Social Work vs. Psychology

Both social work and psychology are fields that equip others with the necessary tools to help themselves. Social work and psychology are oriented towards the same outcome: recognizing and treating mental illness, and empowering individuals to improve their own lives. While they sometimes overlap and intersect, each profession approaches their work with individuals in a distinctive manner. As a result, each profession requires different levels of education, licensure, or certification. 

Social workers help people solve and cope with everyday problems that arise in their lives. While some social workers require a bachelor’s degree, clinical social workers should have a master’s degree, appropriate experience, and a license for the state in which they practice.

Psychologists study emotional, cognitive, and social processes and behavior. They observe and make sense of the way in which an individual relates to others and the environment around them. Psychologists typically hold a doctorate degree in psychology and a license to practice. In some cases, a master’s degree may suffice for certain related positions. 

As of 2018, there were over 700,000 social workers External link , according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports in 2018 that there were also over 180,000 psychologists External link . Both fields are also projected to grow in the coming decade, along with the overall employment of individuals working in these fields. This growth will be driven by increasing demand for healthcare and social services External link . If a career based on helping others resonates with you, there’s never been a better time to consider studying social work or psychology

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