' programs who are reading here.
  3. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I just took a look at the BSW program at New Mexico State and learned that it is pretty much a two year upper division curriculum following two years' lower division general education.

    What a student COULD do is complete two years by D/L through, say, Exelsior and then apply as a transfer student. Not entirely D/L, to be sure, but halfway there isn't bad!
  4. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    I'm sure states differ on this, but psychologists I know tell me that masters prepared therapists in Massachusetts are more marketable than they are with a PhD or a PsyD. Mental health clinics can pay us a little less. IMO MSWs have a slight edge over other masters prepared counselors, as well. We can accept Medicare reimbursement. MSWs have a long history of providing psychotherapy back to the days post WWI when the war vets in large numbers were treated for shell shock. The NASW is a strong force lobbying and advocating for MSWs, as well.


    MSW, University of Connecticut
  5. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    M.S.W. is a good option

    Here in New Mexico, a licensed independent social worker (LISW) has an M.S.W. and a year or two of post grad supervised counseling experience.

    The practice act is VERY broad. No psychometrics and no medications. Those are about the only restrictions.

    The "plenty bright" social workers I referred to earlier included EVERYONE I ever dealt with from this group, BTW.

    The D.S.W. is essentially unknown.
  6. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    Pat's fan, I did indeed mean CSWE, not NASW, thank you for correcting me.

    Jack, I meant to say Florida State regarding DL MSW, not U of Florida.

    Pat's fan, very impressed to see you are an actual social worker. I forgot about the whole Medicare issue--I know clinical counselors can be reimbursed by Medicare, but I don't know how common it is for them to be so. I've heard from an LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist) that she wished she had earned an MSW instead precisely because Medicare was not reimbursing LMFT's. In my agency days, the PsyD's and PhD's who provided psychotherapy or brief tx through the agency were paid at the same rate as the LCSW's. They earned more for the psych testing that only they can do, but that was extremely rare compared to therapy, and their W-2's were no bigger than the LCSW's at the end of the year. All were quite good salaries though, I'm glad to say.

    Nosborne makes a good point about reputation, but I think a lot of the stereotype of "social workers" is really more about "case workers," bachelor's level staff, often with non-social work degrees and less of an understanding of social welfare as a professional field. The social work programs I am most familiar with are The University of Chicago and Columbia University, both extremely academic with celestial standards.
  7. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Reaching for the stars?

    CELESTIAL standards? :D

    I seem to remember that Social Work as an academic discipline BEGAN at the University of Chicago.

    LISWs in New Mexico are eligible for Medicare/Medicaid payments, or were when I was involved.
  8. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    Re: M.S.W. is a good option

    Some of my professors in sw school had DSWs, but I can't think of a single school off the top of my head that offers a DSW. The PhD seems to be the preferred sw doctorate. I'm not aware of any U.S. doctorates in social work that are DL either. I don't really understand why. The CSWE only accredits BSW and MSW programs. They don't get involved with DSW or PhD programs. It seems like that would make it easier for a school to offer an RA DL social work doctorate. They wouldn't have to worry about satisfying the professional accrediting folks.
  9. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

  10. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    Re: Reaching for the stars?

    That may be true. I can think of at least one famous social worker who was from Chicago. They still offer the MA in social work instead of the MSW, I believe. That may speak to how old the program is?
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2005
  11. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    And U of C still calls it the A.M. rather than the M.A.! The SSA (School of Social Service Administration) website reassures visitors that the A.M. "will allow you to be licensed as a clinical social worker." To put in a good word for a local state school, the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago has a lot of social work history too, including the original Hull House.
  12. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    I've visited Hull House. I'm sort of proud of social work's rich history. SW has fit in well with my Christian ministry background. I have a Master of Arts in Religion and I'm working on a DMin.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 4, 2005
  13. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    Re: M.S.W. is a good option

    I agree except for two points.

    1) It is a national standard that full licensure requires two years of full-time employment post grad experience, including a minimum of 104 hours of supervision from a fully licensed Social Worker.
    2) The DSW is not "essentially unknown." There are DSWs employed in virtually every graduate school of Social Work in the country. There are also people who have earned PhDs in Social Work. These two degrees (DSW/PhD) are not identical in scope but are identical in rigor. The key to this is that, generally, the DSW programs are Doctor of Social Welfare programs, NOT Doctor of Social Work programs. It is my own subjective sense that the DSW programs are slowly converting to PhD programs.
  14. Howard

    Howard New Member

    A couple of points:

    I have not seen a job description that could be filled by a person with a Bachelors in Human Services that could not be filled by a person with a Bachelors in Psychology. So, if you really want the psych degree and immediate employment I don't think there is a problem. The difficulty is if you think you are going to make enough to live on. Bachelors degree social service workers (Human Services, Psychology, or Social Work) do not make good wages.

    Secondly, (I tread softly here) most social workers are schooled more in the area of linking services than they are in therapy. As far as testing, that is not their purpose (are they required to take testing and statistics to graduate)?

    I think we must agree that social workers, counselors, and psychologists fill different functions.

    As far as the rigors of statistics in psychology: HA! after I had completed all the core courses for my MBA I needed an elective so I took Statistics for Education and Psychology Majors as the elective. The MBA statistics courses cover more in the first class that the Ed/Psych courses cover the entire quarter.
  15. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

  16. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    For the most part I agree with Howard. I'd like to take it point by point.

    I think that a Bachelors in HS is much the same as a Bachelors in Psychology. In my opinion, the Psychology degree is superior in that it might open more doors (employment and academic).

    Neither degree will get you big money. Even an MSW will not get you big money. If the money is an issue for you and you are committed to Social Work, then I would suggest that you forget DL and do whatever you need to do in order to enroll in a dual MSW/JD program. In my own opinion this would be even superior to enrolling in a PhD program in Psychology (in terms of earning potential).

    Some Social Workers are trained specifically to be Psychotherapists. While there is a long tradition in Social Work "in the area of linking services" and many Social Workers do just that, it is not the only alternative. My own school, Simmons College School of Social Work is specifically a school of clinical social work and people enroll in order to become therapists. This is, however, not the most common concentration.

    Finally, Social Workers take ZERO courses in Psych Testing. This is clearly the domain of Psychology. In todays world, however, this counts for very little as there are veryveryvery few insurance companies that will actually pay for psych testing these days (this is not a good thing IMHO but it is true nonetheless). Beyond this I would only say that there was a research component to my program and there was a stats component to that but it was clearly not emphasized.

    Thanks Howard.
  17. fortiterinre

    fortiterinre New Member

    To make myself a little useful, I did a little checking about social work salaries. The NASW regularly surveys members on salaries, and the national median is just about $50,000 for the year 2002. gave me similar results, with a median of $53,000 in Chicago where I live. Starting salaries are harder to come by; the University of California system suggests that new grads in California can expect to start at between $27,000-$50,000, admittedly a pretty big spread. As a healthcare administrator a few years ago, I hired LCSW's in Chicago with a salary range of $38,000-$50,000 DOE.

    I don't know if this constitutes "big money," but the fact that clinical social workers can hang out a shingle and have a part-time therapy practice is certainly attractive. The biggest problem I faced in retaining LCSW's was the fact that many of them devoted themselves to their psychotherapy practices full-time after awhile.

    In Illinois the LCSW exam is a fearsome case study test about psychotherapy and clinical decison-making. Few LCSW's do predominantly "service linkage and case management;" this is what they hire the human services grads for!

    I mentioned testing by licensed psychologists because certainly this is something LCSW's cannot do, but I don't see it as a big income source for them. In general, the more credentials, the more pay and opportunity. Substance abuse certification is ever-changing and always sought after; those who are certified in this will probably make more money. A dual MSW/JD or MSW/MBA certainly opens some unique career doors, but you are looking at a time and tuition investment that easily rivals medical school. I should add that when I worked in the juvenile court system, the LCSW's made more than the attorneys, who started in the low $30's! The LCSW's had more job offers than they could count, while the attorneys were easy to hire!
  18. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Yes, the LISW license in New Mexico requires two years. We have and intermediate level of licensure between LISW and LBSW; LMSW. Most LMSWs are accumulating their supervised time for the higher license.

    Also agree; I should have said that the DSW is unknown in practice. Our academic social work people do often have doctorates.
  19. Longwaytogo

    Longwaytogo New Member

    Well, at this point I'm completely out of my depth in this discussion, but it's fascinating nonetheless. I am only posting at this point to say "great stuff" here - keep it coming! I'm listening.

    Howard it would seem logical to me to assume that different degrees produce different specialties and talents, but perhaps PatsFan can elaborate on the reasons why this may not be accurate, as opined.
  20. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    I've always simply assumed (I know, I know) that regardless of average starting salaries, the ceiling on salaries was much much higher for Attorneys than for Social Workers. The idea that Social Workers can always just hang out a shingle and go into private practice is a vast oversimplification of the process. It's a bit like saying, "Gee, you've got a Masters degree in Electronic Engineering so you could clear out your garage and start a computer company if you wanted to make some extra money."

Share This Page