Can I become a psychologist with a social work degree?

Here, we’ll discover the differences between MSW and PsyD and how to transition from a social work degree to a PsyD.

If so, you’re on the right page. We will describe their differences and elaborate on their similarities.

Before doing so, let us speak briefly about these two professions.

Can I get a PsyD with a master’s in social work?

MSW to Ph.D. in Psychology

DSM and PsyD are both professionals that offer holistic services to the community. It could be in the context of economics, behaviors, and other health challenges encountered by populations.

While these professions are very similar, they each have distinct differences. You must understand their differences before choosing a career in any of them.

What’s MSW?

Please refer to the acronym above as “Master in Social Work.” This advanced social work certificate is awarded after completing a Master’s program in social work.

The study provides researchers with advanced knowledge and skills related to social work, which is intended to allow them to function effectively in a clinical context.

Furthermore, MSW is a vital credential required for a State license. Before granting a social work permit in the US, you must submit an MSW from an establishment approved by CSWE.

Depending on your study option, obtaining an MSW usually takes 2-4 years. Only those who enroll in full-time advanced standing studies may complete within the year.

Here are some of the courses you will propose as part of your MSW study:

  • Child, family, and school social work
  • Clinical social work
  • Community SW
  • Mental health and drug misuse
  • Introduction to Trauma and Resilience
  • Human development
  • Healthcare social work
  • Social work research practices
  • Social welfare and policy, etc.

What’s PsyD?

You can also call it “Doctor of Psychology.” It’s all the same. This advanced degree also endows researchers with a scientific understanding of psychology.

Researchers with such a discipline are trained to provide empirical services to individuals, organizations, and the wider community. This is entirely thanks to the study syllabus focusing on direct clinical intervention.

Here are the top Psyd Programs in the USA.

Before becoming a PsyD, you must have an MSc in psychology or similar courses. The PsyD program in the US takes four to seven years to complete.

Some of the classes you may come across include:

  • Biological basis of behavior
  • Social-cultural basis of behavior
  • Psychology of counseling
  • lifespan development
  • cognitive-affective bases of behavior
  • assessment and diagnosis
  • human behavior, etc.

What do MSW and PsyD have in Common?

As previously mentioned, MSW and PsyD share some similarities.

This can be explained by their relationship with clients’ mental health. Whatever it is, now, go check out the things they share in common.

  • Both Careers Have A Human Focus

MSW and PsyD assess clients with attitudinal problems, coping mechanisms, etc. The traits of such skills can be traced back to academic training.

The syllabus for MSWs and PsyDs includes courses in human behavior.

  • The Two Professions Have A Mental Health Background.

We talked about this relationship from the beginning.

An MSc in Psychology has specialized fields that focus on psychology. Scholars who take such programs are trained to evaluate, diagnose, and support patients through counseling.

Similarly, MSW specialists are trained to understand mental illness and its impact on clients. They are also taught how to intervene and help patients with these issues through counseling services.

Thus, they can manage their mental problems.

  • Options For Focal Areas

Scholars can specialize in a particular field when getting an MSW. For instance, you may specialize in clinical social work, gerontology, military, social work, etc.

The same goes for PsyD. Furthermore, scholars are also allowed to base their careers on a particular field. It could be child psychology, counseling psychology, cognitive psychology, etc.

This is all we have concerning the similarities between MSW and PsyD. We now turn our attention to the distinctions between the two professions.

Variation Between MSW and PsyD

We will now examine the differences between these professions using some key elements.

These include educational attainment, the workplace, duties, licensing essentials, curriculum, years of study, and earnings. Let’s examine them.

  • Educational Attainment

As we mentioned before, MSW is an MSc in social work. Consequently, it requires an undergraduate certificate as a minimum entry credential.

Those who received an MSW can work at advanced levels in the community. If they go further to get licensed, they can work without oversight.

PsyD, on the other hand, is a doctoral certificate.

As a result, only researchers with an MSc are eligible to enroll in this program. Most of the qualified candidates are top researchers and university lecturers.

Having attended such an academic level, you can work in a public and private setting without supervision.

  • Study Syllabus

MSW and PsyD emphasize research methodology and ethics more. However, PsyD places a greater focus on educational research. In contrast, MSW addresses relevant research in the area of social work.

  • Work Contexts

The working parameters of the MSW and PsyD are pretty variable.

MSW grads can work in hospitals, foster homes, recovery homes, correctional facilities, schools, and military facilities. However, PsyD is often self-employed. Only in rare instances can you find them in the hospital or office, helping customers with difficulties.

  • Essentials for Licensures

MSW licensing standards differ from those of PsyD.

To be a licensed clinical worker, you must submit an MSW certificate. Additionally, the applicant must fulfill at least 4,000 hours of skill in the field and sit down for the ASWB mastery exams.

However, to be a registered psychologist, you must have a doctoral degree in social work or a related course, as mentioned earlier. Only then may you proceed with the authorization procedures.

  • Functions

Another factor that makes the difference between MSWs and PsyMSWs is that they are trained to assess clients, create and implement a treatment plan, assess and monitor improvement, act as client spokespersons, and more.

PsyD is trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat people with mental health problems. They also play an essential role in promoting a healthy attitude and preventing illnesses affecting the brain.

How an MSW Can Become a PsyD

There are several reasons why you might want to become a psychology doctor as a social work master.

Either you want to engage in psychological testing or like the top-of-the-line name “doctor.” Of course, some MSWs wish to upgrade to PsyD for the high salary structure.

In any case, your reason for becoming PsyD is worth the effort. We will now describe the steps to change from MSW to PsyD.

  • Satisfy the basis of the entrance.

Specific admission standards exist for academics interested in becoming Ph.D. holders in psychology.

Whether you hold an MSW or not, you must meet them. In this regard, social work masters must submit GRE results to qualify for PsyD programs.

While some universities accept the minimum GRE score of 1200, others require higher scores. For example, Northwestern University demands a score of 1400 and above.

MSW Fellows must hold a minimum GPA of 3.5 to qualify for entry. Additionally, you may include your work experience to complement your credentials.

Remember, you must submit three reference letters from previous employers or academic institutions.

  • Develop math competencies

To become a psychological doctor, you will need to have math skills.

Your MSW studies did not offer mathematics courses; you must take additional courses. The objective is to improve your analytical skills before entering the doctoral program.

  • Offer Clinical Psychology Courses

Once you have secured entrance to study PsyD, you must offer all courses in your syllabus.

These courses include developmental psychology, data analysis and interpretation, psychological theories, history of psychology, evaluation, clinical practice, and more.

Toward the end of your studies, you’re expected to select one of these specialty courses to base your career. Please note that your MSW will not prevent you from choosing a field of specialization.

You can only transfer your master’s credits to your Ph.D. if the internship requirements are similar. Otherwise, you won’t be able to transfer credit.

  • Finish your PsyD thesis.

All PsyD researchers are required to finish a thesis before graduating. You are also expected to introduce new research in your area of expertise.

However, those who have completed a thesis during MSW studies can broaden and update their research to complete their PsyD.

Once you graduate from PsyD, you will become a certified psychological physician. With such a title, you can practice autonomously and with no supervision.

For those who dream of boosting their earnings. This is the time to make some money.

Psychology Ph.D. After MSW

Those are the critical differences between MSW and PsyD. Although the two occupations deal with the public, each has distinct functions and certifications.

We hope this will help you choose the best career for those two professions.