Campus Visits for MSW
Earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) usually takes two years and requires working on a college campus, but many schools now offer online MSW programs that may or may not have a residency requirement. MSW programs typically ask students to take a certain number of classes and do one or more practicums. They’ll work in their own cities and with the type of people they want to work with after finishing their degrees. Many only programs also ask that students complete one or more residency sessions too.
What is a Residency?
When many people hear the word residency, they think about the work that doctors do in the medical field after finishing medical school. Online MSW programs use the term to describe sessions that take place on college campuses. While students will do practicums in their own cities and take classes online, they may need to complete a residency too. They’ll take classes and attend lectures and other events with the same students they take classes with online. This allows their professors to make sure they are learning in the program and helps students do some practical work that can help with their learning.
How Long Does it Last?
Colleges offer a few different types of residency programs. Many only last for one weekend. Students will check in on Friday afternoon and attend a workshop that night. They’ll take classes all day on Saturday and attend a session or workshop on Sunday before heading home. Some schools have residency programs that run for a full week, which requires that students take some time off work. Though some schools only ask that students attend one session while in the program, other colleges ask students to do a residency one or twice a year or more often.
Are There Any Benefits?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for social workers is nearly $70,000 a year. The BLS found that those who work in healthcare and school social workers earn less than this median wage. Attending residency sessions will help students develop the practical skills that lead to better job offers and positions that pay them more money. These sessions also allow students to learn more from people working in other parts of the country. They can find out what skills they need to work in different fields and pick up tips on moving to a new area of social work.
Do All Schools Require a Campus Visit?
Though there are some benefits to campus visits and residency programs, not all schools that offer online MSW programs require that students attend one. These schools expect students to learn and develop the same skills through their practicums. Some of the colleges that do not have a residency requirement do ask that students attend a weekend orientation though. They’ll spend the weekend talking with their peers and the professors who will teach their classes. Orientation sessions also ensure that students have the software and computer skills they will need in their online classes.
Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees
Doing a residency as part of an online MSW program allows students to meet with their professors and form relationships with their classmates. These sessions can last for a weekend or a full week. Though not all online MSW programs have a residency requirement, some require that students attend multiple sessions.