human services vs social work

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by cookderosa, Nov 20, 2013.

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  1. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

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    My best friend in the world is going through a divorce. Her kids are grown and out, but she spent her life as a stay at home mom, and has only worked entry level jobs for pay, and as a teen she was a nurse's aid. She is 51 years old. As a volunteer, she and I started a non-profit about 10 years ago and she worked with pregnant women in that capacity. She does a lot of volunteer work through Catholic charities and very conservative.
    She will receive enough money from the sale of their home to sustain a very modest lifestyle while she earns a degree. Last year, she decided to try her hand at CLEP, and has accumulated about 60 credits (15 from CC several decades ago).

    She is absolutely drawn to the helping trades. Physically demanding jobs that require lifting (nursing) are off the table, but she's considering social work. Having done a bit of research for her, my gut instinct is that she is going to get wrapped up in a very regulated degree process that allows few CLEP or distance learning options, and it could even require she relocate just to earn the degree. Based on what the DOL says social workers earn, I am concerned that this might be a difficult and expensive road with little ROI. I also anticipate this being a very liberal field, but that's just speculation.

    I'm considering suggesting she pursue human services instead. I know that's not a path to social work, but it feels like a more flexible option- especially since I can find dozens of options that are near her, offer distance learning, are inexpensive, and or have generous transfer/clep policy.

    I'd really like to hear from people who have some first hand experience with degrees in either field. Please don't suggest the route human services to MSW, that's not an option. She needs to begin work, and isn't as edu-obsessed as we are on this board. She'd actually like to get in-get out- and get working lol. I'm all ears.
     
  2. sanantone

    sanantone Active Member

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    People with human services degrees have the same (maybe even worse) career options as those with behavioral science, social science, psychology, criminal justice, and sociology degrees. She might as well test out of a psychology or social science degree since it's easier to do.
     
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    I suspect that you're right when you say that a social work degree is highly regulated and will accept very few CLEP or transfer credits - maybe some general ed credits but probably not much else. At the same time I also suspect that at the Bachelors level the distincyion between the two is much less than at the Masters level.
     
  4. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Active Member

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    Msw

    I think your friend might want to earn a B.A. in anything, Big Three is fine, then seek a traditional B&M MSW.

    The Master of Social Work is not available through nontraditional programs but it is easily the most versatile "helping" degree there is. An MSW can do counseling or social work almost without limitation.

    But in my state, anyway, there is no substitute degree. You have to get the MSW from a resident program, period. No social work degree means no social work license.
     
  5. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen New Member

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    One benefit of completing a Bachelors in Social Work, vs a BS in Human Services, Counseling, etc is that if your BSW is accredited by the CSWE you can often obtain advanced standing to MSW programs. Most of the time, advanced standing for an MSW usually cuts the program to one year instead of two.
     
  6. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen New Member

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    This is actually false... although it is very possible that in your state social work licensing is limited to resident programs only. There are many MSW programs that are online, and accredited by CSWE. The one that I can think of right of the top of my head is through University of New England. University of North Dakota and University of Southern California also have accredited online MSW programs.
     
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  7. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen New Member

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    ... all that said, you can get most bachelor-level human service jobs with a Bachelors degree in almost anything these days. If she is looking for the quickest way to get into that career field at the bachelor level, I recommend that she find the quickest way to complete her degree while getting some volunteer experience under her belt in order to "give her some cred" when she applies for jobs as a case manager, psychiatric aide, or whatever it is that she is hoping to do in human services.
     
  8. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    The first one in the country came out of one of the state schools in Florida. Beyond that I think there are at least a half dozen others sprinkled around the country. If this is a route that someone wants to consider, THE KEY elements in the deal are the internships which are always required. Hard (but not impossible) to arrange.
     
  9. blackhammer.usa

    blackhammer.usa New Member

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    MSW is the requirement for many "social worker" positions at the masters level---however this is not always the case. But at the BA/BS level any social science field is good. This is "case management" level work and sounds like your friend has similar experience. MSW is also the route to (LCSW) a licensed social worker as well which is the most widely accepted degree for that type of work. Only recently has the US Government began to hire MFT (marriage and family therapists) but those are few and far between.

    The truth of the matter is in the "what" your friend wants to do. If she is self motivated and has an entrepreneur spirit then I would strongly suggest she do something with her college that she really enjoys. There are many nonprofits that blend with different types of human services work that may go with a number of backgrounds. In my example I work with veterans. I have worked in workforce development, education, business and nonprofits at professional tier level positions (as consultant) yet I hold a MFA with a focus on Art & Anthropology of Art. I am very good at what I do and have a very different approach to human services. So there are many options if she is creative. Now, if she wants to work something much more routine and secure then a traditional degree is warranted.

    Here is an example of an uncommon master level route to credentialed human services professions.
    Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Certificants | CRCC, CRC, CCRC Certification, CRC Exam
    Has many paths to credential including Human services, disability studies and psychology graduate degrees for eligibility

    Lastly---If your friend is interested in working within the faith based community a ministry or divinity degree may be more appropriate. Christian degrees are something people often overlook but they are often excellent in quality and much less expensive than a traditional secular education. Many schools have a human services degree with a faith based accent to them in these schools as well. If you would like detailed info or have any questions--feel free to message me. I hope that this is helpful
     
  10. Chip

    Chip Administrator

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    Case Western also has a highly regarded distance-based MSW (they call it something slightly different, but then explain it's because the degree's been around longer than the social work field, and is, in fact, accredited by CSWE. There's also a really nice sounding (and inexpensive) one at Memorial University in St. Johns, Newfoundland (requires one 10 day residency), but I've not been able to get a clear answer as to whether they accept international students, and I'm near certain it requires a BSW as a prereq.
     
  11. BooksandWoods

    BooksandWoods New Member

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    When it comes to mental health degrees (Social Work, Counseling, Psychology) the advantage about B&M is that the programs have connections in the community for practicum & internship placements (maybe not so much with psych which requires a year long internship that is usually in a different city).

    B&M is great for the networking in these fields. That isn't to say that distance ed isn't valuable or valid--but in this instance it is something that one needs to go into knowing that it will be harder to find an internship.
     
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Active Member

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    All of the online social work programs are listed here.
    Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) - Distance Education

    I don't know about Cookderosa's state, but my state has the LBSW for those with bachelor's degrees in social work. It's not a widely sought after license, but it's better than having nothing. There are a lot of people to compete with for social service jobs who have degrees in related fields.
     
  13. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    I can't imagine any conservative (or libertarian) would be very happy at today's schools of social work. Don't they tend to be pretty serious bastions of collectivist thinking?
     
  14. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

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    thanks for some good leads. I want to reiterate that a MSW isn't a realistic option for her. She's in Iowa. I think that I'm going to nudge her toward human services. Thanks everyone.
     
  15. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen New Member

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    Just to correct information... master's level professional counselors (designated by the government as Licensed Professional Mental health Counselors; LPMHC) are also hired by the US government. However, just like the MFT jobs, it will take a long time for these positions to be offered simply because of the long time established relationship between the government and Clinical Social Workers. If you look on USAjobs.com, though there are more positions opening up. It will just take time. ACA and AAMFT are both advocating at the national level in order to create more jobs for all masters-level psychotherapists in the government.
     
  16. chadf

    chadf New Member

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    You are right Steve. From 2004 to 2006 I was in a large public university MSW program. I heard two professors use the phrase "dead white guy theory", and heard another tell their class anyone who votes for a Republican is insane. It was best to keep conservative or libertarian leanings to yourself.
     
  17. makana793

    makana793 New Member

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    The human services field is rather broad so your friend maybe able to apply her degree/experience to a variety of fields. Is she interested in working in the criminal justice system? I know that courts, parole and probation agencies typically select individuals with a background in human services, CJ as well as SW. It could be an alternative.
     
  18. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

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    Jennifer,

    I would suggest that she look into online BSW programs. Here are a few options:

    Online Program - School of Social Work - Wayne State University

    https://www.nsu.edu/social-work/bsw-program (DL option at the bottom of the page)

    Madonna University - Social Work - A CATHOLIC University! :)

    Actually, human services (or ANY degree) for that matter can be a path to an MSW as many of these programs offer a track for individuals with a regular (read: non-BSW) bachelors.

    I was REALLY happy with Bellevue University. I completed their BS in Behavioral Science in 2010. They accept all of the credits earned as part of an associates degree (DETC being the only exception). I earned an AS in Liberal Studies from Excelsior and they accepted everything but my 9 credits from Aspen. :) They even accepted ~20 credits from FEMA! I wrapped up 60+ credits in 14 months...
     
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  19. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen New Member

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    I also had an OK experience with Bellevue. The classes were condensed to 4 or 5 weeks each (I can't remember). I finished their BS in Behavioral Science in 2009. They were affordable and they took all of my previous credits... I finished the Behavioral Science program, plus their 9-credit "Kirkpatrick Series" in just over one year.

    My criticism of that program, though, is that back in 2008/2009 it was not set up to facilitate critical thinking. Most of my posts went unanswered, especially when I challenged classmates in attempt to deepen our discussion. I also received straight As on everything... a 4.0 gpa. And looking back at my work, my writing was definitely NOT A-quality. I had to improve quickly in order to survive in graduate school.

    That said... it was a good way to finish my bachelors degree and move on. I've since become a much better student and writer, with a published paper under my belt as a result of a great graduate school experience. However, if I would have remained with only my Bellevue BS, I am not sure if I would have felt prepared to use my education professionally.
     
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  20. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

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    Thanks again! Japhy I sent her the Madonna info. (That degree costs $100k though, so I don't think she'll pick it, maybe drool a bit.) That might help my case for human services.
     

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