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LCSW en route to a PhD?

Discussion in 'Mental Health and Social Welfare' started by drm13, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. drm13


    Jan 21, 2018
    Hi all! I had a question regarding a potential career route that I would love to get some feedback on.

    I would like to be a therapist and am currently looking at MSW programs en route to becoming an LCSW. I would, however, like to be a professor at some point (potentially doing research as well). I feel like it would be great to have a base in real word experience as a therapist to give perspective to teaching and research.

    I am a little bit confused on how to do this.

    I know a PhD is more research based and a DSW is more clinical based. Is it possible to have a PhD in social work and also be a practicing clinician? And if yes, how is this done? Would the route be to get the MSW, and then the PhD, and then work towards getting the LCSW?

    Or would getting the LCSW right after the MSW and then working towards completion of a DSW be the best option?

    And is it possible to do research and be a professor with a DSW, or is research/teaching tenure positions specifically for PhDs?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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  3. Salvador

    Salvador 2+ Year Member

    Nov 3, 2013
    @drm13 Start with MSW first, and then consider your options. I have several professors who have their LCSW and PhD, totally feasible. Most, get their MSW, practice therapy, take licensing exam, earn LCSW, apply for PhD programs, and then somehow, manage to see 2-3 patiens a week etc, and return to teaching part time and practicing full-time.
    koharu likes this.
  4. drm13


    Jan 21, 2018
    Thanks for your response. That's kind of what I thought but wasn't sure. Thanks Salvador!
  5. aftermidnight

    aftermidnight 2+ Year Member

    Feb 7, 2015
    I agree with Salvador's line of thinking here. As to your question about DSW's doing research and teaching, yes there are DSWs that land jobs as professors but it's important to add some caveats. Research 1 universities are going to want to hire PhD's into tenure track positions because of their emphasis on research. Tenure will be primarily based on research achievements, not teaching. They may hire DSWs into non-tenure track professor positions with titles like "clinical assistant professor" or "professor of practice." While these positions are typically not tenure track, schools of social work do value them as a way to bolster the clinical chops of their faculty. Many tenured professors in social work are pretty far removed from real-world clinical experience. It's possible to engage in some research activities too from a non-tenure track position. Finally, putting R1 universities aside, you could likely find a tenure track position as a DSW at a smaller (likely less prestigious) school more focused on teaching than research.
  6. singasongofjoy

    singasongofjoy Psychologist 2+ Year Member

    Dec 4, 2014
    The further along I go, the more I think tenure-track is over-rated these days, especially if you're in a clinical position that brings in money via billing (thus some degree of job security). I could choose to jump on the tenure route in a few years, but don't think I will. Promotion is still possible without being TT.

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