If you decide to pursue a degree program in Medical Social Work, you can prepare for learning into general social work concepts as well as specialized considerations that focus directly on health-related diagnoses and common medical procedures.
Social workers employed within Medical Social Work positions may work with individuals that have been diagnosed with severe or complex illnesses. During a degree program, training professionals can learn how to assess the needs of their clients and locate appropriate mental health care or supported living services when needed.
Before you begin your path into the field of Medical Social Work, read more into our team's guide below. Our goal is to provide you with helpful information about the learning process involved in becoming a professional in this field and give you access to information about careers options in the field.
Online Medical Social Work Programs
In today's generation of educational programs, students can have more convenient options to choose from when looking for a fitting degree program. The increase in popularity and utilization of technologies has created innovative learning opportunities for individuals interested in Medical Social Work degree programs.
Online Medical Social Work programs can be found at multiple universities across the U.S. Learning in the online environment begins at the admissions level, with some programs never requiring students to participate in on-campus activities.
Finding an Online Medical Social Work Program
Depending on where your program is located, the course work and experience requirements can vary. Some states do not require licensure for general social work positions, while others may require licensing as early as the bachelor's level.
Students enrolled in online degree programs in this field can access their courses through the university's online learning platform. Each course in the program has its own access point and web page for locating assignments, learning resources, grades, and exams.
Online Learning Environment
During your online learning experience, you can engage in interactive discussions with your classmates, communicate with instructors through in-class e-mail tools, and complete assignments and examinations completely online. The convenience of online educational programs can provide even the busiest of adults with flexibility during their school and life balance.
Social Work degree programs at both the bachelor's and master's level can be found in the online environment. These types of programs can be completed at a normal rate or can be spread out to provide convenience to busy working professionals trying to balance a career and school.
CSWE Accredited BSW or MSW Programs
If you are looking for reputable online BSW or MSW programs within your area, you can review the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) website. This organization offers you a list of online and accredited degree options to review when choosing which program may be best for you.
Schools like Eastern Kentucky University and California State University currently offer reliable and accredited online BSW programs. Either of these options could be excellent choices for individuals just getting started in the field.
CSWE Accredited Online MSW Programs
Students seeking online MSW programs can find what they are looking for through Boston University or Boise State University. Online and accredited MSW programs provide students with reliability during their learning experience and can help students obtain licensing in most states.
There are some programs offered online that can be completed at an accelerated rate. These programs are typically offered to students that have 2-5 years of experience in the field of social work and generally require documentation from previous employers.
If you are new to social work degree programs or are considering pursuing a higher degree program, you can learn more about each option in the sections below. Different degree levels in Medical Social Work can provide unique career opportunities for those pursuing each.
Bachelor's in Medical Social Work Degrees
Many new prospects to the field of social work begin with a Bachelor's in Social Work. This degree program is very introductory in nature and can provide you with basic information about the field of social work and how that relates to healthcare and medical patients.
Some students interested in working with clients in the medical realm of social work pursue the BSW as a generalist means towards achieving their goal. This degree program can lead to licensure in a large number of states and can be applied to any social work field including healthcare and Medical Social Work.
Who is the BSW in Medical Social Work For?
The bachelor's program can take around 4 years to complete for most enrolled learners. Depending on your college of choice, your program may provide classes 1 or 2 at a time, or require 4 courses per semester for full-time learners.
In the online BSW programs in Medical Social Work, students may also be expected to engage in in-person practicum or internship experiences. These requirements can allow learners to locate their own internship location, as long as there is an appropriate supervisor throughout the internship process.
The internship process can add a deeper level of understanding to your BSW degree program. The goal of the BSW program may be to educate you on the various methods of assessment and intervention for members of diverse groups within your community, which can be best tested through hands-on training and experience.
Once you complete your BSW in Medical Social Work, you can potentially pursue entry-level positions in the field or move forward into higher degree programs. You are encouraged to check with your state about licensing requirements for bachelor's level graduates in social work.
Master's in Medical Social Work Degrees
The master's level is commonplace for people that wish to become leaders, clinical professionals, and specialists within their field. Pursuing a Master of Social Work with specialty in Medical Social Work can be an excellent way to stand out among the crowd during your career search.
A Bit About the MSW
Master's degree programs can take anywhere from 2-3 years to complete depending on your enrollment status and the program's overall format. If you choose to pursue your degree online, you may have the ability to complete your program in a quicker time frame due to the availability of accelerated online degree programs.
In the online environment, MSW programs can include independent research projects that require you to find answers to common social questions within your field. Through utilizing online scholarly resources, you can put together an action plan based on what you know about your service area and the available resources for change.
Varying universities may also require that students participate in a supervised clinical or internship requirement at points throughout the program. These experiences can take place in local social work agencies or private clinical social work practices.
Partnering your education with experience can be a great way to confidently enter the field after your graduation. Each state has varying expectations for upcoming licensees, so be sure to review what your state requires from you prior to enrolling in a master's program.
Typical Master’s Coursework to Expect
Before choosing a MSW program to enroll in, you should learn as much as you can about the curriculum and what is expected of you throughout the program. The curriculum of the MSW in Medical Social Work program can vary depending on your university, making research and awareness important to your overall knowledge of MSW programs.<!- mfunc feat_school ->
CSWE Accreditation Note
MSW programs that have received the appropriate accreditation from the CSWE typically consist of prior approved course work that is relevant to social work practice in the field. A thorough review of the curriculum can provide you with valuable insight into what you can learn throughout the program and how it applies to your future careers.
Courses such as Psychopharmacology and Biopsychosocial Considerations can provide learners with an in-depth perspective of the clinical components associated with MSW-level education. Investigating common psychological illnesses, social influence, and common treatments throughout this course can provide learners with insight into how assessment, diagnosis, and treatment can be formulated in the field.
Medical Social Work and Crisis Training
Medical Social Work I is an introductory course available to learners in this program and can provide knowledge into the role of the social worker in this specialized area. Crisis response, training on common illnesses and treatments, and discharge planning are just a few of the many topics covered in this course.
Ethical and Practical Expectations
In most MSW programs, students may also be expected to participate in courses that outline the ethical and practical expectations of social workers. Working with the public can be an extremely rewarding career option but it may also require that participants have a strong understanding of appropriate client care, communication, and legal guidelines.
The courses included in this program can either inspire you to research answers or develop them through your own inner thought. This can prepare you to make quick decisions in the field so that your clients receive quick and valuable care.
Overview of Medical Social Workers Responsibilities
The Medical Social Worker can be an extremely important influencing person for individuals receiving medical care. Social workers in general are professionals that receive education in specific fields so that they can act as guides and advocates for people involved within those specific fields.
If you choose to pursue a degree in Medical Social Work, you can potentially learn more about what is involved in the diagnostic, treatment, and discharge process in common healthcare and medical treatment centers. This knowledge can help you navigate clients through this complex process while accommodating their needs through service provision.
Medical Social Workers can help patients understand different treatment options, can work with families as they work to comprehend and accept various health-related diagnoses, and even advocate for patient rights with insurance companies. At discharge, a Medical Social Worker may arrange in-home services and conduct home visits to ensure that their clients are receiving the highest standard of care.<!- mfunc search_btn -> <!- /mfunc search_btn ->
Medical Social Workers can be assigned to individuals that are unable to make informed health-related decisions or can be provided to standard clients as an added service associated with their medical care. Since the medical field is so complex, having an informed advocate can be relieving for patients involved with this large-scale system.
If you are interested in being a professional that can work with clients in need through every step in the healthcare process, this could be the field for you to pursue. There are numerous career options available for those holding the MSW in Medical Social Work.
What Types of Job Settings Are There for Medical Social Workers?
Once you have met the educational requirements to become a Medical Social Worker, you can find careers in many diverse work environments. This career can put you in touch with a wide range of people needing assistance from knowledgeable and motivated professionals in the medical field.
The most common career option for Medical Social Workers is within the hospital or medical center setting. Hospitals often employ Medical Social Workers to assist patients that need help understanding their diagnosis and treatment option, as well as those that may require extensive follow-up services after discharge.
In some cases, there may also be career options available to work with families of patients diagnosed with serious medical illnesses. Locating resources for families as they cope with long-term diagnoses or grieve a lost family member could be part of your role in these large organizations.<!- mfunc search_btn -> <!- /mfunc search_btn ->
Health Insurance Companies
Health insurance companies also employ Medical Social Workers as a way to provide an added service to their clients. In this area, you may work with insurance holders to locate covered services or advocate for clients when seeking specialized medical care from providers.
NGO and Other Organizations
Social work organizations can often provide a wide range of socially significant services to the public. If you are interested in being part of a larger team of social workers with multiple specialties, you can seek out careers in these larger community agencies in your area.