psychology versus social work?

Question by amy2188us: psychology versus social work?
I still confused which major should I go for consideration for graduate school. I have planned to take (school) psychology, but I also interested with social work. I love people and love to work with people, but my preference is working with kids (like elementary to middle school level). I’m just confused on knowing what the difference between the two are. Like in terms of careers, which field would have more options for job opportunities? Can you please explain and what the differences between psychology and social work? and in terms of applying to graduate school, which field needs to take the standardized testing (psychology?) what about social work? what about PhD programs? i just want some examples and it would help me make my decision easier b/c registration for GRE psych is about to be over soon in a few days so i want to make sure i’m making the right decision in terms of picking a field for graduate school.

Best answer:

Answer by j
Well first off i think you should go in the direction of psycho therapy. Therapist talk to there patients, as psychologist you are mainly there to ask a few questions and prescribe medications. Social working is more interactive with people,adults, children etc, you get to know a person more.

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3 Comments so far »

  1. Sally Onetwothree said,

    Wrote on August 25, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

    social work degrees will leave you poor and you will have to deal with very screwed up stuff all the time. my mom used to do social work before joining the police, and said it is totally different than what they make it seem like. She had to counsel and be nice and take care of rapist, murderers, etc…all ages ex i remember her telling me about a 14 yr old boy who raped and beat up a 5 yr old or something…stuff like that.

    yea…i would say if you want to get a good and fun job that is like how the colleges actually display the jobs to be like…get a phd in psychology.

  2. rach said,

    Wrote on August 25, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

    There are many different fields within psychology, but if you want to be a clinician, then you would go into Clinical Psychology. It is not an easy job, and you deal with people with very disturbing problems. You will most likely have to deal with patients threatening to commit suicide, and you may even have some patients succeed. PhD programs are going to take you 5-7 years to complete and are very competitive. Unless you have impeccable grades and research experience, these programs will be difficult to get into.

    As for social work, you typically will only have to have a Master’s Degree, which should take about 2 years. You can work in many different settings.

    You could also look into counseling. The main difference between psychologists and counselors is that psychologists deal more with psychopathology (mental disorders) whereas counselors deal with difficulties in normal functioning (adjustment, family problems, etc.)

  3. Kate said,

    Wrote on August 25, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

    I find it interesting that folks who are not social workers answer these questions, especially when they give out misinformation. First of all, this is not an across the board poorly paid profession, although some social workers choose to work for non-profits that pay lower than industry salaries. This is their choice, however, and they do it because they believe in it.

    A licensed clinical social worker can earn an excellent living – in California where I live, the federal government starts an LCSW at $ 82,500. My friends in private practice make well over a hundred thousand a year. Even an MSW, unlicensed and right out of college, can start at $ 67,900 with the VA, depending on locality pay.

    The difference between psychology and social work is that psychology deals more with mental health issues, and social work deals with the person in their environment, which can include mental health, family of origin, current living situation, work and social issues, etc.

    Ironically, a licensed social worker with a masters in social work can legally counsel, a person with a masters in psychology cannot.

    So – here’s the run down.

    Psychiatrist – prescribes medications, does meds management. Does not usually counsel. Requirements are a medical degree (MD) plus a post-medical school specialization in Psychiatry.

    Psychologist – a doctorate (Phd. or PsyD.) in Psychology. The Phd. is more research oriented, the PsyD. is clinical, but both can legally counsel. But, few do. Most psychologists do evaluation and testing.

    Therapist – can be an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) or an MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist.) These are masters level degrees, and are the ones doing most of the counseling these days. For my money, the masters in Social Work is more flexible, since you’re not limited to marriage and family therapy, you can counsel in other areas, and also you can be a case manager, guidance counselor, life coach, work in employee assistance in corporations, work in management in social non-profits, personnel, etc.

    You don’t need an undergraduate in any particular subject area to get a masters degree in either the MSW or MFT program, as long as it is a liberal arts degree. You will need at least a 3.0 GPA overall, preferably higher.

    My advice is to go for the MSW, it incorporates everything you’d like to do, and offers tremendous flexibility down the road should you choose a different area to work in.

    Best of luck to you.

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