Learn about the difference between a MSW degree (Master of Social Work) and MSSA degree (Master of Science in Social Administration). The two social work degrees are very similar, but they do have their differences! Read the guide below to understand the similarities, differences, and program availability of the MSSA and MSW programs.

MSW vs. MSSA: What Is The Difference?

Social Work Licensure

The goal of most MSW and MSSA learners is to achieved licensed status within their state and have the ability to provide direct social services to clients in the field. This process begins with the decision to enroll in an accredited degree program.

Once you have completed your degree program, you can prepare for the Association of Social Work Board examination, which can essentially be the gateway to your licensure. This examination can test your abilities learned through practicum and supervised experience, as well as the terminology and historical knowledge gained during the degree process.

State Social Work Licensure

Each state has specific licensing requirements for different licensed titles such as the LBSW, LMSW, LCSW, and other advanced practice social work professionals. If you decide to pursue clinical designations, your experience expectations may round to about 3,000 hours post-master’s.

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The MSW and the MSSA are treated equally in terms of eligibility for licensure. The degree programs may be structured for experience and knowledge expectations found in the licensure examination, as well as for similar outlooks during the life of your career.

Social Work Career Expectations

One of the most attractive benefits to pursuing the MSW or the MSSA is that it can lead to careers in a wide range of specialized areas. When you first enroll in either program, you may be provided with the opportunity to pursue a specialized track to help narrow down your career field after graduation.

Concentration options in education, corrections, human resources, and clinical mental health are a few of the most preferred options for upcoming professionals in this field – but are not exhaustive in terms of what is available.

Social Work Specialty Careers

MSW and MSSA programs can also allow students in some areas to specialize in different aspects of social work according to preferred age group, macro social work specialties, and advanced generalist designations. Focusing your studies in one of these areas can create a more attractive resume for future career opportunities.

State agencies such as Children’s Services, Human Services, and Human Resources agencies may employ social work professionals from either degree tracks in their organizations. Private counseling agencies may also employ LMSWs to providing counseling services under the supervision of LCSWs.

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The diversity present within the career opportunities for social work degree holders may be unfounded in a majority of other degree programs. If you have dreams of entering into this field after graduation, the MSW or MSSA could be equally effective in getting you there.