December 17, 2009 3:55 am at 3:55 am #590967
Hi. I’m getting my bachelor’s in June and I’m looking at graduate schools now. I’m interested in pursuing a degree in social work. Have any of you YWN people gone to a social work school in the NY/NJ area? Any advice? Ideas? Caveats?
I would love to hear about your experience as a frum person in an MSW program.
I’m specifically looking at Fordham, Wurtzweiler, Hunter, and NYU.December 17, 2009 4:28 am at 4:28 am #1024775
My son is in Hunter, and he loves it. It really depends on exactly what type of field you are pursuing in social work. There is clinical work, and there is whatever the other type is. Each grad school actually is geared to specific “hashkafa” and may not necessarily be right for you. Columbia, for example is more for the social worker academician, Hunter is more for the social worker who wants to work in the field with the clients. My son was accepted (with scholarship)to Columbia, Hunter, Wurzweiler, and one more, the name of which escapes me, but he specifically chose Hunter, because it is known to be tops in the field in which he is interested. Do your research carefully, and know what you want and NEED before making a decision.December 17, 2009 5:01 am at 5:01 am #1024776
I’m wondering how frum people deal with the obvious conflicts between the social work code of ethics and Torah?December 17, 2009 7:31 am at 7:31 am #1024777williMember
hey I’m also interested in this. I’m told “do your research” but the question is where can I do research and how?
Striving if you find out more please post it here.December 17, 2009 2:14 pm at 2:14 pm #1024778tzippiMember
Find a mentor in the field, AND a rav.December 17, 2009 3:02 pm at 3:02 pm #1024779Just-a-guyMember
I’m not familiar with the social work code of ethics. What are the obvious conflicts? Just curious.December 17, 2009 5:07 pm at 5:07 pm #1024780
Just-a-guy — the obvious conflicts include but are not limited to: working in an agency and having to give someone the option to have an abortion, or completely accept any sexual orientation as legitimate plus tons more like examples.
willi – I’ve been to several open houses. Anything specific you’re wondering?
tzippi – yeah that’s totally so important! thanks!December 17, 2009 9:45 pm at 9:45 pm #1024781
As far as the conflicts go, the old adage holds true: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If one is a social worker, he or she must advocate for the client, whether or not that client has a different orientation, religious belief, is a drug user or alcoholic. If you are out in the field you cannot pick and choose your cases. If you are a private therapist but get some kind of government funding (i.e. someone who manages a nursing home)you may have to compromise some religious beliefs ( please note I said beliefs, not practices) when it comes to serviving the client who hold a different beief system. So that might mean you would be compelled to give an unwed pregnant girl information on abortion, even though it might be repugnant to you, but you could NOT be forced to come in on Shabbos, to do so.December 21, 2009 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #1024782
Hey so I’m also in middle of applying to grad school and this is what I got out of the open houses.
Hunter – Basically it’s hard to get it so if you do then go. No question about it. It’s the cheapest college and competitive so even if their curriculum is not exactly geared toward what your looking for, since they’re more administrative, just go and do your fieldwork in another field your interested in. Hunter is around 4,000 a semester. Hunter is also moving in 2011 to East Harlem if that makes any diff.
NYU – Prestigious name, and very clinical based. But from what I’ve heard, it’s not worth the extra work or the money. Their tuition comes out to 60,000 and it’s very hard. Being that starting salary is 40-42 a yr…you do the math 🙂
Adelphi – Very well established, and a little easier and cheaper than NYU. I think it actually comes out to 45,000 for the whole thing. They claim they run on a clinical track but you actually end up with a very broad knowledge of social work.
Columbia – I’m not applying there just because it is the most expensive of all the colleges. It is also very far, right near Washington Heights. They also don’t give an MSW degree they only give a MS which is technically the same thing. But it’s definately a very choshuv name.
YU-Wurtzweiler – Jewish based. Around the same price as Adelphi, but also very far, near Washington Heights. I actually heard from a few people that graduated from there that they are anti-semetic because the grad school is not frum so they davka try to go the other way.
You may want to look into Touro, R’Bulka’s thing through LIU, and Adelphi opened a program this year for Jewish women.
In regard to Social Work ethics, not every therapy has to be incorporated into your practice. People respect your religious opinions in most settings. Also, think about working in the frum community, you can help out so much!!
Gluk with wtvr you decide!!December 21, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm #1024784
“In regard to Social Work ethics, not every therapy has to be incorporated into your practice. People respect your religious opinions in most settings. Also, think about working in the frum community, you can help out so much!!”
While that may be true when you open a practice, it does not hold true for your field work and classroom sessions. You are expected to implement all types of therapy and that may include some things that run counter to Torah observance, so it may take a little footwork to avoid being put in compromising circumstances.December 24, 2009 2:38 am at 2:38 am #1024785
myshadow – wow! thanks so much for the comprehensive list 😉 I’m wondering – why did you choose social work over psychology? (i’m having that struggle now)December 24, 2009 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #1024786
My son was also a Psych major, but ultimately made the decision that he had a wider and more diverse set of options going into Social Work, so he is doing his mAsters in that field.Prince Charming is right – it is more flexible, and one can be a therapist with an MSW, if that is the intent of having pursued a Psych degree.December 27, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm #1024787DramaQueenMember
I’m also looking into this but I’d rather do it online I’d like to hear your opinionsDecember 28, 2009 2:40 am at 2:40 am #1024788chasid-of-HashemMember
My mother is currently in Wurzweiler’s block program (thats the summer program) and she loves it. My mother is a very active student there – she is constantly speaking at the open houses and other functions. She feels that she is getting very comprehensive education there and the staff is helpful and accomodating.
I dont know what YWN’S policy is regarding giving out info, but if you are interested in hearing my mom speak or contacting her directly respond here and well work s/t out.December 28, 2009 4:09 am at 4:09 am #1024789
chasid-of-Hashem – I went to the open house of Wurzweiler and I like it a lot. I think that there was a warm, caring atmosphere there. I was concerned that it is very expensive and may not have such high academic standards. From what I’ve seen, the more academic students are in the block program, not the concurrent program. I still have to do more research. Has your mother found the program to be challenging? Does she feel that it is preparing her for work as a social worker?
Maybe I heard your mother speak 😉
If I got a really good scholarship there, I would probably go…January 12, 2010 8:25 pm at 8:25 pm #1024790
striving, I had the same issue with deciding whether or not to pursue psych or social work. A masters in Psychology will get you absolutely no place without your PhD. This I’ve heard from social workers and psychologists with their PhDs. A Phd, unless you’re extremely on top of it, can take anywhere from 5-10 years to finish. Although a psychologist will get paid much more than a social worker, it is much longer schooling and will also cost much more.January 13, 2010 12:00 am at 12:00 am #1024791
myshadow – yeah that’s what i heard, too. Especially as a single girl where I can get married IY”H, it can be super hard to stick to a 5 year program! I wanted to do PsyD, but the more I look into social work, the more I like it. I think it’s a much broader degree than Psychology…
I’m applying now! Ah!January 13, 2010 12:31 am at 12:31 am #1024792
My son was going for his Psych degree and ultimately made the choice to go for his masters in social work. More options there.January 13, 2010 7:51 am at 7:51 am #1024793
Yea there definately is a variety of job options with an MSW. Gluk lol we might end up at the same place 🙂January 13, 2010 3:46 pm at 3:46 pm #1024794
You need to be careful about Touro. Last I heard they’re nor yet accredited. They say they’re working towards it, but they’ve been doing that for a while. It took them a few years just to get candidacy status, and nobody knows how long it will take them to get fully accredited.January 13, 2010 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #1024795
myshadow – lol we could be in the same class and become friends and not realize that we spoke here. maybe we already know each other. that cracks me up. anonymous forums are funny like that esp. in a relatively small community (only a few degrees of seperation)January 14, 2010 1:46 am at 1:46 am #1024796veryamusingMember
Fyi, there is an exiting masters available now called Mental Health Counseling (MHC). It’s still relativly new in NY (as opposed to other states, in NJ it’s called LPC)but it’s on the way up. The advantage over MSW is that it focuses only on clinical practice. as opposed to MSW where the first year at least is spent on social justice and the professors are rarely with clinical experience. you finish as an am haaretz in psychotherapy..in my opinion.
If you’re planninig on working in a clinic or social service center than MSW is the way to go. but if you’re bent on private practice, then I would suggest MHC.January 14, 2010 1:52 am at 1:52 am #1024797
The Touro school of social work is accredited by now and I’m pretty sure this coming Fall will be their third year. The reason someone may not want it is because they are no where near as established as some of the other schools previously mentioned. I don’t get why someone would do Touro anyway since the only thing frum about it is that they give off yamim tovim. The classes look that same as any other school.
Striving: lollll 🙂January 14, 2010 3:02 am at 3:02 am #1024798
veryamusing- msw is a much more established degree. Only now is the MSW becoming more recognized as a good degree… mhc is very very new…
myshadow – i actually have a very strong feeling that i know who you are. lol that would be hilarious.January 14, 2010 3:11 am at 3:11 am #1024799
myshadow – but then again tons of girls our age are going for social work!
it’s funny because it’s a relatively common thing for frum girls to go into social work, but i feel like in the schooling, there’s so much exposure to everything we’ve been trying to shut out. but it’s necessary to know what’s going on even if you want to work in the frum community. or should i say ESPECIALLY if you want to work in the frum community… everything affects our community…January 14, 2010 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #1024800
myshadow, here is what it says on their web site:
In February 2008, the Touro MSW program was granted Candidacy Status by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Students initially admitted or readmitted during or subsequent to the 2007-2008 academic year will be considered as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program at such time as the MSW program is granted Initial Accreditation by CSWE.January 14, 2010 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #1024801The Dark KnightMember
Mental Health Counseling is very new – I would be hesitant to pursue a degree that can very possibly fizzle out and get you nowhere. Be careful with the advice that you give about these things.February 28, 2011 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #1024802
so now 1 yr later, does anyone have any better info on the mhc degree? is it something worth to go into? or an msw is safer?March 1, 2011 2:37 am at 2:37 am #1024803vicprMember
Grad NYU. Top of my class. Hated NYU. Hated the fact that everyone in every other school had about 1/8th of the work and got the same degree. Hate it even more now when you can almost get a mail in degree for doing absolutely nothing. Btw, hate the field. Make sure you really know what its about and that you really want to go into it. Be prepared to put in very long hours, come home emotionally (and physically) drained and very often see very little in terms of reward. No I am not in it any longer(over a decade) and have since gotten a degree in an entirely different field but was considered a “top” SW and not only in the frum world. Lots of luckMarch 1, 2011 3:11 am at 3:11 am #1024804
I heard from someone just last week that Touro still hasn’t finished getting accredited. The person said that they got a degree from Touro, but that they can’t find work with it – they were told straight out that it’s useless. Be careful, and make sure they are fully accredited before going there!March 1, 2011 3:30 am at 3:30 am #1024805abcd2Participant
BTW if you graduate with a bs in social work many times you can finish Social work school early.
Wurzweiller has the real only paid intership program called PEP (planned for employed persons) Basically you can use your job as your field work, as long as you have a bit of a different job description or take on other responsibilties your second year.
Condition A) Someone from your work or a professor of the school that is qualified must supervise you and have regular meetings with you
B) Your employer must be friendly to the idea and you must come with your job and work already by the time the semester begins (Ohel Hasc womens League and Hamaspik all have programs in place,just dont expect to be paid so much as you are starting out and also need a flexible schedule. Additionally, many non-jewish agencies such as ACS and YAI have similar programs with some tuition reimbursement in place (obviously certain rules and conditions apply)
In the Pep program you attend school at night and on Sundays.
C)Keep in mind that YU graduate schools are open to all though they definitely do make an effort to keep Frum ideals in perspective. Yes there are davkanicks that are lihachis against certain frum ideals but you have that in all graduate programs, at least by Wurzweiller you can speak back. Additionally all YU schools run on a Frum schedule, so no worries about yomim tovim and assignments.Aside from the PEP schedule,Wurzweiller in general has the highest amount of classes available at different times.
The knock against Wurzweiller (same against NYU Columbia Adelphi) is that it is more expensive then HunterMarch 1, 2011 3:32 am at 3:32 am #1024806
Everyone and their brother/sister is a social worker but are they a “working” social worker? The point being …go to the best possible school you can even if it cost more or it is harder to travel to. Because when it comes to hiring they are going to look at your resume first! DON’T take the easy route because in the end it will get you back. If you are serious and you want to make a serious parnasa put ALL the effort you need to into it.
As far as obstacles are concerned, in every field you will come up with obstacles. In nursing you have to touch men, in pt or ot the same. If you are a physician, psychiatrist or psychologist you will face the same ethics issues. There are going to be challenges in every field and throughout your lives that you are going to have to overcome. Now is the time that your choices are going to make a huge difference for your future do NOT look for the easy way out, the competition out there is fierce and the job market is getting smaller and smaller.
Hatzlocha to all.March 1, 2011 3:53 am at 3:53 am #1024807
“working in an agency and having to give someone the option to have an abortion”
Not an issue. My wife worked as a physician in a medical clinic that performed abortions, and she never was asked to perform one. Whenever a patient wanted one she simply referred her to one of her colleagues to perform one. Once she had to recommend an abortion to a patient who had a fetus with a defect that was certain to result in death, probably before birth.March 1, 2011 3:56 am at 3:56 am #1024808whocaresMember
I am surprised that nobody mentioned THE NEW SEMINARY’s social work program.
They have a program that has separate classes for men and women, through Long Island University (in their Brooklyn campus).
It goes according to the Jewish calendar. Only men professors for the men, and mostly women professors for the woman.
All classes take place on Sundays.
It is a hiemish environment.
CALL REBETZIN BULKA AT THE NEW SEMINARY 718-769-8160March 1, 2011 4:04 am at 4:04 am #1024809
“completely accept any sexual orientation as legitimate”
That isn’t exactly what it says. Here are the exact texts from the Code:
1.05 Cultural Competence and Social Diversity
(c) Social workers should obtain education about and seek to understand the nature of social diversity and oppression with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, and mental or physical disability.
Social workers should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.
6.04 Social and Political Action
(d) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.
Here is the link to the entire code:
I personally don’t see anything that is incompatible with being frum, but I can see that others may disagree. If *your* rabbi thinks that following this is incompatible with being a frum Jew, you must NOT become a social worker.
One more thing: If you become a licensed social worker — or any other health professional, you will be a mandated reporter. That means that upon reasonable suspicion of certain types of abuse in your clients, you MUST inform the authorities. No going to a rabbi, no going to a beit din. If your rabbi thinks that is mesirah and therefore asur, you must NOT become a social worker — or any other health professional. Period. There are no gray areas on this one; if you fail to report abuse it won’t be your rabbi who suffers the consequences, it will be you. Fortunately there are many rabbis who pasken that it is a *chiyuv* to report abuse, but generally it is not a good idea to go “rabbi shopping” to get a lenient opinion on this or anything else.
Social work is a great field and there is a tremendous need for sensitive social workers to serve the frum community. I wish you luck.March 1, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am #1024810m in IsraelMember
charliehall — With regard to your last point, in NYS educators are also mandated reporters. If I recall correctly there is a bit of wiggle room in that a school could set up a structure where one individual is the mandated reporter (i.e. a principal), and everyone else only has an obligation to report suspicion of abuse to him. But most yeshivos do not have that set up anyway, so anyone going into Chinuch should clarify this issue with their posek and a lawyer.
BTW, just for interest sake, in Israel EVERYONE is a “mandated reporter”, meaning if it comes out that you had information about suspected abuse and don’t report it to the authorities you could be held legally liable. Obviously this is very hard to prosecute practically, but technically that is the law.March 1, 2011 3:38 pm at 3:38 pm #1024811
whocares- does the new seminary-Bulka have options online? i am not locate din the tristate area, thus i will not be able to attend classes. That is why i am inquiring about the Reizel Rite-TTi- Mental health counseling degree which can be down directly online. However, like i mentioned before, the mental health counseling degree seems rather new and i am a bit nervous about entering such a field when not proven to be so successful.March 1, 2011 4:32 pm at 4:32 pm #1024812gavra_at_workParticipant
Have to agree with vicpr here.
If you are going into social work, just be aware that it is not (From what I understand) financially worthwhile, and you are doing it out of the goodness of your heart. Social Work does not pay bills. You are better off (if you want to make a parnassa) going into something else.March 1, 2011 4:42 pm at 4:42 pm #1024813
Another option if you don’t live in an area that has a good social work school would be to attend a social work program in which all the formal coursework is done over the summer, and the required field placements are done in your home community. Smith College in Northampton MA has such a program and it is very well respected. As a prestigious private college it is very expensive, though.March 1, 2011 4:42 pm at 4:42 pm #1024814
If you want to go into any professional type of work do it the right way. Would you use a doctor, dentist or other M.D. if they did their studying on line? Of course not. Many of the online courses will get you the degree but not the hands on experience. Go for a program that is right not that is call Rite!
Many agencies are starting to reject professional with online type of schooling, so prepare yourself correctly with a program that is real not short!!!March 1, 2011 5:09 pm at 5:09 pm #1024815
Being a Mandated Reporter MEANS you are saving someones LIFE. If you are a professional and someone tells you of a predator you are mandated by law to report it to the police. Do you know why? Because you will save others from going through the horrors of what your patient is going through. Don’t for one minute look for ways of getting around being a mandated reporter. If you are seriously looking into a profession that “helps” people then take that responsibility seriously! Speak to you own doctors and pediatricians who are also mandated reporters and hear what they say. They will tell you which Rabbonim to speak to on the subject.March 1, 2011 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm #1024816
I am choosing the field of social work/mental health because i feel the frum world has a serious need for it. I am determined to help all those out there suffering from it and bring awareness to those that are ignorant. However, to say it is not financially worthwhile then what job would be? Personally i think that most jobs are not paid well enough to support a family etc..
charliehall- thank you for that idea i may look into that option i am just not that thrilled to wait untill the summer to begin..Again does anyone have any specific facts on the mental health counseling degree from TTI?March 1, 2011 5:57 pm at 5:57 pm #1024817
Mental Health Counseling might seem like a new and exciting concept. Just one word of warning. Before going into a new field make sure that the Insurance industry recognizes it otherwise you might have a difficult time getting patients. In my field, coaching, the insurance industry does not recognize it and you can only get private patients who are willing to pay out of pocket. That will make a huge difference to someone just starting out and counting on parnasah.
When making a choice on what field to go into you also have to look at the business aspect of it not just the work aspect. If I go into this industry how will it pay the bills. Psychology and social work is an accepted form of therapy and insurance covers it. Does insurance cover this new field and will you have to worry about getting patients who will pay the bill?March 1, 2011 6:06 pm at 6:06 pm #1024818
aries2756- that is a valid point that i did not take into consideration -whether insurance covers it or not. With your experience though , having patients pay out of pocket does it seem to be a significant problem?
Lia- actually when i go to a DR i do not inquire what and how they went about their schooling. When i choose a DR. it is usually based on a good referral from someone else and thus choosing that DR. I believe that can be applied in this situation as well- social workers as well as mental health counslors.March 1, 2011 6:11 pm at 6:11 pm #1024819QuickQuestsMember
CharlieHall, from your post it appears that you have some knowledge in the field and you mentioned mandated reporting. Do you know when reporting child abuse actually became mandated and why? If you do know that would be a great help to me.
Thanks!March 1, 2011 6:31 pm at 6:31 pm #1024820
happy, I did not do my work for $$$ or to make a business, I actually only work for chessed so it was never an issue with me. But in this economy people do choose their therapists according to who is on their insurance plan and according to how much it will cost them. People seeking therapy are under a lot of stress already and are not looking to take on an additional stressful burden such as how they are going to pay for it.
People who can afford to pay for quality care are not going to a newbie in a new field of therapy especially one who is way younger than they are. Please consider that.March 1, 2011 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1024821
aries, That is beautiful you did it for chessed.
true people do not go for the newbies however experience begins somewhere! obviously one starts and then builds themeslves up. I am not looking to make a busniess as much as i am intrested to help out others, i would just like to be aware of the financial aspect of things in the area. I completely agree with all those that mentioned above that social work is not a money making busniess.March 1, 2011 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm #1024822
Happy, I agree with you that is why I am saying that the MHC counseling is something that should be put on hold until it is more acceptable and becomes more of a profitable profession. Just because it is an easier and cheaper route does not make it a profitable one in the end. If you need to make a parnasah put the effort in now and it will be worth it in the end. You will be able to truly help people because you will have the best training and you will also be able to help yourself and your family by paying the bills.March 1, 2011 7:42 pm at 7:42 pm #1024823whocaresMember
Rebetzin Bulka’s New Seminary does not officially have an online program. However, I know that this semester they had a student that Skyped in from Eretz Yisroel to every class. Also, there were a few students that were able to Skype in when they were out of town.March 1, 2011 7:51 pm at 7:51 pm #1024824
Aries, You are definitely correct. I am in no way looking to go the easier way. On the contrary, i believe that proper training in the field is vital. If i may so, the reason that i am even considering the MHC degree through TTI is because i will not go to a regular public college. As i stated earlier i am not located in the tri state area, therefore leaving me with very limited options.
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