Social Work Programs

April 24, 2011

Nursing Or Social Work Degree: Which One To Choose

Filed under: nursing or social work career — Tags: — admin @ 10:14 pm

nursing work or social work Both nursing and social work as careers are rooted in the wish to help other people. There are many disciplines within each career, and the choice may be difficult.

A medical social worker based in a nursing home can expect to make, on average between $45,000- $50,000 per year, depending on location and experience. This job requires a master’s degree plus some years experience in the field or another related area. A licensed clinical social worker can make about the same.

A career in nursing starts out with a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree or a diploma. A diploma program is administered by hospitals and takes 3 years, but there are few hospitals that offer this course. A diploma must be followed by an associate or bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation, and a national licensing exam must also be passed. To advance to a position such as a nurse-midwife or a nurse anesthetist will require a master’s degree. A BSN taken in a college or university lasts for 4 years and an associate degree or ADN will last for 2 to 3 years.

The financial rewards of being a nurse are obviously tied to whether you have an ADN, BSN or a master’s degree. Typically a registered nurse earns on average $65,000 per year, but some nurses can command salaries of nearly $100,000 per year.


Both careers are so diverse that it is hard to generalize. A social worker in a school may have to deal with difficult teenagers and try to solve problems due to poor home situations, antisocial behavior, depression, learning problems and possibly drug addiction. This can be challenging but also extremely rewarding to help someone evolve and make better choices during this critical time.

Nurses are generally better paid than social workers but may have to work long hours and nights and work with patients who may have infections diseases. Some states and employers also require that nurses continue their education to gain credits, so if you want to become an RN you will have to get used to learning throughout your career. The higher your educational achievements, the more room for advancement there will be, and the outlook for employment for those wishing to enter the world of nursing is good. Social workers also have continuing education requirements to be fulfilled in most states, though some states allow for all the ceu credits to be done online.

Torn Between A Nursing Or Social Work Degree

The choice is difficult, especially with the responsibility of caring for sick people under strict scrutiny and supervision. There are accelerated bachelor’s degree programs if you wish to switch careers, and for those who already hold a BSN in another field may take as little as 12 months to complete. With a master’s degree, it only takes two years if coming from another field.

The opportunities for social workers are increasing too. Taking a master’s degree course will help you advance up the ladder and enable private practice options. Those paid the most in the social work field generally have private practices or are those that teach social work at universities with the DSW degree. Most social work careers, whether as a school social worker, medical or public health social worker, or a substance abuse or mental health social worker, pay around forty to fifty thousand a year with the MSW degree. However, this can be increased if you are in a supervisory or administration position.

You’ll be taking more science courses if you go into nursing so that is something to consider. What are your strengths and your interests?

1 Comment »

  1. I think for me being a social worker would be more rewarding than nursing because I don’t want to take anatomy and lots of science courses but am more interested in people’s emotional changes.

    Comment by Kelly — April 26, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

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