Tucked away in New England, Vermont has the small towns and villages that are associated with the area. Vermont’s two largest cities, Burlington and South Burlington, both have fewer than 50,000 residents. Although the cost of living in Vermont is 17% above the national average, it is still lower than the cost of living in many other New England States.
Since the vast majority of Vermont citizens are not close to a sizable city, you may have the opportunity to serve remote communities in the state as a social worker. When there are few large cities in a state, many people may find themselves without access to mental health care services.
Vermont is home to two MSW programs, located at opposite ends of the state. The average cost of tuition in this state is $29,752, which is in line with tuition rates in other New England states. However, Vermont also has a sizable average scholarship award of $17,423.
As you enter your MSW program, prepare for a thorough education in the theoretical and practical aspects of social work. The University of Vermont lays out their course requirements in five areas: human behavior in the social environment, social welfare policy, social work practice, field practica, and research.
While you touch on each of these subjects in your first year, you really explore them in your second year. Your second year, also known as your concentration year, allows you to choose a specialty and tailor your courses towards that specialty. For example, the University of Vermont offers a concentration in Transformative Social Work.
Getting your classroom knowledge is important, but it’s even more crucial to be able to apply that knowledge in the field. That’s why Vermont schools put you through 900+ hours of field work. Your professors will assess how you use the information you’ve learned, how you grow as a practitioner, and how you deal with challenges that arise.
Your employment options after graduating with an MSW degree depend on what license you seek and what your concentration was in school. Overall, MSW holders have a great deal of flexibility in their career options. You may work for the government or in healthcare, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that these are the two largest employers of social workers. However, you can also work for private businesses or companies.
Some of the main social work employers in Vermont are Brattleboro Retreat, Dialysis Clinic Inc., and Bayada Home Health Care. If you get your clinical license in Vermont, you may be able to go into private practice and open a clinic where you offer therapy and counseling services.
Social work licenses in Vermont all go through the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation. The process is considerably different from other states. There are no licensure levels below Licensed Clinical Social Worker, so you cannot become licensed immediately after earning your diploma. Instead, you must compete 3,000 hours of supervised work experience, sit for the LCSW exam, and finally earn your LCSW title.
As you start your social work career, you may wonder how much money you can earn. Salaries vary widely, depending on how much experience you have, what field you enter, and where you work. In general, average social worker salaries range from $34,800 per year to $45,400 per year (O*Net, 2012). Clinically-licensed social workers that take on the role of substance abuse counselor earn an average salary of $39,800 per year (O*Net, 2012).
Because of their ability to deliver affordable, evidence-based care, social workers are in demand all over the country. This trend is expected to continue through 2020. Social workers in various specialties and concentrations can expect to see job growth of 9% to 19% (O*Net, 2012). Healthcare social workers are expected to see the greatest jumps in job growth.
Schools in Vermont Offering Masters in Social Work Programs
- Masters in Social Work (MSW)
- $43,070 Tuition Cost
- $23,592 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
- Suburban Campus Setting
University of Vermont
- Masters in Social Work (MSW)
- $13,344 Tuition Cost
- $11,253 Scholarship and Financial Aid Awards
- Urban Campus Setting