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Social Work or Psychology Graduate Degree?

At first glance, it might be hard for a prospective student to see the differences between a graduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in social work?  Both have to do with helping people overcome personal, social, and/or mental issues.  But, what are the differences really?  Completing an undergraduate degree and knowing that you’d like to help people with social or mental issues in some capacity is a great first step towards determining whether or not a Social Work degree or a Psychology degree is right for you?  But how do you know which one to pick?  With so many amazing online Master’s degrees in Psychology and online Master’s degrees in Social Work available it may be hard to decide what’s the best path for you.  Here at Nonprofit Colleges Online, we’ve devised a list of some things to consider to help you decide which path is best for you?

Social Work or Psychology?

When determining whether or graduate degree in Social Work or Psychology is best for you, it is best to take into consideration the following ways these programs differ.  While both of these degrees are concerned with teaching you how to help individual and families with a variety of issues while also treating mental illness, the two degrees are different in a few key ways.  Social Work and Psychology degrees differ from each other in the amount of time they take to complete, the educational requirements needed for each degree, and their respective job outlooks.

Time to Complete

With a Master’s in Social Work degree, students can expect to enter into the field of social work and be poised to earn a living within their respective field.  However, a Master’s in Psychology degree typically requires students then enrolling a PhD program if they would like to be able to earn any significant amount of money in the field of psychology.  Naturally, this means that in order to make a Master’s in Psychology degree more viable, students must undergo additional education beyond the Master’s in Psychology degree which means a longer amount of time in school.

Educational Requirements

One of the oldest types of degrees offered, a Bachelor’s in Psychology degree is readily available at most institutions across the United States.  A classic degree program, a Bachelor’s in Psychology prepares the student to continue their education on into their Master’s in Psychology program.  However, Bachelor’s in Social Work degrees are quite a bit less common though.  This isn’t too much of a problem as a Bachelor’s in Psychology is often more than fine to be used as a degree to apply for a Master’s in Social Work.  The only downside is that most schools will offer credits towards a Master’s in Social Work if the students has completed a Bachelor’s in Social Work which in turn will shorten the amount of time and reduce costs of the degrees.

Job Outlooks

Most students who complete a Master’s in Social Work degree will find themselves working as some sort of Social Worker.  While these jobs are in abundance, the median wage for a Social Worker is around $55,000/year.  While most students won’t find gainful employment upon the completion of Master’s in Psychology and will need to continue on to pursue a PhD in Psychology, those students will be prepared to make upwards of $100,000/year.  While the difference in earning potential is quite high, students should take in to account the extra schooling needed to go from a Master’s in Psychology to a PhD?

While Master’s in Social Work degrees and Master’s in Psychology degrees make seem similar, there are some key differences that separate the two.  When picking which degree is right for you, it is best to consider the amount of time you are willing to devote to your education, what type of Bachelor’s degree have you already earned, and what kind of job are you looking to for.