Counseling social work is a specialized program that can teach you more about what it means to be a clinical counselor in the field. Counseling professionals often work with individuals that are experiencing the negative effects of addiction, people that have experienced trauma, or even those that have been diagnosed with mild to severe mental illness. The goal of counseling social work is to assess a client's needs, develop an effective and relevant treatment plan, and put the plan into action for client success.

MSW in Counseling Social Work Programs

Bachelor’s Degrees

As you begin your path towards a career in counseling social work, you should plan out each stage of your education efficiently. The field of social work often requires that students engage in particular degree programs and receive the right type of licensure before being permitted to work with clients in the field. At the bachelor’s level, students can choose from many different degree programs that can set the stage for learning at the master’s level. Colleges all over the U.S. currently provide online Bachelor of Social Work degree programs that can be great options for future counseling social workers. Check out a few example programs below.

  • Cambellsville University – Online Bachelor of Social Work: The online Bachelor of Social Work can provide a great opportunity for learning to students with varying lifestyles and daily responsibilities. At Campbellsville University, you can take part in a 4 year bachelor’s programs that outlines the foundations of the field of social work, policies and ethics pertaining to work in the field, and general techniques that can be used with a wide variety of clients. This program could be a great initial program for future counseling social work professionals.
  • Spring Arbor University – Online Bachelor of Social Work: Spring Arbor University currently opens it BS in Social Work online to a variety of student learners that are intrigued by the potential to help others in the field. This accredited degree program can teach you more about the meaning and function of social work, the history of the field, and methods for success. This program can help you move forward into licensure, which is the next step towards a career in counseling social work.

Master’s Degrees

As you consider the transition into master’s level programs for your career, you should consider the benefits of obtaining a degree at this level. The master’s level is a popular degree choice because it is at this point that students can choose a specialization to accompany their general program. Students interested in the field of counseling social work can choose concentrations that are focused on mental health, general counseling, or other clinical options. Once you have completed a program like one of the programs listed below, you can take part in a supervised clinical experience before moving forward into a counseling-oriented career focused on changing the lives of others.

  • Colorado State University – Online MSW – Advanced Clinical Behavioral Health: Colorado State University can be a great place for you to engage in an online MSW program focused on clinical services to clients in the field. The Advanced Clinical Behavioral Health specialization can put you in touch with topics that can enhance your understanding of behavior, its antecedents, and methods for positive behavior change. This specialization can lead you into licensure after 2-3 years of advanced learning and practice.
  • The University of Houston – Online MSW – Clinical Social Work: The Clinical Social Work specialization at the University of Houston can be your gateway into counseling social work careers in the future. This program consists of course work that can outline the assessment process, different treatment techniques, and methods for working with the general public as well as specific groups. Students in this online program can also test their abilities through research projects and supervised internships in the field prior to graduation.

Common Master’s-Level Course Work

Since the master’s level is the prime level for upcoming clinical professionals, the course work in these programs may involve a deep look into mental health diagnoses, symptoms, and treatment methods for use in the field. Depending on the school that you have enrolled in, you may find that the course list varies, but covers a lot of the same topics found in other similar online programs. Our team of educational experts has reviewed some of the most popular online degree programs in counseling social work in order to provide you with a quick list of courses for your review. Browse through some of the courses below to get a better idea of the topics that can be covered throughout your program.

  • Assessment and Diagnosis: This course can provide you with an outline of the most well-known categories of diagnoses for adults and children. The primary resource for students in this course is the DSM-5, which can be used to research and make decisions based on symptoms presented during the assessment process. Students can also learn more about how to apply information about culture, biological, and psychological aspects during the assessment process, which can lead to a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for clients in need.
  • Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Assessing how individuals interact with their environment can be beneficial to social workers seeking to develop effective programs for their clients. This course instructs students on how to analyze how an individual’s culture and social environment shape personality, behavior, and integration, which can be telling about a person’s psychological or emotional state. Students in this course can also delve into normal and abnormal human development and how it can be influenced by the social environment.
  • Advanced Social Work Practice: Before you become a professional social worker, you should have a deep insight into what practice looks like for professionals in your field. This course outlines the various practice settings that are common in social work, the process of assessment and treatment, ethics, and contractual services. Some high points of this course include those that include intervention practices, family practice, and social evaluations that can influence your effectiveness as a treatment professional in the field.

An Overview of the Program Area

Counseling social work is a specialized program that can teach you more about what it means to be a clinical counselor in the field. Counseling professionals often work with individuals that are experiencing the negative effects of addiction, people that have experienced trauma, or even those that have been diagnosed with mild to severe mental illness. The goal of counseling social work is to assess a client’s needs, develop an effective and relevant treatment plan, and put the plan into action for client success.

Counseling social work may have various stages, such as therapy, field support, and follow-up services. The importance of counseling social work in the lives of clients is high, since these services can help to establish healthy habits, thought processes, and coping mechanisms for positive mental health. As a licensed counselor in this field, you can be part of the solution to life-long difficulties with managing daily responsibilities and working through overwhelming side effects of mental health diagnoses.

Common Career Options

Once you have become licensed as a counseling social worker, you can potentially gain entry into mental health agencies within your community, social services, or even work for independent agencies focused on improving community mental health and wellness. There are multiple domains that are open to professionals graduating from these online programs, especially those that have completed their supervised experience and are licensed. As you select a specialized field to pursue in terms of a career, you should be aware of what type of influence you would like to have on others and your overall goal as a professional.

Counseling social workers can be leading mental health providers in communities all over the country. In some areas, social workers in this area can provide direct support to families that have been separated due to family violence, neglect, or even death. Some areas may also employ counseling social workers to respond when communities have experienced widespread disaster. If you are interested in helping others develop healthy methods for managing the daily stresses of life, you should seek out open positions within fields that mean the most to you. Our team has researched common career titles and salaries for professionals in counseling social work and provided them in a list below.

  • Mental Health Counselors: $46,050 on average per year (BLS).
  • Social Workers: $47,980 on average per year (BLS).
  • Mental Health Social Workers: $43,250 on average per year (BLS).