A Master's degree in Social Work with a concentration in Children/Youth/Families helps you gain a better understanding of the issues facing families today and how those issues can impact children, including younger kids and teens. With an MSW and a concentration in this area, there are a number of potential career paths available to you.
Child Welfare Agent
While enrolled in a program that culminates in a Master's degree in Social Work with a concentration in Children/Youth/Families, the college will require that you do some clinical work in the field. That fieldwork better prepares you for working as a child welfare agent. A child welfare agent is someone who investigates claims and reports filed by others to ensure the welfare of a child. They can investigate physical and other types of abuse, look into cases involving neglect, meet with parents to talk about their concerns and suggest solutions to any problems discovered.
School Social Worker
If you prefer working directly with kids, you might consider a career as a school social worker. Though not all schools hire these workers, those that do use those social workers as an alternative to guidance counselors. As a school social worker, you'll implement programs that teach students how to manage their stress and handle other problems both at school and while away from school. You'll also learn how to identify common problems facing kids today, including school bullying or cyber harassment.
Marriage and Family Counselor
A Master's degree in Social Work with a concentration in Children/Youth/Families also qualifies you to work as a marriage and family counselor or therapist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marriage and family therapists earn a median wage of more than $43,000 a year. Therapists of this type may work directly with couples thinking about separating or filing for divorce, but they also work with children of various ages. Divorce and separation can lead to children acting out in ways and doing things they wouldn't otherwise do like stealing or using drugs. Marriage and family therapists teach those children how to better cope with their problems.
Mental Health Counselor
Mental health counselors work with patients who suffer from serious mental and emotional disorders. While some states require that these professionals have a counseling license, you may qualify for that license with a Master s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Children/Youth/Families. Your degree will help you better handle the needs of children coping with disorders like schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. While you cannot prescribe patients medications, you can offer treatments like counseling.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Another career path open to a college graduate with a Master's degree in Social Work with a concentration in Children/Youth/Families is that of a substance abuse counselor. Children as young as 12 or even 10 experiment with drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the problems they experience at home. As a substance abuse counselor, you talk with them about why they use those substances and help them find alternative ways to cope with their feelings. Hospitals, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers and schools are just a few of the employers who hire these counselors.
Many students go on to graduate school and enroll in an MSW program either immediately after finishing college or after gaining some practical work experience. MSW programs let you select a concentration that helps you gain more experience in a specific area of social work.
With a Master's degree in Social Work with a concentration in Children/Youth/Families, you might work as a school social worker or in a field of counseling like mental health or substance abuse counseling.