Get Adobe Flash player

Masters in Social Work, MFT, Education, Counseling, or School Psychology?? HELP!?

Question by Risa: Masters in Social Work, MFT, Education, Counseling, or School Psychology?? HELP!?
I am not recieving much help here at my university, and I will be applying for graduate programs this upcoming year! I am a Junior, and a double major in Pyschology and Human Development and Family studies. I love children, and I am also very interested in mental health and emotional issue. I am not so sure I can handle the most extreme issues, of child abuse for example, and sorts like these, but I am interested in working with people and helping with problems. I just dont know how to narrow what I want down! Can anyone help me differentiate between all of these programs and how I can decide which would best suite me???! THANKS!

Best answer:

Answer by Martell
The best way is to just jump in and work in different areas in order to find out which you like and are best at! Even if you take a semester or a year off and work, say in a group home, or children’s treatment center, it would be the best “investment” of your time and education, to find out where you feel and do your best! OR, just get your certification and then do the rounds to find where you fit best. AND, you could get part time work in different treatment centers and go part time to school. That makes a great feedback system, and you can get a lot of good from that gained at work!

Answer by monique
1. Social Work……….with a MSW and clinical license you can do “counseling” and therapy with all groups, to include substance abuse counseling and drug/alcohol. Some states may require a special certification for licensed mental health practitioners who do drug/alcohol/substance abuse counseling. Individuals can also go into private practice with a clinical license.
Social workers can work in various settings, to include administrative jobs. Some individuals with social work degrees, for example, write grants, do research and work on fundraiser in agencies that may be not for proft. Social workers work in health care settings (hospice, home health, hospitals, nursing homes); mental health settings (state department of mental health, residential treatment centers, alcohol/drug rehab, etc); dept of social services (child protective services, foster care, investigator, etc); other state jobs may include probation and parole officers; youth services (to include juvenile facilities, counseling, residential); dept of aging (adult protective services, community support worker); maternal health (education, home visits, etc); and other public health positions. Social workers who have their Masters in Social Work and typically a clinical license can work for the federal government, to include the Veterans Administration as well as a civilian working on military installations.

Other positions may include working as a victim advocate; domestic violence shelters; grass roots organizations (i.e. I saw a job looking for a social worker to work for Mothers Against Drunk Driving); organizations/agencies that provide services for those who are homeless (i.e. Salvation Army, catholic charities); schools.

2. MFT- The American Association for Marriage and Therapy has a FAQ on its home page that will clarify this type of degree. Typical work environment would be in an office/clinic.
Also, a good idea is to do an online job search for your state or the state you want to reside to determine the employment opportunites for a MFT. Indeed is a good job search

3. Masters degree in Guidance Counseling will only allow you to work in schools. You would not be able to work as a “therapist”. Guidance Counselors assist youth at risk; help youth with career planning and educational planning. This a person students can go talk to when they have “problems” as well. When the Guidance Counselor recognizes that the problems just are not every day stressors, but that require more specialized therapeutic intervention they would make sure the appropriate individual (i.e. school psychologist) is aware of the situation. When you do an online job search of Guidance Counselor positions, you will notice many employers require teaching experience and/or teaching certification.

4. School psychology: If a school has a psychologist, it is an individual with a PhD in Clinical Psychology or PsyD in Counseling Psychology. The state Department of Education makes the requirements for school level practitioners. So you would need to check out your state’s Dept of Education requirements for Guidance Counselors and School Psychologist. But typically, in the U.S… has to have a PhD or PsyD in Psychology to call him or herself a “psychologist”. Due to tight school budgets, school districts may share school psychologists and social workers at different schools. Other things that a school psychologist would be qualified to do is testing (i.e. IQ testing and other psychology educational testing).

If you don’t know what you want to do in graduate school, my advice is always to work for a bit while you think. We can only give you short answers which really is not going to paint for you what the job is really like. I think of graduate school as when you know what you want to do and then go for the degree that will help meet your career goals. The worse case scenario is to go into a grad program not really being sure, then getting done and not knowing what you want to do. As you know, with student loans and your time invested, one should definitely be certain once at the graduate level.

Best wishes in your decision!

What do you think? Answer below!