Most people consider doctors to be the most knowledgeable in their chosen profession. As learners, some may consider pursuing a degree of this level of prestige when working hard towards a career in social work. Having the highest available degree will not only communicate a high tier of understanding of the social environment, but will also convey a serious dedication to the field in which the degree is attained.
How Do You Get a Doctorate of Social Work?
A Doctorate in Social Work is typically obtained after an undergraduate degree. The doctorate program lasts around four years on average, but can vary depending on whether or not students choose to take courses full-time or part-time.
There are two general paths for students to choose from:
- Doctorate in Social Work: For those that wish to apply their knowledge in a clinical setting, the DSW path is likely more fitting.
- PhD in Social Work: PhD learners are more focused on the research aspect of social work, which makes these individuals more fitting for educational and research positions in various agencies.
Regardless of which path is taken, students will find that curriculum for each is filled with monumental case studies, society-focused intervention plans and research that will extend a student’s knowledge beyond what is provided in undergraduate programs.
Online DSW Programs
The online Doctorate in Social Work is a degree program that has been implemented to provide graduate level education through an online platform. This is one of the most preferred methods of obtaining a graduate degree in social work, since it is highly regarded in the professional environment as well as with many social work organizations.
Many organizations such as the Council on Social Work Education encourage the use of reputable online degree programs when pursuing higher degrees. Online degree programs that are reviewed for relevance and reliability are found through the CSWE website as well as the available traditional education programs. Through online studies, students will find that the opportunity for self-teaching is high all while still remaining within a convenient distance from unending resources and instructor support.
Why a Doctorate of Social Work Degree?
There are vast amounts of social workers across the country in a huge number of different settings. One thing is certain about this fact – someone out there must be leading them. Since most social workers hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree, students that graduate at the doctoral level are already a step ahead in knowledge and qualifications.
Many leadership positions are available to individuals with doctoral level degrees in social work. There are also positions available as social and community service managers, human service administrators, non-profit managers and more.
Graduates with a Doctorate in Social Work will find that they are also more qualified for advance social work positions with state and government agencies, the judicial system and the welfare system. When dealing with children and the elderly, some organizations only entrust those with the highest level of education to help intervene with welfare and safety situations and provide knowledgeable assistance with placement of individuals that are unable to do so themselves.
The PhD in Social Work Degree
On the other end of the spectrum, individuals that choose to pursue a PhD in Social Work will find that their services are called upon by universities and research agencies all across the United States.
PhD programs provide learners with in depth learning of historical research studies and current statistical analysis of society as well. The knowledge gained through these programs allow graduates to pursue careers working for agencies that plan societal betterment programs as well as state funded health and wellness programs. Social Work professors are also doctorate degree holders, which contributes endlessly to the social work community through the education of future professionals.
Salary for a Doctorate in Social Work Degree Holder
The salary data for professionals at this degree level is an interesting research topic for those interested in this degree program. Since the platform for graduates at this level is so diverse, there are various sectors of the professional environment that social work professionals can be involved in.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that graduates at this level can work as Community Service Managers and earn around $63,530 per year on average. Social workers that are employed in elementary and secondary schools have the potential to earn $60,750 per year (BLS, 2015).
For those interested in taking the educational path, social work professors earn around $69,030 per year according to the BLS (2015).