Making a difference with a master’s in social work

June 01, 2021

woman talking with elderly people around a table

Social workers dedicate their lives to helping vulnerable populations in time of need. They assist families and individuals to work through crises and support them while managing everyday problems. In addition, they connect families and caregivers with resources to ensure they are getting appropriate care.

Those who practice in this field feel a strong sense of fulfillment in their role and service to others. Earning an MSW affords more opportunities to make a difference in a community.

According to the Council on Social Work Education, “Social workers share a commitment to

  • promoting social welfare,
  • helping people of all backgrounds overcome their unique challenges,
  • advocating for social and economic justice for all members of the community, and
  • embodying a professional code of ethics.”
Those who hold an MSW have more opportunities to advance in their field than those who hold a bachelor’s in social work.

A BSW provides a foundation for a career in social work and provides students with the coursework and internships to practice in an entry-level position. An MSW offers different pathways for social workers to help individuals, small groups and community and government agencies.

While the mission of social work remains the same, the level of education makes a difference. There are different approaches to promote the well-being of individuals and their communities by practicing in micro, mezzo and macro levels.

Micro, Mezzo and Macro Social Work

At the micro level, social workers provide therapeutic services to individuals and small groups in clinical and non-clinical settings. They focus on mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma and life changes.

Social workers practicing in the mezzo level focus on helping vulnerable populations within a community or organization. These social workers are responsible for identifying factors that are affecting a particular population.

For example, they work with community health centers on nutrition programs, design programs for women’s advocacy groups or even work with a human resource department helping with organizational changes.

The impact of macro social work reaches the individual by working with policy makers to research, design and implement programs that address social problems. These social workers can work at the local, state and national levels creating positive change for the greater good of the community.

Many times, social workers move through these levels, depending on their career aspirations and calling. After years of working with substance abuse clients, they may want to work with community organizations to develop a program aimed at education and prevention.

This is an example of moving from a micro role to a mezzo role. Those who hold an MSW have more opportunities for growth within their particular interest.


What is the job growth outlook?

According to BLS, the job outlook is promising for this field: “Overall employment of social workers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

Can I pursue an MSW if my bachelor’s degree was in a different academic area?

Yes, this is possible. You should contact the admissions office and speak with a representative to ensure your prerequisites are met.

Quinnipiac offers an MSW program for those who have their undergraduate degree in a related field and an MSW - Advanced Standing program for those who currently hold a BSW.

Does the MSW program need to be accredited?

Yes, an MSW program needs to be accredited. Quinnipiac’s MSW program is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and meets the requirements for licensure as an LCSW.

How long does it take to earn an MSW?

Quinnipiac offers both full- and part-time programs in the MSW and the MSW – Advanced Standing programs.

What is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?

To become a licensed clinical social worker, one must hold a BSW and an MSW, complete the required clinical hours and pass the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) exam. Some programs may accept a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as psychology or counseling.

Social workers who hold an LCSW can choose to specialize in a variety of settings such as mental health, substance abuse, marriage and family therapy, school social work and public policy. They can also establish their own private practice.

Can I be a social worker without being an LCSW?

Yes. There are many social workers who choose not to become a licensed therapist and work in other areas in a different capacity while serving their communities.

What is an MSW - Advanced Standing program?

Those who hold a BSW can apply to Quinnipiac’s MSW - Advanced Standing program and complete the program in three semesters, full-time or five semesters, part-time.

As you consider your future in social work, consider your personal and professional goals. What sector do you want to work in? Do you want to work with individuals, groups or work on policies affecting vulnerable populations?

As you choose an MSW program, ensure they have the proper accreditation, field placement opportunities and a robust program where you can thrive. Learn how Quinnipiac’s MSW program can provide you with the skills and knowledge to make you a valuable asset to your community.

Stay in the Loop

Sign Up Now