What’s the Difference Between a MSW and a LMSW?

What’s the Difference Between a MSW and a LMSW?When going into the field of social work, people have many options regarding how far they can take their education, as well as what requirements they must meet to qualify for various positions. While all social work jobs are important, the various titles reflect the amount of education a person has, such as the differences between a Master of Social Work (MSW) and a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW). Both are qualified professionals, but the LMSW employee will be trained to perform more tasks.

What Is an MSW?

An MSW, otherwise known as a Master’s of Social Work, is a degree that allows people to perform in this field. With this title, a social worker can perform the following duties:

  • Therapy – MSW’s work primarily with families and children in either school systems or on the home front to address issues such as poverty, substance abuse and more. They often work one-on-one with both adults and children, as well as in a group setting.
  • Travel – MSW’s do not have one place of work, rather they often travel to different areas to provide therapeutic care for those in need
  • Licensure – An MSW, while having her Master’s in social work, is not licensed, meaning that she cannot practice some methods. In addition, an MSW does not make as much money as an LMSW, primarily because she lacks the qualifications that come with licensure.

Someone with an MSW is a qualified social worker, but there will be restrictions without a professional license.

What Is an LMSW?

A Licensed Master of Social Work has either his Master’s degree in social work as well as a licensure to practice. Some of the main duties of an LMSW include the following tasks:

  • Administer testing – Unlike an MSW, an LMSW can administer psychological tests to his clients to provide a stronger diagnosis, and he can take on clients with more serious issues
  • Conduct and publish research – Someone with an LMSW can utilize his licensure to conduct research, publish his findings and share it with other members of his field
  • Management – LMSW’s can ascend the ranks of social work with his licensure, such as performing case management as well as teaching others the ropes about social work

The most obvious difference between an MSW and an LMSW is that an LMSW can do more tasks in the field. He is also more qualified, receives a better salary and has more responsibility with his job title.

Benefits of Going from an MSW to an LMSW

Even though the field of social work is quickly growing and there are more MSW’s than ever before, there are major benefits to getting an LMSW. With licensure, an MSW can not only expand her knowledge in this field, but she can also obtain more experience by reaching more people in need, she can engage in different roles within her company and she can receive more accolade for her work. In other words, it pays to attain an LMSW.

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