Difference Between MSW and LCSW (With Table)

There are several altruistic people out there who work for several social causes to build our society and make it a better place to live. The youth and even the elderly people take active participation in this process. Several degrees offer to learn about this process in detail. People that are willing to pursue their goal in building our society choose those degrees and learn about the process of social work. Two of such degrees are 1. MSW or Master of Social Work and 2. LCSW or Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

MSW vs LCSW

The difference between MSW and LCSW is that MSW is a graduate degree. On the other hand, LCSW is the next step after MSW, which ensures an individual with a license to practice the respective profession. MSW means Master of Social Work, and LCSW means Licensed Clinical Social Worker. An individual can become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker after pursuing a Master of Social Work degree.

MSW or Master of Social Work is a degree that an individual can pursue to become a social worker. BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) is a degree prior to MSW. It includes various specializations. It also includes the study of aspects of practices of social work at the professional level. Different countries have a different structure of the Master of Social Work degree. For instance, in the United States of America, there is a different structure, and in India, there is a different structure. Students who pursue this degree must follow the rules and regulations strictly.

LCSW or Licensed Clinical Social Worker is the license offered to an individual after pursuing the Master of Social Work degree. It is a license that approves the individual to practice their respective profession. An individual must be thorough with theory, knowledge, ethics and methodologies that are required to know by them regarding the subject. The Charity Organization Societies are considered the foundation of clinical social work dating back to years between 1877 to 1883.

Comparison Table Between MSW and LCSW

Parámetros de comparación MSWLCSW
Forma completaMaster of Social Work Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Qualifications requiredBachelor of Social Work Master of Social Work
Type ofDegree programProfesión
Age limitNo age limitIndividuals must be 21 years old.
Study includesPrepare an individual to be innovative, empowering, multidimensional problem solving to serve social, economic, and environmental justice.Diagnose and treat mental, behavioural, and emotional issues to help an individual to cope with problems, etc.

What is MSW?

MSW or Master of Social Work is a degree after BSW (Bachelor of Social Work). It includes various specializations. The structure of this degree is different in different countries, and the processes and criteria required for an individual to pursue this degree are also different. It also includes the study of aspects of practices of social work at the professional level.

The specialization in the Master of Social Work degree includes Management of human resources, Crime and correctional Administration, Family and juveniles welfare, Development in both urban and rural counties, Labour Welfare in industrial areas, Counseling, Sociología, etc. An individual can choose a specialization on their own and are independent to do so.

There are various subjects that an individual pursuing the Master of Social Work degree must study. There are subjects like Foundation of Social Practice, Theory and Practice of Social Work, Working with Communities and NGOs, Child and Women Development, Theory and Practice of Social Case Work, Social Planning, Policy and Development, Urban Development, Rural Development, Poverty and Livelihood etc.

The University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, Carleton University, Ryerson University, University of Windsor are some of the universities that offer the Master of Social Work degree in Canada. 

There are several universities in the USA and UK as well. The structure of the degree is different in different countries. For instance, in the United States of America, one must pursue their MSW degree from a graduate school approved by the Council of Social Work and an institute specially built for this field.

What is LCSW?

LCSW or Licensed Clinical Social Worker is the license offered to an individual after pursuing the Master of Social Work degree. It is a license that approves the individual to practice their respective profession. The LCSW refers to as a profession. It involves the study of several subject matter, and an individual must pursue an MSW degree to get a license for the practice of the profession.

Professionals work to provide people with various services. An individual must study the Diagnose and treat mental, behavioural and emotional issues to help an individual to cope with problems and other aspects thoroughly. One must be thorough with theory, knowledge, ethics and methodologies that are required to know by them regarding the subject.

Various universities globally offer the license for clinical social workers. The Charity Organization Societies are considered the foundation of clinical social work dating back to years between 1877 to 1883. The practice methodologies a clinical social worker uses include various assessment techniques. Once a clinical social worker is licensed, he/she is eligible to use several diagnostic classification procedures.

Clinical Social Workers play an important role in building a secure and joyful environment. They serve people with respect and treat them. They are trained to address various issues and give the patient the required treatment. These issues include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder etc. The key process is to recognize the issue the person is suffering from to give a successful result.

Main Differences Between MSW and LCSW

  1. MSW is the Master of Social Work degree. On the other hand, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
  2. The Master of Social Work is a type of degree that an individual pursues after the Bachelor of Social Work degree. On the other hand, Licensed Clinical Social Worker is a license that an individual must have to practice their profession.
  3. To obtain a license as Clinical Social Worker, an individual must pursue a Master of Social Work degree. On the other hand, to pursue an MSW degree, one must pursue the Bachelor of Social Work degree.
  4. There is no age limit for pursuing the Master of Social Work degree. On the other hand, to obtain a license as Clinical Social Worker, one must be 21 years old.
  5. The study included in MSW includes preparation of an individual to be innovative, empowering, multidimensional problem solving etc. On the contrary, the study included in LCSW includes diagnosis and treatment of mental, behavioural and emotional issues etc.

Conclusión

Both the areas strive to make our society a better place to live. People who seek them work for the betterment of society are willing to take the necessary steps to do so.

Many people actively engage in social work and help other people to be able to live their life without problems. Their valuable work must be honoured and respected by all. They strive for creating an amicable environment and create awareness among people about several social causes.

Referencias

  1. https://academic.oup.com/hsw/article-abstract/41/3/196/1749853
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08841233.2017.1342737